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Canada Student Visa Process, Requirements & Fees

If you are looking forward to pursuing your higher education in Canada, go through this article carefully. It tells you all that you need to know about studying in Canada.

Acquaint yourself about the type of courses and the universities there and get a broad picture of the fee structure.

Canada has an excellent reputation when it comes to international studies. While offering a world-class higher educational experience at affordable tuition fees, a Canadian degree is an exceptional pathway for obtaining a permanent residence in the country.

According to The Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2020, Canada is home to 30 of the world’s top 500 universities.

International students opting to study in Canada keeps growing every year. A sizable number of these students can stay back in Canada after finishing their studies.

Canada’s universities and community colleges provide some of the best international study programs alongside the best research facilities for foreign students. Canada should be at the top of your list if you are planning to study abroad.

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Requirements for Your Study in Canada

The eligibility criteria for you obtaining a Canadian study permit are enumerated below.

  • You are enrolled at a designated learning institution in Canada.
  • You can prove to have enough money to pay for tuition fees, living expenses for yourself and the family, and pay for return transportation for yourself and the family to your home country.
  • You obey the law, have no criminal record, and can obtain a police certificate if required.
  • You are in good health and willing to undergo a medical examination if required.
  • You can prove to the visa officer that you will leave Canada on the expiry of your study permit.

Academic Intakes in Canadian Educational Institutions

The fall, winter, and summer are the three academic intakes at the institutions in Canada.

  • Fall – Lasts from September to December.
  • Winter – Lasts from January to April.
  • Summer – Lasts from May to August.

Choosing from the Available Study Programs

  • Certificate or Diploma is of one-or-two years duration.
  • Advanced Diplomas usually last between two or three years.
  • Undergraduate Programs are of three or four years.
  • Postgraduate Programs are for two years.
  • Doctorate or PhDs are of four or five years with dissertation.

The most popular undergraduate-level courses are engineering and administrative studies. Postgraduate level courses popular among international students are management, finance, MBA/MIM, MS, and LLB degrees.

Student Fee Structure for Study in Canada

Application Fees for a Canadian Student Visa

Study Permit Application Fees CA$150
Work Permit Including Extensions CA$155
Visitor Visa (Single or Multiple Entry) CA$100
Source: Government of Canada

Tuition Fees in Canada

As universities in Canada set their tuition fees, these vary depending upon several factors including the reputation of the university and the level of education you are seeking.

Average Costs for Canadian Citizens Studying in Canada

Undergraduate Degree CA$6,463 per year
Bachelor's Degree CA$7,056 per year

Average Costs for International Students Studying in Canada

Undergraduate Degree CA$29,714 per year
Engineering & Medicine CA$21,717 per year
Dentistry CA$14,162 per year
Business & Management CA$6,827 per year
Postgraduate Courses CA$17,744 per year
Executive MBA Program CA$56,328 per year
Regular MBA Program CA$27,397 per year
Source: Statistics Canada

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Options Available for Your Study in Canada

The higher education system in Canada is no different from the American education system.

There are three main types of Canadian institutions for education.

  • Public Universities: Besides receiving the tuition fees from students. These universities are run by the provincial, territorial, or federal governments.
  • Private Universities: These universities do not receive any funds from Canadian government bodies. These universities receive funds by donations and research grants.
  • Liberal Arts Colleges: Public or private colleges are smaller in number in Canada than in the USA. Their primary emphasis is on undergraduate programs in liberal arts.

Some colleges offer a winter intake. Fall is the primary intake season in most institutions. International students should follow a typical application deadline. Which are 6 to 9 months before the start of the session?

Deadlines are usually not flexible except for the diploma and PG diploma courses. Some institutions accept students for bachelor and master’s degree courses. If seats are available.

Colleges/Universities to Consider for Study in Canada

Choosing where to apply is the next logical step in your study of Canada's journey. Narrowing down on the best option can be daunting. Apart from your study interest.

Consider these factors while choosing the right college or Canadian university.

Primary Language of the College: English, and French are common languages in Canada. Some colleges use one or both as their main language.

Type of College: Choose an institute, college, or university that is the right type. This is an important point in your education.

Type of Degree: This will depend upon what you are planning to pursue. It can be an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D.

Location: Research the area where your educational facility exists. Is it an urban, suburban, or rural location that suits you?

Size of College: Are you comfortable in a large or small campus? Do you prefer small seminars or big lectures? Decide where you are most comfortable.

The reputation of the University: Spend time researching the reputation of the college. Job placement rates of graduates from the college or university are worth considering.

Quality of Resources & Facilities: Check out the availability and quality of technical equipment. Including labs, and libraries that are in the institution.

Opportunities for Work Experience: Does the college run a cooperative program? Or something to add to your experience?

Fees & Financial Assistance: Does the institution offer you grants or scholarships to help? Studying abroad can be expensive.

Faculty & Staff: Research on the faculty and staff associated with your study program. There may be someone particular you would like to study with.

Recreational Activities: Check out on the availability of sports, clubs, or a newspaper. If this interests you. Such extracurricular activities can be interesting.

Accommodation for Special Needs: This is particularly important for international students. If you are having physical or learning disabilities.

Feel free to customize the list to reflect what is most important to you. Some of these factors may be more valid to you than others.

Can I Apply for Canada Student Visa Without IELTS?

Yes, you can study in Canada without IELTS. This English skill test is not required in 2020. There are several Canadian institutions offering study without IELTS.

They adopt different measures to check your language capability. These universities nowadays accept other forms of English language credentials apart from IELTS.

Some Alternatives to Enrolment Sans IELTS

  • Produce a letter of recommendation from your previous faculties about English skills.
  • Qualify if you have studied in an English-medium school for four or more than four years.
  • If you have attended a university’s language school for a semester or 12 months.
  • Natives of English-speaking nations are also exempted.

Canadian Universities You Can Apply Sans IELTS Certification

University of Winnipeg: It is compulsory here to produce proof of the English language. This university does not consider IELTS to be essential. You can avail of other alternatives in the university itself.

Brock University: IELTS is not required for getting enrolled in this university. Other alternatives like TOEFL and IELP (Intensive English Language Program) are also valid. Your last three years of study in English with decent grades are also valid here.

University of Saskatchewan: Apart from IELTS and TOEFL, this university also accepts CanTest. This is a Canadian Test of English for scholars and trainees from other countries. This university’s English Language Training program is also a good option.

Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador: It is one of the top-ranked in Canada. You can undergo the CAEL or the ELP (English Language Program) classes here. Or from IELTS, TOEFL, or CanTest.

Cambrian College: It is well-known for its broad focus on research and employment. IELTS and TOEFL are not required for getting admission here. International students can continue their studies with other universities in Canada.

Cost of Living in Canada

The Canadian student visa requirements state that you must have on or above CA$10,000 for studying in Canada and CA$11,000 in Quebec, on top of tuition fees.

Living costs considerably vary in Canada depending upon your spending habits and location. Living in large cities are generally more expensive.

Study in Canada for Free

While there are no colleges or universities in Canada that are tuition-free, there is one way you can cover the costs of tuition, room, and board by receiving a fully-funded scholarship. A scholarship is the best way to study in Canada for free.

Obtaining a Scholarship in Canada

There are some basic steps you should undertake to avail a scholarship in Canada. Universities giving generous scholarships to international students in Canada are aplenty.

However, you will need a great application to be able to get a fully-funded scholarship in Canada. A variety of sources can help you find these scholarships.

Meeting Scholarship Requirements in Canada

You will need to prepare well for meeting Canadian study scholarship requirements. This is a hard step and requires lengthy preparation time, but with the right approach can be fruitful.

Research Experience: This is crucial for graduate program applicants. It greatly enhances your chance of obtaining financial aid even if you were applying for undergraduate programs.

Grade Point Average (GPA): This is another important aspect of getting a scholarship for graduate or undergraduate programs in Canada. Colleges and universities here consider a key metric for measuring the success of potential students.

Internships: Internship experience greatly enhances the success of your scholarship application. Ask for letters of recommendation from your previous employers, especially if your work is related to the field of study.

Community Service: This is another aspect of your scholarship application that can make it shine. Students having undergone community service are looked up to as caring for the community they dwell in.

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Other Important Aspects of Your Scholarship Application

Search for Fully Funded Scholarships: This is an essential aspect if you want to study in Canada for free. Your consultant is an expert who can be immensely helpful in finding the right source.

Apply for Scholarships to Study for Free: You will need to increase your chances by applying to several universities. Complete the application carefully and attach the required documents along with.

Attend Affordable Universities to Cut Down Tuition Costs: Although helpful, this aspect alone will not be able to fully cover the cost of studying in Canada. However, there are universities here that provide a great education at affordable costs.

Work in Canada while Studying: Working is another way in Canada to finance your studies. Your Canada study visa allows you to work for 20 hours a week during the academic semester and 40 hours a week during vacations.

Find Work Online: You can also find work online as a freelancer or operate an online business. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are great sources where you can earn money while studying in Canada.

Responsibilities While Studying in Canada

You must abide by these while studying in Canada

  • Ensure progress towards completing your study program.
  • Respect all conditions listed on your study permit.
  • Stop studying when you no longer meet the requirements.
  • Prepared to leave Canada at the expiry of your study permit.

Conditions Listed on Your Study Permit

The following conditions depending on your case may be listed on your study permit

  • Whether you are allowed to work in Canada while studying.
  • If you are allowed to travel within Canada during the study.
  • The last date when you are supposed to stop study in Canada.

International Students Exempted from Study Permit in Canada

Here are some exemptions when a foreign national will not require a study permit for education in Canada.

Short Term Studies

  • When your study program or course lasts 6 months or less.
  • Your studies are not a part of any longer study program.
  • You complete all studies within the time frame approved.

You will however have to obtain a study permit even if the course is less than 6 months if you are taking a prerequisite course.

You may otherwise have to apply for a study permit before you begin the full study program.

Other Exemptions for Study Permit in Canada

Other conditions for exemption of study permit for your education in Canada

You are Family or Staff of Foreign Representatives: Foreign representatives are accredited by GAC (Global Affairs Canada). Your embassy will have to contact GAC to find out if you require a study permit to study in Canada.

You are a Member of Foreign Armed Forces: Members of foreign armed forces on official duties will not require a study permit in Canada. However, family members, including minor children will need one for studying here.

You are a Registered Indian in Canada: Even if you are a citizen of another country but having a Registered Indian status in Canada, will not require a study permit for studying here.

Minor Indian Children in Canada: Minor children whose parents are refugees, refugee claimants, or parents having work or study permits will not require a separate study permit while seeking admission into preschool, kindergarten, primary or secondary school.

It is Easy to Get PR in Canada After Study

There is a multitude of opportunities for international students to apply for permanent residency after study in Canada. Spearheaded by the federal Express Entry system, there is a wide network of immigration programs offering citizenship Canada.

  • The Atlantic Immigration Pilot has a specific stream for international graduates.
  • With three streams at different levels of graduates, Ontario, the largest province in Canada leads the way among the provincial nominee programs.
  • When the PR candidate is having an advanced level knowledge of French, Quebec’s international graduate stream will not require a job offer.
  • Specific international graduate streams are also available for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.
  • PR provision for international graduates is available under the Alberta Opportunity Stream.

Other provinces are offering a window of up to three years to hold a postgraduation work permit for gaining the required work experience and to qualify for Canadian permanent residence.

Questions Regarding Your Canada Student Visa

Can I Bring My Family to Canada While Studying?

Yes, your spouse, common-law partner, and dependent children are eligible to enter Canada with you on a work or study permit. Your ability to bring along your family while you study is a great benefit.

Is it Difficult to Get Canada Student Visa?

There is a rise in rejection with an increase in the number of student visa applications. On average, about 39% of total study permit visas are rejected each year. Several factors are influencing a steep rise in the Canadian student visa rejection.

Why is Canada Student Visa Rejected?

Most common reasons for rejection of Canada Student Visa include

  • Financial insufficiency for studying in Canada.
  • The chosen study program fails to align with the applicant’s academic or employment background.
  • When the applicant’s Letter of Acceptance from the Canadian institution is in question.
  • Non-native English-speaking international students failing to submit the required proof of language proficiency when required.
  • Lack of proof of supporting evidence in your travel history or identity documents can also be a cause of your student visa rejection.
  • The student visa applicant is required to submit enough proof of intent to return to the home country as the study permit is a temporary visa for a valid period.
  • Lack of job opportunities in the home country is another indication that the applicant is intending to settle in Canada. The choice of your study program should not cast such doubts.

Reapplying for Canada Student Visa after Rejection

Canadian student visa applicants can reapply after having received a rejection. Evaluate why the earlier application was rejected and ensure that the same mistake is not repeated this time.

Your Canada Student Visa can take up to a maximum of 45 business days as per new guidelines issued under the SDS program.

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