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Guidelines for Canada Study Visas - How to Apply, Process & Documents

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  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Jul 18,2023 10:43 AM IST

Canada is a preferred student destination that offers holistic development for a student. A Canadian student visa requires detailed documentation. These documents allow students to enter the country and study in a Designated Learning Institute. If a student has all the relevant documents, it is easy to get a visa. It is mandatory to show financial security to take care of miscellaneous expenses.

Guidelines for Canada Study Visas - How to Apply, Process & Documents.webp
Canada has become a preferred destination for students. Its quality education, low cost of living, and liberal government policies make it an excellent choice for studying abroad. Getting a Canadian student visa requires detailed documents and can be time-consuming.  The current educational strategy set by the Canadian Ministry of Education emphasizes the importance of increasing the number of international students. There are various programs offered in Canadian universities and colleges that cater to different academic disciplines. Some of these include engineering, healthcare, agriculture, and management.

Canada Offers

High-Quality Education

Diverse and Inclusive Environment

Scholarships and Internships
Career Oriented
Vibrant Communities

What is the Difference Between a Canadian Student Visa and a Study Permit?

The study permit of Canada is a document issued by the immigration authorities that permits international students to study in Canada. International students can only pursue their studies in Canada by obtaining a valid study permit. Besides this, the students who are issued the study permit can enrol in a Canadian DLI or Designated Learning Institution.

The Canada Student Visa is an authorization to enter the country. It is added to the passport and is a government-issued immigration document. With a student visa, a student can not enter the concerned country. This document allows a student to study in a particular country for a specific period.

What is a DLI?

The universities or colleges in Canada require permission from the government to accept international students. Only the institutions with this permit can have international students aboard. Thus, these institutions fall under the category of DLI (Designated Learning Institutions).  

International students need to get an acceptance letter from an institution under DLI. Acceptance from a DLI institution allows a student to apply for a student permit.

What to Do After Getting Approval From DLI?

A letter of acceptance from a DLI is essential to obtain a student permit. Once a student receives an acceptance letter from a DLI, it becomes necessary to apply for a student permit.

Canadian Visa Type

1.SDS Category
2.General Category or Non -SDS Category
3.University Category

SDS (Student Direct Stream) Category:

In the SDS Category, you can study in all the Designating Learning Institutes (DLI) of Canada. This category is an initiative of ‘ Association of Canadian Community Colleges’ (ACCC) and the visa offices of 'Citizenship and Immigration Canada' in India. The motive of this program is to increase the number of visas issued to Indian Students for studying in Canadian Colleges.

Documents Required for SDS Category of Visa Application:

A minimum of 6.0 overall bands in IELTS is a must. Each module should be at least 5.5.
Minimum 55% marks for undergraduate programs and 50% for postgraduate courses.
Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 is mandatory.
Students must have a valid passport.
An Offer Letter from the college/ university under SDS is mandatory.
Medical Test Reports conducted by well-qualified doctors.
Payment proof of Tuition Fee.
This category allows students to do part-time work during their studies.

General Category or Non-SDS Category:

The General Category is similar to SDS. When a candidate cannot fulfil all the requirements of the SDS category, the option of General or Non-SDS category is available. 

What are the Requirements for the Non -SDS Category?

Offer letter from a Canadian academic institute.
Minimum 6.0 (overall) bands in IELTS.
Income tax return documents of the student or a sponsor.
The Visa process is different, so it takes time to process.
Minimum 55% marks in the last academic for undergraduate courses and 50% for postgraduate studies.
Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is not mandatory.
Payment proof of Tuition Fee.
Students can work part-time.

University Category:

Under this category, students can apply for a visa based on the university's requirements. Every University follows a different study visa process under this category.

Requirements for the University Category:

An IELTS score of 5.5 to 8 is needed, depending on the university.
Detailed documents are required.
The application process is lengthy.
Minimum 55% for undergraduate and 50% marks for postgraduate courses.
GIC is not mandatory.
Students are provided with options to do part-time work during their studies.
An approved panel of doctors conducts the medical test.

Canada Student Visa Fees

The Canada Student Visa fee is CAD 150, equal to 9,168.79 INR, which is bound to change as per the exchange rate.

Both online and offline modes are available for the visa application fee payment.  All the primary online payment methods are available for online payment.
Demand Draft is available for offline payment.

The option of cash payment at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) is also available (VAC accepts only cash payments), but with an additional service charge. A biometric fee of CAD 85 also needs to be paid at VAC.

Who is Eligible for Canadian Study Visa?

Admission to a designated learning institute (DLI) is essential.
Proof of sufficient funds to handle the following expenses:-
   1. Tuition fees
   2.  Living expenses in Canada for themselves and any family member accompanying them.
   3. Return transportation expenses for themselves and any family member who comes to Canada.
An eligible applicant must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal history and not threaten Canada's security. Students might also have to provide a police certificate.
It is vital for applicants to be in good health condition and may require to submit a valid medical certificate if required.
Applicants must prove that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.

Essestial Document Required for Canada Student Visa

Acceptance letter from a recognized DLI: An acceptance letter from a recognized DLI is one of the most important documents required to apply for a Canadian student visa.
Passport: A valid passport with an expiry date which should not fall during your stay in Canada is essential. However, the option to renew the passport if it expires during the visit is available.
Proof of Funds: Proof to show that the student has enough funds to cover the entire tuition and living expenses in Canada. They expects a student to have CAD 10,000 every year.
Medical Examination: It is crucial to prove that a student is medically fit to move to Canada and study there. It is required to book an appointment, visit the listed doctors, and get tested a week before the start of the visa application.
Passport-size photographs: If a student applies offline, it is mandatory to carry two passport-size photos. For an online application, the size of the digital copy should be at most 4 MB. Other requirements include
    The photograph should not be older than six months.
    The size should be at least 35 mm*45 mm.
    You should write your name and date of birth on the back of each photograph.
    You should have a neutral facial expression with no headgear except for religious reasons.
    The photograph should have a plain background.
 Statement Of Purpose (SOP): An SOP is an essay that states the purpose of studying the course in Canada. A well-written SOP enhances the chances of getting shortlisted for the preferred course.

English Proficiency Test Scores: It is essential to attempt any English proficiency test like IELTS, TOEFL etc. and get an acceptable score.

How to Apply for Student Visa in Canada?

The holistic and intrinsic academic standards have made Canada popular among international students. A Canadian student visa is an important document that every international student must obtain from the Canadian High Commission to study in this country. It is relatively easy to get a visa if a candidate has all the necessary documents.

There are two ways to apply for a Canadian Study Visa:
• Apply Online: To apply online, a candidate must create electronic copies of the required documents for uploading and should have a valid credit card for payment. A finger scan at the regional Visa Application Centre (VAC) should also be provided. For online applications, applicant needs to visit the VFS offices to hand in the passport and would have to provide the confirmation of form and fee payment as well.
• Apply on Paper:  In this case, the applicant needs to download the application kit and read the instruction guide. Candidates are allowed to apply on paper only under two conditions:
-If they have a disability that prevents them from applying online.
-If they hold an identity or travel document for non-national residents, refugees, or stateless persons.

Canada Student Visa Processing Time

Processing time is the time taken by the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) to process a visa application. It starts when the aspirant applies until the final decision day.The processing time for a visa takes around 12 weeks.

A Wise Choice

Studying in Canada is a wise choice that opens various opportunities for holistic development. However, the choice of university and visa application can take a lot of work. Choose Canam to help you sort the various hurdles and reach your goals.


A student can expect to spend around CAD 800 to CAD 1,500 per month on living expenses, including accommodation, food, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.

On average, processing a student visa application can take weeks to months. The processing time for a student visa in Canada can vary and depends on several factors, such as the volume of applications, the completeness of the application, and the processing centre.

Yes, international students in Canada must have medical insurance. All international students need health insurance to cover their stay. It is mandatory because Canada's public health insurance programs do not cover international students.

A study permit for Canada costs CAD 150, which is roughly equivalent to INR 9,045.75 (as shared on the CIC Website) as per the current exchange rate. Since the exchange rate keeps changing, it is advised to check the same at the time of visa application.
Post submission of the visa application, students need to submit a biometric fee of CAD 85. Candidates need to submit this fee in addition to the regular visa fee. After this, the biometrics will be taken at a Visa Application Centre.

There are two ways to apply for the Canadian Study Visa:
•Apply Online
•Apply on Paper

The most commonly accepted English proficiency tests in Canada are the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The Canadian high commission requires 6.0 bands in the IELTS Exam for an undergraduate degree, with no band less than 5.5. Also, for the postgraduate degree, candidates require an overall 6.5 band with no band less than 6.0.

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