• The international student population in Canada surged by 165% since 2010/11.

  • India leads with 234,500 study permit holders in Canada as of 2023.

  • They bring in the most international STEM students based in Engineering and Technology and the total is 141,225.

  • About 60% of foreign students in Canada want to become residents after graduation. This is based on a study by the Canadian Bureau for International Education.

Are you considering studying in Canada? You're not alone! Many international students go to Canada. It has famous universities and a welcoming, multicultural society. They also offer high-quality education. But first, you need to secure a Canada Student Visa. Whilst the process may seem daunting, we're here to simplify it for you with our step-by-step guide. 

First, make sure you have a PAL from the province or territory where you plan to study. Without this letter, your application will likely be returned with fees. The study permit is crucial. It allows foreigners to study at learning institutions in Canada. Most foreign students need a study permit. So, you must have all the needed documents before applying. In this blog post, we will give you a complete guide. It will help you navigate the process of getting a Canada Student Visa.

Understanding the Basics of a Canada Student Visa

Getting this visa is a key step for international students. They plan to pursue their education in Canada. The study permit is not a regular visa. It does not allow entry into Canada.

  • The Canada Student Visa, or study permit, is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

  • It lets foreigners study at DLIs in Canada. They can do so for more than six months.

  • Additional visas like visitor visas or electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) may be required.

  • The study permit details the level of study, course duration, and institution.

  • It comes with rules for work and travel in Canada. And, the duty to leave when studies end, unless immigration status changes.

Types of Canadian Student Visas

It's important for prospective international students to thoroughly research and understand the specific visa requirements that apply to their situation before planning for a Canada Student Visa. The primary types of student visas available for international students are explained below:

  1. Study Permit for Higher Education

This is the most common type of study permit. International students apply for it to study at Canadian universities or colleges. They go there for higher education. It's applicable for undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional designations.

  1. Short-term Studies or Coursework

Specifically tailored for students enrolled in short courses lasting less than six months. You don't need this permit for all short-term studies. But, it's a good idea for those who might extend their study or switch to a different programme.

  1. Co-op or Internship Work Permit

Students in programs with a required work placement or internship must apply for the permit. They need it in addition to their study permit. It's crucial for those whose academic curriculum requires gaining practical work experience.

  1. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The PGWP is vital for students in Canada. It lets them stay and work after their studies, even though it is not a study permit. It lets graduates gain valuable Canadian work experience. This helps a lot with permanent residence applications.

Each type of permit caters to the diverse educational journeys and career paths of international students in Canada. Apply for the one that best fits your academic and professional goals.

Top Sectors in Canada To Find A Job

There are a few key sectors that are hot to get into in types of visa in Canada for Indians. Some of the best fields to work in Canada for include: 


Top Companies

Avg Salary(per annum)

Engineering and Technology

Nortel Networks

Bombardier Aerospace

Magna International

$1,940 - $7,564


Rogers Communications 




Ernst & Young 

$2,065 - $7,045

Communications and Media


Bell Canada


$50,000 - $70,000

Arts and Entertainment 


Sony Music Canada

The National Ballet of Canada

$42,252 - $71,605

Banking and Finance

TD Bank



$52,255 - $98,640

Retail and Manufacturing


Loblaw Companies

The Home Depot

$15,228 - $22,434


Student Direct Stream (SDS)

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a faster application process. It is for students from certain countries. They want to study in Canada. Here’s what you need to know about applying:

1. Criteria for Applying

  • Must be a legal resident of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, or Vietnam.

  • Have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI).

  • Prove upfront that you have paid the tuition fees for your first year of study.

  • Have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD 10,000.

  • Undergo a medical examination before applying (if required).

  • Obtain a police certificate (if required).

  • Have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 in English or a TEF score equivalent for French.

  • The SDS aims for faster processing. It processes most applications within 20 days. But, this only happens if all the criteria are met and the documents are complete.

2. Benefits of Using SDS

  • Expedited visa processing time, enabling quicker decisions on applications.

  • Less financial documentation is required compared to the regular study permit application process.

  • Increased certainty of application success for those who meet the specified criteria.

  • The SDS can greatly speed up your journey to studying in Canada. It's an attractive option for eligible students.

Checking Your Eligibility for a Canada Study Permit

To be eligible for a Canada Student Visa, the applicant generally needs to meet certain criteria set by the immigration authorities. Here are some common eligibility criteria:

  • Make sure you have an acceptance letter. It must be from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Your chosen institution must be recognized by the Canadian government. It must be recognized to host international students.

  • Prove that you have enough money to cover your tuition fees. Also, prove that you have enough for living expenses for yourself and any family who come with you to Canada. Finally, prove you have enough for return transportation for yourself and any family.

  • Have no criminal record and may need to provide a police certificate to prove this.

  • Be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination if required.

  • Assure an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorised stay. This may involve showing ties to your home country such as family, employment, or financial assets.

  • If you plan to study in Quebec, you must also apply for a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the government of Quebec. Your school can provide you with guidance on this process.

  • You must not be inadmissible to Canada for other reasons. These reasons include security, human rights, or criminal violations.

  • Show that you will study at a DLI by providing the needed documentation. This includes the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL). You need it in your province or territory.

Gathering Necessary Documents for Your Application

When preparing your application for a Canada Student Visa, having the correct documents ready is essential. Here’s a concise checklist of the documents you will need:

  • Valid passport: Ensure your passport is valid for the duration of your intended stay in Canada.

  • Acceptance letter: A letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) confirming your acceptance.

  • Proof of financial support: Bank statements or a letter from a sponsor showing you have sufficient funds for your tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.

  • Police certificate: If required, to prove you have no criminal record.

  • Medical examination: Some applicants may need to undergo a medical exam by an approved doctor.

  • Letter of explanation: This letter should explain why you want to study in Canada and understand your responsibilities as a student.

  • Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ): Specifically for students planning to study in Quebec.

  • Passport-sized photos: Typically, two photos that meet the specifications outlined by IRCC.

  • Immigration Medical Examination (IME) number: If a medical exam is required, this number must be included in your application.

Ensure each document is up-to-date and translated into English or French, if necessary, accompanied by a certified translation. Remember, incomplete Canada Student Visa applications can lead to delays or refusals, so double-check your document list.

Application Process for Your Study Permit

Navigating the application process for a Canada Student Visa requires meticulous attention to detail and adherence to the outlined steps. Here's a simplified breakdown:

  1. Online vs. Paper Application 

Decide whether to submit your application online or through a paper format. Online submissions are preferred for their ease and quicker processing times. To apply online, create an account on the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

  1. Gather Required Information

Before starting your application, ensure all necessary documents listed in the "Gathering Necessary Documents for Your Application" section are ready. Digitise these documents if you're applying online.

  1. Complete the Application Form

Fill in the Canada Student Visa application form accurately. Pay special attention to the questions about your study plans and ensure that your answers align with the information provided in your acceptance letter and other supporting documents.

  1. Pay the Fees

The application process involves paying fees, including the processing fee and biometrics fee, if applicable. These can be paid online via the IRCC website.

  1. Submit Your Application

Once your Canada Student Visa application is done and fees are paid, submit it. If you're applying online, this will be through your IRCC account. For paper applications, send your application to the visa application center (VAC) for your country.

After submitting, you'll get instructions on how to proceed. They will cover biometrics collection and any other needed steps.

Preparing for the Interview and Biometrics Collection

Preparing for the interview and biometrics is key. It's part of your Canada Student Visa application. Once you've submitted your application, it will be preliminarily reviewed. You might then be asked to attend an interview at your local Canadian embassy or consulate. You will also need to provide your biometrics. 

  • Biometrics includes a photograph of your face and your fingerprints. To prepare for your interview, review the details of your application. Focus on your study plans and how you will support yourself in Canada.

  • You'll get a letter from IRCC for the biometrics collection. It will tell you where and when to provide your biometrics. Follow these instructions quickly. This will prevent delays in your application. 

  • Typically, there's a fee for biometric collection. You must pay it online unless you already paid it with your application fees. 

  • On the day of your appointment, bring your passport and the biometrics letter. Also, bring any other documents they've requested.

Remember, presenting yourself professionally and following the instructions carefully will help a lot. It will make the application process go smoothly.

Study Permit Fees and Processing Time 

The fees for a Canada Student Visa vary. They depend on things like the applicant's country. They also depend on whether the application is online or on paper and if the applicant includes family.

Type of Fee

Amount (CAD)

Processing Fee (non-refundable)


Biometrics Fee

$85 (if applicable)

Visa Fee (if applicable)

Variable, depending on country of origin

Extension Fee (if applicable)


Restoration Fee (if applicable)


Study Permit Holder Fee (if applicable)



Getting a Canada Student Visa normally takes 10 weeks. This time doesn't include the extra time for biometrics submission.

Note: The fees may vary. Check the latest info on the official website. It's the site of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Or, consult with a Canadian immigration professional for accurate and current fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for a study permit without an acceptance letter?

No, a Canada Student Visa application requires an acceptance letter. It must be from a designated learning institution in Canada.

How long does it take to process a study permit application?

Processing times vary for Canada Student Visa. It is best to apply well in advance. Times can range from a few weeks to several months.

Can I work while studying in Canada?

Yes, students with a valid Canada Student Visa can work on campus. After six months, they may be eligible for off-campus work

What is the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

The PGWP allows students to work in Canada after they finish a program of study. They can work for a specified period and gain valuable work experience.

How do I renew my study permit?

To extend a study permit, students must apply before the current Canada Student Visa expires. They must also provide updated documentation.

Can I change my program or institution with the same study permit?

The need to change programs or schools may require telling immigration authorities. In some cases, it will require applying for a new Canada Student Visa.