Complete Process of Study in Canada

Study in Canada

Why Study in Canada?

Canada is becoming a popular destination for international students from around the globe. Indians make up around 5.1% of the Canadian population. With this immense number of Indians in the country, it will be a lot easier to adjust to the country, the population, and homesickness would be a lot less. Studying in Canada is very much easy nowadays which is the main reason that people need to be clear about the technicalities.

Quality of Education: Canadian Universities are of top class. International employers recently ranked Canada’s education system in the top 10 of the Global Employability Rankings (Times Higher Education, 2021). They offer excellent courses in various courses across all departments of studies.

Work while studying: Canada allows you to work 20 hours per week while you are on your student visa. So you can have a part-time job while you are studying and hence meet the cost of living.

Affordable courses: Compared to the US and UK, Canadian universities’ tuition fees are much more affordable. For international students, the cost of a bachelor’s degree in Canada ranges from 8000 CAD to 30,000 CAD. Canada is one of the most pocket-friendly destinations that provides excellent education.

Advanced learning methods: Canadian universities use innovative and interactive teaching methods to make learning more engaging and effective. Canadian universities offer a progressive and appealing method of teaching which helps students to develop the skills and knowledge.

Exposure: The culture of Canada is vibrant. Not only that, the country has an immense number of International students studying there. Studying there with people around the globe will give you global exposure and various perspectives.

Research-focused programs: Canadian universities offer a wide range of research-intensive programs. Students get the opportunity to conduct original research under the supervision of experienced faculty members. This can lead to publications in top academic journals and to valuable job opportunities in Canada.


Requirements for study in Canada

Here are some of the common requirements to apply for courses in Canada. The requirements may vary depending on the university one opts for

  1. Passport: A valid passport that is at least 6 months valid beyond the end of the study program.
  2. School mark sheets and certificates: This includes 10th and 12th-grade mark sheets/ Predicted scores for 12th grade, as well as any other relevant certificates.
  3. Academic transcripts: Official transcripts from previous school(s) showing the academic record.
  4. Statement of purpose: A personal statement which explains the reasons for wanting to study in Canada including academic and career goals.
  5. Letters of recommendation: Two letters of recommendation for Canada from teachers, professors, or other professionals who can attest to the candidate’s academic abilities and character.
  6. Language proficiency: Candidates must prove their English language skills to pursue a Bachelor’s or master’s degree in Canada. The acceptable English proficiency tests are: IELTS, TOEFL, Duolingo
  7. Experience certificate or Gap related (if any): If one has any gaps in their education or work experience, they will need to provide a certificate explaining them.
  8. Student visa documents: These will vary depending on their nationality, but they may include a visa application form, a medical examination report, and a police certificate.


Study in Canada: Step-By-Step process for International Students

Step 1: Know your Requirements

Candidates need to conduct a careful analysis of the rules and regulations applicable to the study permit application process. Only recognized schools and periods of approved study will be meaningful. Student should start planning for Canadian study permit at least a year in advance.

Common requirements for all universities and institutions include an updated passport, proficiency in either English or French along with proof of passing prescribed language tests with minimum grades/bands, and proof that you can finance the study as well as the cost of living in the country the requirements may vary between provinces, which is why this step must be performed carefully and systematically.

Step 2: Select the Course and University

The first step towards choosing an university is to ascertain its status as a Designated Learning Institution. You will be required to finalize a specific major course when applying to study in Canada. The Canadian academic setup is flexible towards switching courses, although it is best to compare your options beforehand and choose a major that you are truly interested in pursuing.

Step 3: English Language Proficiency Test

In order to successfully gain entry into Canada, every international student will have to prove proficiency in English or French. IELTS is the preferred test for proficiency in English, with some institutions also accepting the Cambridge English: Advanced or TOEFL exam score. For French, you can opt for DALF, DELF, or TCF, although the TEF exam is the most common option.

Step 4: Application to the Universities

Shortlist the universities, obtain their application packs, and submit them well in advance. Having the choice of applying to a dozen universities can be advantageous but you will have to consider the application fee, which varies from $100 to $250.

Do not apply at random. Compare your options, identify your preferred course and institution, and select one or two alternatives as backups.

Be careful when filling in the application form and make sure you provide accurate information backed with documentary evidence. Once this is done, it is time face the excruciating wait until you receive your acceptance. Once you confirm your interest, the university will send an acceptance letter, which plays a significant role in the formalities ahead.

Step 5: Study Permit Application

Now that you have an institution ready to admit you, it is time to apply for the Canada Study Permit. Your application must be accompanied by the acceptance letter received in the previous step, your passport, and documentary proof that you have adequate finances to study in Canada. You may also need a letter of explanation, a medical exam, a custodian declaration (for minors only), and other relevant documents.

While a letter of explanation will help the visa officer understand your goals (by explaining why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student),

A medical exam may be needed if:

  • You plan to stay in Canada for more than 6 months
  • You recently spent time in certain countries
  • You plan to work in a job where public health must be protected

If you have applied to an institution in the province of Quebec, then you will also receive, along with the acceptance letter, a “Certificat d’acceptation du Québec” (CAQ). Make sure you include this document in your study permit application.

Book an appointment for your fingerprints and photo (biometric) as soon as you can to avoid delays.

Step 6: Traveling to CANADA

Once the application has been processed and an interview, if required, has been conducted, the immigration officer will decide upon your study permit application. If accepted, it is now time to start planning your travel to Canada.

Your permit will have a start date, which is the date from which the permit comes into force. Keep in mind that you won’t be permitted to enter Canada before this date. Plan your travel accordingly.

Step 7: Entry Clearance

The immigration officer will verify your permit and other documents at the port of entry before allowing you to enter Canada. This is the final step of the immigration formalities and you can now focus on commencing your journey as an international student in Canada.


 Options after Studies

  • Canada’s federal government covets international graduates as ideal new permanent residents.
  • They are young, have knowledge of the culture, are proficient in languages, have Canadian qualifications and often have work experience.
  • After graduation, Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit allows students to begin their careers here.
  • Recent changes to the Express Entry selection system have made it easier for international students to make the transition to permanent residence.
  • There are also multiple provincial immigration streams aimed specifically at international students.


Course/Program Average cost (CAD) for International student.

  • Vocational or Diploma Courses – CAD 12,000 – CAD 19,000 per year
  • Bachelors Courses – CAD 15,000 – CAD 20,000 per year
  • Masters Courses – CAD 12,000 – CAD 18,000 per year
  • MBA -20,000 CAD to 40,000 CAD per year
  • PhD – CAD 12,000 – CAD 17,000


Required documents for visa application

You must have the following documents and evidence available for this procedure:

  • Valid Passport
  • Letter of Acceptance
  • Transcripts/Mark sheets
  • School Leaving Certificate
  • Scholarship/Funding Details [If Applicable]
  • Proof of your English or French Proficiency Test
  • Evidence of GIC Purchase
  • Student Questionnaire
  • Medical Test for Canada Student Visa
  • Family Information Form
  • IT Records of your parents [Last 2 years]
  • Use Representative Form (IMM 5476)
  • Financial requirements and proof of funds

To pursue studies in Canada, you must provide evidence that you have the money to pay your tuition and living costs. Your chances of receiving a student visa or study permit greatly depend on your capacity to support yourself financially after you arrive in Canada. It is crucial to be able to show that you will have free financial resources during your stay in Canada.

Supporting evidence to demonstrate financial sufficiency:


  • Bank account statements for the past six months.
  • Bank account statements from the account that is in your name if money has been transferred to Canada.
  • Evidence of funding paid from within Canada if you are in a Canadian-funded educational program or have a scholarship.
  • Proof of education/student loan from a financial institution.
  • Evidence of payment of tuition and accommodation fees.
  • A letter from your sponsor or institution providing you with sponsorship.
  • Bank drafts.


Health insurance and medical examination

One of the most integral reasons to conduct a medical test for a Canadian student visa is to ensure that the student is medically eligible to enter Canada. The Canadian government takes this precaution to make sure the student doesn’t endanger the health or safety of the public.

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) has a board of pre-approved doctors for Immigration health assessments. Usually, the health test involves a physical test, which determines if the candidate is medically fit enough to be eligible for the visa. You have the choice to apply for your medical test before or after you apply for your visa.

While you are studying in Canada, you are expected to have health insurance. Certain provinces require international students to get private health insurance, which educational institutions provide. Some colleges make student health insurance plans mandatory, while others allow students to reject them if they have alternative coverage.

Accommodation and Living Expenses

Most Universities and Colleges in Canada offer on-campus accommodation, called dormitories, residences, and townhouses. But if you prefer to stay off campus, there are many forms of accommodation available, but it will be on the costlier side. There are also homestay programs and subletting options available.

The cost of living in Canada for Indian students is between $20,000 CAD and $25,000 CAD annually. This price covers lodging, food, travel, health insurance, textbooks, and other non-essential costs.

  • Flight Expense – INR 1,00,000- 2,00,000/- per flight
  • Study Permit Fees – $150 (INR 11,123)
  • Work Permit Fees – $155 (INR 11,493)
  • IELTS test Fees – INR 14,700
  • Accommodation -CAD 5,000 – CAD 10,000 (INR 2,67,000-INR 5,39,000) per annum
  • Health Insurance – CAD 300-CAD 800 (INR 17,000-INR 44,000)
  • Travel Costs – CAD 80 – CAD 110 (INR 4,300-INR 6,000) per month
  • Food – CAD 300- CAD 400 [17,508 INR-23,344] (monthly)
  • Entertainment – CAD 750 [43,770 INR] (monthly)


Part-Time Jobs

Students may work 20 hours per week at a paid job while you are a student in Canada as per the S-1 visa. You are only permitted to work for this many hours each week, though. If you are working on-campus, helping your professors or making connections, you do not need a work permit. However, if you wish to work off-campus, you can apply for an off-campus work permit after completing six months of study. That permit will allow you to work for a maximum of 20 hours/week off-campus.


If you are required to do an internship as part of your course and need to work off-campus for over 20 hours/week, you would need to apply for an SW-1 visa.


Latest Updates for Canada Student Visa

December 15, 2023: International applicants will now have to prove their funding sources of CAD 20,635 per year for staying in Canada to obtain a study visa from January 1, 2024, onwards. This is almost double the current funding requirement of CAD 10,000 per year which was prevalent in the early 2000s. Thus, Indian students applying for Canada student visas will now have to adhere to the new requirements and make arrangements accordingly.


Regulations for international students working in Canada

If you are an international student and want to work part-time in Canada, you must meet the following eligibility criteria.

Off-Campus Work

  • A 9-digit Social Insurance Number provided by the Government of Canada.
  • Full-time course in a DLI (Designated Learning Institution).
  • Your programme must have started (you cannot work before the start of your academic programme).


Balancing work and studies

Universities advise students who are enrolled in challenging or demanding courses to work a maximum of 12 hours per week. This is so that a student’s academic performance is not affected by working for longer than this amount.


How to Apply for a Canadian Visa for Study

Check the processing times: Canada visa processing time is 6 weeks (this does not include the time required for biometrics). It is advisable to go through the Canadian consulate website to know the exact time taken to process the student visa and to track your application.

 Determine how you will apply: There are two ways to apply:

(a) Apply online: To apply online you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment. You will still be required to provide a finger scan at the regional Visa Application Centre (VAC). Remember, in the case of Online Applications you need to visit the VFS offices to hand in your passports and would have to provide the confirmation of form and fee payment as well. the steps would only vary in terms of documents you need to carry to the VAC.


(b) Apply on paper: Download the application kit and read the instruction guide. The instruction guide contains important information about study permits and instructions to help you complete your application. Read the guide carefully and use the document checklist. You are allowed to apply on paper only under 2 conditions:

If you have a disability that prevents you from applying online

If you hold an identity or travel document for non-national residents, refugees, or stateless persons

Fill out the VFS Consent Form and attach it with your application form.  You need this form to get the assistance of VFS services for your visa filing process.

Pay the processing fee: Note that when submitting an application via the VFS, in person, or by mail, visa fees must be paid in addition to VFS Global service charges. The processing fee is non-refundable in all cases.

If your spouse/common-law partner and/or children are accompanying you and you are applying for temporary resident visas, work permits, or study permits for them, then you will need to pay the appropriate processing fees for them.

Submit your application and supporting documents: You have to visit the nearest VFS office. Once you are there, pay the service charges and hand them your complete application to obtain a receipt. This receipt contains your unique tracking number which you will need to track the progress of your application online.

In case your application is approved you will receive notification from the Government of Canada requesting your passport. You can submit the passport and passport request letter in person or through VFS. You would be provided with a Temporary Resident Visa and a Letter of Introduction.


Canada Student Visa Fees

Canada student visa fees is CAD 150. Canada study visa fees in Indian Rupees is 9,317 as per the current exchange rate in July 2023. Since the exchange rate keeps changing, we would advise you to check the same at the time of your visa application.

Canadian Visa Applications are available both online and offline. The visa processing fees can be made both online (by means of a credit card) or offline (by means of a demand draft if paying at the High Commission of Canada) or by cash at the VAC. This fee must be paid when the application is submitted or a fee receipt of online payment is provided. The Demand Draft required is to be drawn out in favour of the High Commission of Canada in Indian rupees. VACs accept only Cash Payments.

Also, the visa fee mentioned does not include VAC service charges. You would have to pay the additional service charges as applicable for your region. Also, a receipt will be issued for each payment received. Please keep the receipt as proof of payment.

Post submission of your 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, your biometrics will be taken at a Visa Application Centre.


Processing Time for the Canada Student Visa

Processing time is the time taken by the CIC for processing a visa application. It starts when the aspirant files the application until the final decision day. Usually, the processing time for Canada student visa is around 6 weeks. Aspirants (both online and paper) can view the status of their applications through their MyCIC accounts. Moreover, if students are applying through the SDS route, Canada student visa processing time after biometrics is 20 calendar days.

Study Permit Renewal

For staying and studying, students need to have a valid student visa Canada. If in case, your student visa Canada expires before the completion of your studies (program) then you need to apply for renewal of your study permit. Ideally, you should apply at least 30 days before your current permit expires. Candidates can submit their applications through mail or online.


Spouses can accompany full-time students on a Dependent visa. You only need to show that adequate funds are available for their support. Spouses can also work full-time if their stay is for a year or more.

In some cases, you may apply for an open work permit if you will be accompanying your spouse or common-law partner to Canada. With an open work permit, you may find and accept any job when you get to Canada. You do not need a job offer or a positive labour market impact assessment to apply for your work permit.

Post-Study Work Permit Canada (PGWP Canada)

International students who have graduated from Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Programme (PGWPP), which enables them to get a valid open work permit and gain work experience there. In order to be eligible for a PGWP Canada, your course must be at least 8 months in duration. If the duration of the course is less than 2 years (but more than 8 months), your work permit will be for a period equal to the duration of your course. If your course is for two years or more, you might receive a work permit of three years in duration.

Canada PR

You may apply for a Canada PR through Express Entry (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Programme, Federal Skilled Trades Programme), PNP, etc. Getting Canadian work experience will help you obtain extra points (70 if you have a spouse and 80 if do not have a spouse) on the Comprehensive Ranking System. Moreover, there is no requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) once you have a PGWP. The LMIA demonstrates that a foreign worker is necessary to fill the open position. An LMIA application must be submitted by the employer. A PGWP, on the other hand, negates the requirement for an LMIA.

It is advised that students should take their documentation for their student visa Canada very seriously and with utmost care. Make sure to follow all the precise requirements and instructions.

Top Universities in Canada to pursue studies

S.noUniversityQS World RankingBest Undergraduate ProgramsAverage Tuition Fee (CAD)
1University of Toronto34Computer Science$48,590
2McGill University31Life Sciences$44,750
3University of British Columbia$47Engineering$39,800
4University of Alberta110Business Administration$32,100
5McMaster University152Health Sciences$29,250
6University of Waterloo154Mathematics$37,300
7Western University$172Social Sciences$30,900
8Queen’s University$246Fine Arts$34,840
9University of Calgary$242Environmental Studies$29,700
10Simon Fraser University328Communication$28,800
11University of Ottawa237Political Science$28,800
12University of Victoria359Psychology$27,970
13Dalhousie University308Oceanography$25,600
14University of Guelph591-600Agriculture$28,180
15York University456Film Studies$28,690