Canadian Student Visa Application Process, Requirements, Eligibility, Acceptance Rate & Reasons for Rejection

by Bhavya Rawal

Every year, Canada welcomes more than 350,000 international students who intend to study at Canadian educational institutions. Students from international jurisdictions must apply for a study permit/student visa: a document that allows a foreign national to study in Canada at a registered academic institution for the duration of a particular course/ program. This article provides necessary information about all the important aspects of Canadian Student Visa such as acceptance rate, the application process, eligibility criteria, documents required, reasons for visa rejection, etc.

Canada Student Visa Approval Rate

According to the data released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in May 2019, nearly 61% of the total applications for Canadian study visa were accepted in the first five months of this year. Given below is a table showcasing the trend of the Candian Student Visa acceptance rate among international students over the past six years (2014-2019).

YearsAcceptance Rate (Approx.)
201472
201570.5
201669
201767.5
201866
201961

Study Visa Requirements for Canada

Interested applicants must submit the following documents to apply for a Canada Study Visa:

  • Proof of Acceptance: Applicants enrolled at a designated learning institute (DLI) must submit a letter of acceptance along with the application.
  • Proof of Identity: Applicants and family members who are accompanying them must submit the following documents as proof of identity:-
    • A valid passport or travel document.
    • Two recent passport-size photographs with the name and birth date of the person written on the back of each photo.
  • Proof of Financial Support: It is compulsory for students to be able to afford their expenses while studying in Canada. Applicants can provide various documents as proof of financial support:-
    • Proof of student loan from a bank
    • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from the participating Canadian financial organization
    • Official bank statements for the past four months
    • Proof of a Canadian bank account in the applicant’s name, if they have transferred money to Canada
    • A letter from the sponsor stating the availability of sufficient funds
    • Applicants who are offered scholarships or are in a Canadian-funded educational program must show proof of funding paid from within Canada

Minimum Funds Required for Applicants & Family Members

CategoryOutside Quebec (Additional to the tuition)In Quebec (Additional to the tuition)
Applicant10,00011,000
First Family Member4,0005,100-3,800
Every additional accompanying family member3,0005,125-1,903

NOTE:- All amounts are in Canadian dollars (CAD).

Supporting Documents

  • Letter of Explanation: This letter provides an insight to the visa officer about the applicant’s goals and aspirations.
  • Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ):- Applicants who are planning to study in Quebec will need a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Ministère de l'Immigration, Diversité et Inclusion (MIDI). Students can get all the information on how to apply for CAQ from the DLI they are enrolled at.

Eligibility for Canada Student Visa

Students applying for a study permit to study in Canada must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must be enrolled at a designated learning institute (DLI).
  • Applicants must have proof of sufficient funds to finance the following expenses:-
    • Tuition fees
    • Living expenses for themselves and any family member accompanying them to Canada
    • Return transportation expenses for themselves and any family member who comes to Canada with them.
  • An eligible applicant must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal history and must not be a threat to the security of Canada. Students might also have to provide a police certificate.
  • It is important for applicants to be in good health condition and may require to submit a valid medical certificate, if required.
  • Applicants must prove to an immigration officer that he/she will leave Canada at the end of their authorized duration of stay.

How to Apply for Canadian Student Visa?

The applicants for a student visa for Canada can apply online as well as offline (paper application). The general application process in both cases are as follows:

Application Fee: 150 CAD

Biometric Fee: 85 CAD

  • Apply for admission with a DLI, pay the tuition fees and receive an acceptance letter from the DLI.
  • Check if a study permit is required. eTA is required for all international applicants who wish to travel to Canada.
  • Prepare all the documents required for applications
  • Purchase GIC
  • Apply for the applications
  • Undertake the medical exams
  • Schedule biometric appointment and interview.

Online Application vs Paper-Based Application

The basic process and its difference between paper and online application are as follows:

Paper ApplicationOnline Application
Prepare documents, certified copies, and translations of documentsCreate an online account with CIC
Fill the application formProvide previous academic details along with program details (opted for study in Canada)
Pay the Application and Biometric feeLogin with Email and password details sent via mail. Upload documents required and pay the visa fees online
Submit application at the visa application center (local visa office)Submit the application online and track via given email and password details

Types of Entry Visas Required to Study in Canada

International applicants who are applying for a Canadian student visa are required to have TRV (temporary resident Visa or eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) for entry in Canada.

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), commonly called an entry visa, is an official document that signifies that an applicant has met all the necessary requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident. A TRV is issued by an immigration officer to be placed in the applicant’s passport.

Application Process for Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

International applicants can apply for TRV online or offline. Though the document requirements are similar, applicants who apply through the offline mode are required to submit the applications for TRV to the visa center or office in their home country. The sections below detail the process of online as well as offline application process for TRV.

Online Application Process for Canadian TRV

Applicants can use the Come to Canada Wizard and the MyCIC portal to apply for a Canadian TRV. The same portals can be used to apply for a work permit, study permit, temporary resident visa and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Application Fee: 200 CAD

  • Create an account
  • Check Eligibility
  • Filling the application form
  • Personal Details
  • Languages known
  • National Identity
  • Contact information
  • Details of visit
  • Employment
  • Background Information
  • Family Information
  • Submission of Necessary Documents

Offline Application Process for Canadian TRV

  • Applicant will have to fill the ‘Transit visa’
  • Check eligibility
  • Get application Package
  • Fill in the application form
  • Pay the application fee
  • Submit application and required document

To study in Canada, applicants need to apply for a Candian Student Visa and a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa. Applicants must submit an application for the same to the visa office:

CountryVisa Office
IndiaVia Express Entry or New Delhi Visa Center
ChinaVia Express Entry or Hong Kong SAR
Saudi ArabicVia Express Entry or London Visa Center
South KoreaVia Express Entry or Manila Visa Center
United States of AmericaVia Express Entry or CPC-O

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a paperless document that is electronically linked to the applicant’s passport and allows foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries to enter Canada. Students can apply for eTA online via the official CIC website. Also, there is an application fee of CAD$7.

Application Process

  • Apply online through CIC website.
  • The form cannot be saved to fill in later. So, it is best to keep all the required information ready. Information required includes.
    1. Valid passport
    2. Valid email address
    3. Visa Mastercard/ American express/ UnionPay/ JCB Card/ Interac to pay CAD $7 FOR Eta.
  • Once the form is completed, pay CAD $7.
  • An email is received regarding eTA application.

Note: Once an eTA holder, applicants can travel to Canada for short visits (up to 6 months) till the eTA is valid.

What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS)?

International students living in China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam can now apply for the Canadian Student Visa via a faster and easier process called the Student Direct Stream.

Necessary Documents for Student Direct Stream (SDS)

To apply for a student visa in Canada using the Student Direct Stream, students will require the following documents:-

  • Candidates must submit the most recent secondary as well as post-secondary educational transcripts.
  • A Letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  • Students are required to undergo a thorough medical examination to stay for more than six months.
  • Applicants must submit a proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of minimum amount CAN$10,000.
  • It is compulsory to submit the proof of full payment of tuition for the applicant’s first year of study.
  • International students must provide proof of Language Proficiency by submitting any of the tests, IELTS with a minimum score of 6.0 or Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF) with a minimum score of 7.

Canada Study Visa Rejection

International students seeking a Canadian Student Visa fulfilling all the minimum criteria for admissions are usually optimistic towards the decision. It is, however, observed that a study permit may be refused even when the applicant fulfills academic and admission requirements for an institution. Some of the popular reasons for rejection of study visaby IRCC are listed below:

  • Financial Insufficiency: A study visa application may be rejected if the immigration officer suspects financial insufficiency.
  • Choice of Program: If the visa officer questions the choice of a program opted by the applicants, the visa may be rejected.
  • Letter of Acceptance: If the applicant’s acceptance letter is in question, the permit may be rejected. If the visa officer doubts whether the minimum requirements are met by the applicant, the student visa may be rejected.
  • Incomplete Travel or Identity Documents: In cases where there are too many blank spaces in the travel history with a lack of proof of supporting evidence to cover those periods, the permit may be rejected. If the identity documents are incomplete or are not easy to read, the chances of rejection are accelerated.
  • Intent of Return to Home Country: It is mandatory to provide documents suggesting the intent of return to ensure that the applicant will not stay in Canada after the expiration of the student visa.
    • Lack of Job Prospects in Home Country: Applicants who do not have a job offer in the home country or lack job prospects may conclude the applicants intend to settle in Canada. 

Applying Against Study Permit Refusal

There is a lack of a speedy and efficient system for appealing against a negative decision taken against the study permit. For applicants whose student visa has been refused, there are three ways to apply against the refusal. These are listed below:

  • Request Reconsideration
  • Appeal to the Federal Court of Canada
  • Submit New Application

Renewal of Study Visa Application

If the study permit of an applicant expires before program completion, they are required to apply for the renewal of the visa. The basic process for the same is briefed below:

  • Apply for a new student visa at least 30 days before the expiration date
    • Applications can be made online or via mail
  • Apply for the extension of TRV.

Students must note that their study permit applications will undergo a detailed review by an immigration officer who will check the authenticity of the information and documentation provided. After this, eligible applicants will receive a letter specifying the date, time and place for the interview.

If an application is rejected, all the documents will be returned to the applicant along with an explanation of why the application was refused. The study permit for an applicant expires in 90 days of the completion of the program. Applicants who wish to work while studying are required to have a work-study visa for the same.

For tips on preparation, interview and related information, click here.

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