Canada | Visa Requirements

Canadian Visas are often referred to as ‘Study Permits’, and it is important that international students wishing to study in the Country have the correct Visa for their chosen course and circumstances.

There are different types of Visas available such as:

  • A temporary resident Visa
  • A Study Permit
  • A CAQ (Quebec Application Certificate) – for students who will be studying in Quebec.

As with most Visa applications, the type of documentation a student will require for the application process will vary depending on the student’s country of origin and the course and length of study. Unlike some other countries, a Study Permit is not required in Canada if a student’s study programme is less than 6 months in its entirety. If a student’s course is going to continue for more than 6 months then a complete Study Permit is necessary.

For students whose study programmes are less than 6 months but they think they may continue their studies with another programme will need to apply for a full study permit in the first instance. If a student chooses to extend their studies past the 6 month period and they do not hold a valid Study Permit then they will need to leave Canada to apply for this and only return when they have this.

In order to apply for a Canadian Study Permit, students will need the following:

  • Proof of acceptance
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of financial support
  • Letter of explanation

Below we will explore each of these requirements in a little more detail.

Proof of acceptance

As part of a Study Permit application, a student will need to secure a letter of acceptance from the institute at which they will be studying. This letter must be included with the Study Permit application from the outset. IGES have included a standard letter of acceptance as an example in the ‘Related Links’ section at the bottom of this page. 

Proof of identity

Students must also provide a valid passport or travel document for themselves and importantly, the passport or document must allow the student to return to the issuing country. If a student is a citizen of the US, St. Pierre and Miquelon or Greenland, then they will not require a full passport but will still need proof of status and citizenship of the relevant country (an example of evidence could be a national identity card). To accompany proof of identity, students applying for a Study Permit will also need to submit two passport photos of themselves (these should have the student’s name and date of birth written on the reverse).

Again, there is more usual information relating to the identity specifications set out in the Visa process in the ‘Related Links’ section. 

Proof of financial support

Students wishing to study in Canada and apply for a full Study Permit will need to be able to demonstrate that they can financially support themselves and their studies as part of the application. Students who will be bringing family members with them to Canada will also need to show how they will support them as well.

Below are some examples of how students can show that they can support their lifestyle in the Country:

  • Proof of a loan or other educational maintenance that they will receive
  • A series of bank statements from the previous four months
  • Proof of payment of tuition fees
  • Proof of a Canadian scholarship
  • Evidence that the student has a Canadian bank account in their name (if money has been transferred to Canada)
  • A letter or document from the institute that will be funding the studies
  • A bank draft in convertible currency

We have also put together the table below to show the financial commitment needed by a student to study in Canada

If there are foreign-exchange control measures in your country, students must be able to prove that their country’s authorities will allow the export of funds in line with your expenses.

Number of personsAll provinces except QuebecQuebec
Single student Tuition plus $10,000 for a 12-month period (or $833 per month) Tuition plus $11,000 for a 12-month period (or $917 per month)
+ one family member $4,000 for a 12-month period (or $333 per month)

$5,100 more for a person 18 years of age or older for a 12-month period (or $425 per month)

$3,800 more for a person under 18 years of age for a 12-month period (or $317 per month)

+ each additional family member $3,000 for a 12-month period per dependent child of any age (or $255 per month)

$5,125 more for a person 18 years of age or older for a 12-month period (or $427 per month)

$1,903 more for a person under 18 years of age for a 12-month period (or $159 per month)

Letter of explanation 

As previously mentioned, it is often more efficient to apply for a full Study Permit right away, even if a student may not require this straight away. There are lots of known benefits to students who hold valid Study Permits such as the ability to work part time on campus at the institution at which they are registered as a full time students. Work Permit programmes will only be granted if the student is studying full time and they are perusing studies that will result in a degree, diploma or certificate. Only students attending designated institutions can be work in accordance with a work permit programme. Full time international students who hold valid Study Permits can study off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week without the need for a work permit.

Students can also renew a Study Permit without having to leave the Country to do so. This makes prolonging study plans much easier as a student will not have apply via a Canadian Visa Office outside of Canada.

It is important that when applying for a Study Permit that students include a letter that explains why they are applying for the Permit and will demonstrate to the Visa Office that the student understands the application process and their options within this.

Whilst the Visa application process can seem daunting, the team here at IGES have a wealth of experience in aiding international students with their Visa applications for all over the world.