By Eman Katem
Moving to a new country to study can be exciting — and stressful! While you may have done most of your planning ahead of time, not all situations are predictable.
Every year Canada welcomes thousands of international students pursuing their post-secondary studies in a Canadian university, college, language school or any other learning institution that accepts students from around the world.
The process of applying for a Canadian study permit, also known as a student visa, can be made smoother and quicker if you take into consideration the following:
Submit your application online or via a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recommends that you consult a local VAC when preparing your application for a study permit. VACs can help ensure your application is complete and meets all of IRCC’s requirements.
Here are ways VACs can be beneficial to you:
- Address your concerns and questions in your local language.
- Offer a tracking service for your application.
- Help transfer your documents and personal information securely.
- Collect biometrics if required.
For a list of available VACs by country, consult this list.
Submit your application early
IRCC advises that you send your application for a study permit as early as possible, and at least four to six months before the start of your classes.
A useful tool you can use to find out the average processing time for a study permit based on where you are applying from is the Canada Immigration processing tool.
Get your medical exam and your police clearance as soon as you can
Canada requires some prospective students from overseas to undergo a medical examination. This requirement depends on the length of stay and your current country of residence.
For example, if you plan on staying in Canada for longer than six months you will be required to present medical exam results. If you resided or stayed in any of the following countries for six or more months prior to coming to Canada, you will need a medical exam.
It is important to note that it is not mandatory to have your exam results when submitting your study permit application. However, you can avoid delays by getting your medical examination done and submitting the results along with your application.
IRCC may expect a police certificate from potential international students. If you know you will need a police certificate, it is best to obtain one as early possible.
For information on how to get a police certificate from specific countries, visit this page.
Ensure that you have submitted all the necessary documents and that all pages have been completed accurately and legibly
Your application will be returned if the information provided is unclear, which can result in further delays. It is highly recommended to use the document checklist provided by IRCC along with the study permit application kit.
Get certified translations in either official languages, English or French, of all the documents provided with the application, such as transcripts, police certificates, and any other official documents.
Pay all the required fees on time
IRCC warns that if you do not pay the required fees by the required time, it may result in application processing delays or may impact the approval of your study permit application.