If you are planning to travel to Canada for your studies, then you are taking a step that could change your life! With its cultural diversity, quality standard of education and high standard of living, Canada is one of the best countries in the world. Little wonder, several international students including Nigerians desire to continue their academic pursuit in the country. Studying in Canada could positively affect your career trajectory and could be rewarding in future. But how would a Nigerian go about the daunting process of applying for a Canadian student visa? If this is what you are concerned about, then you should worry no more as this post is for you! Here, we would be discussing how to apply for a student visa to Canada and other relevant information.
But before we proceed, let’s show you why you should study in Canada.
Why you Should Study in Canada?
1. Top Universities
Did you know that Canada is home to some of the world’s bestuniversities? Now you know! In fact, about 26 Canadian universities feature in the 2019 QS World University Rankings and about 27Canadian universities are among the top schools highlighted in the 2019 World University Rankings. Hence, it is clear that Canadian universities stand out globally. This could be because of Canada’s strong focus on practical and theoretical education. Canadian universities have state-of-the-art facilities, modern and standard halls of residence and lecturers who are experienced in various fields.
2. High Employability Rate
It is well known that Canadian education is globally recognized and appreciated. Hence, getting a degree from any university in Canada could open doors to job opportunities for you. Canadian university alumni stand out among their peers and have a high chance of being employed in top companies and industries.
Canadian universities are not as expensive as those in the UK and US. Despite this, international students can also apply for financial aid which includes grants, scholarships etc to reduce the financial burden.
4. English Taught Courses
The official languages in Canada are English and French. Most of the courses are taught in English so that foreign students would be able to assimilate easily. Hence, as a Nigerian, you would be able tolearn and adapt to the environment without hassles and there should be no language hitches throughout your stay in the country.
5. Beautiful Landscape
It is a well-known fact that Canada is a beautiful country! There are many beautiful sights to behold, and little wonder, it is one of the most visited countries in the world. With several natural wonders, Canada is a perfect holiday destination for anyone seeking to relax and have fun! Although it may get chilly at times, the weather is stillmanageable.
About Canadian Student Visa
It is important to note that there is nothing like a Canadian student visa officially. To enter or re-enter Canada, you need a Temporary Resident Visa(TRV) also referred to as a visitor visa or entry visa.The TRV is like a sticker placed on your passport that allows you to travel to Canada. However, once you arrive in Canada, you need to get a study permit which allows you to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. A DLI is a school or university approved by the Canadian government to accept foreign students.The TRV is usually issued for the same length of time as your study permit. Also, you may not need to apply for the visa and study permit separately as the visa may automatically be issued at the same time as your study permit. With these documents, you can work and make some money while you study. Note that to get a study permit and visa, you must meet all the requirements laid down.
Canadian Student Visa Eligibility
If you wish to apply for the visa, you would be eligible if:
1. You have received an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI). You would need to present the acceptance letter which contains:
• An official letterhead of the university.
• The program and degree you would be taking.
• The amount of tuition fees that you would be paying.
• The dates you would start and end your program.
2. You have enough funds to cover your expenses while you study and live in Canada.
3. You have a police clearance certificate which proves that you have no criminal record.
4. You have a medical report from a reputable hospital which shows that you are in good health condition.
5. You would leave Canada as soon as you have completed your studies.
6. You filled out and signed the Visa Application Center (VAC) Consent Form.
Canadian Student Visa Requirements
You should get the following documents ready as they would be useful in your application process:
1. A Valid International Passport
You would require a valid passport to apply for a student visa. According to the Canadian High Commission, your passport must be valid throughout your intended stay in Canada. For instance, if you plan to study there for four years beginning in January 2023, your passport must be valid through January 2027.
2. Admission Letter
You must provide an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution in Canada. If you would be studying in Quebec, you may require a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) or a letter of confirmation from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI). Bear in mind that the CAQ can be issued for a maximum period of 49 months.
3. Proof of Sufficient Funds
You would need to prove that you are financially capable whenmaking your application. You would have to show that you would have enough funds to cover all your expenses including your tuition and cost of living. You would need at least CAD 10,000 for each year of your stay but if you’d be staying in Quebec, you must have at least CAD 11,000. Additionally, you must also show that you have the resources necessary for a return trip. You may present your bank statements to prove this or that of your sponsor. If you are onscholarship, present your scholarship letter to the authorities.
4. Passport Photographs
You would need two passport-sized photos that meet the visa requirements. If you would be submitting an online application, then you should get a digital copy of the photo, which should be at most 4MB. Note that you must have a neutral facial expression, and a plain background with no head covering except for religious purposes. The photographs should not be more than 6 months and should measure 35mm by 45mm. Also, remember to write your name and date of birth on the back of each photograph.
5. Language Proficiency Results
You need to take a language proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL as you would be needing the result in your application. Your university may also require it before you are given admission.
6. Statement of Purpose
You would be required to write an essay when applying for a Canadian study permit showing the reason you are visiting Canada and why you have chosen the particular university and program.This may be optional but it is advisable to include it in your application.
7. Academic Certificates
You must prove that you are academically qualified to pursue your program at a Canadian university. Hence, you must present your transcripts, and your other academic certificates such as WAEC, NECO results etc.
8. Flight Reservation
You must show the authorities that you would return to Nigeria after completing your studies. You may prove this by presenting yourflight ticket which shows the date and time of your return trip. Bear in mind that you do not have to buy tickets before the approval of your visa because you would be responsible for any losses if your visa application were ultimately rejected.
9. Proof of Accommodation
You are required to present a document stating where you would stay once you arrive in Canada. You can provide your hotel reservation in Canada or your hostel receipt if you would be staying in your university’s hall of residence. If you have a friend or relative staying in Canada, then they can give you an invitation letter which is also acceptable.
You need to provide the receipt of your study fee permit to the authorities to prove that you have paid.
Canadian Student Visa Application Guide
1. Gain Admission
Before you start your application, you must have secured admission at a designated learning institution. This is because you would have to present your admission letter to the authorities. If you are yet to gain admission, you can start applying to universities in Canada and wait till you get admission before starting the visa application.
You may start your application online or in person. For your online application, you need to create an account online and scan the above documents into an electronic format for uploading. Fill out the forms correctly and pay the required fees. If you have any disability that prevents you from applying online then you can apply in person. Ensure you download the application kit and read the instructions for guidance.
3. Pay the Required Fees
You may now pay the visa fees and any other charges. The Canadian study permit costs CAD150.
5. Visit the Visa Application Centre
You should submit all the documents you have submitted online physically at the visa application centre. Your biometrics which includes your fingerprint and photo would be taken. An interview may also be scheduled for you so ensure you arrive on time.
6. Track your Application
After you have completed your application and paid the necessary fees, you would receive a tracking number which you would use to track your application. If your application is successful, you would be informed by the authorities.
Canadian Student Visa Fees
Bear in mind that you must pay all application fees for yourself and any family members that would be going with you to Canada. You can pay the fees online with your credit card or by cash at the visa application centre.
The fees that you must pay include:
Study permit — CAD150
Biometrics fee (per person) — $85
Noteworthy, the visa fee does not include the service charges of the visa application centre. Hence, you would be must pay any additional service fees and you would be given a receipt. It is expedient that you keep the receipt properly as it may be useful in future.
Canadian Student Visa Processing Time
There is no specific time for your Canadian student visa to be processed as this depends on various factors. However, your application would start to be processed as soon as you file it until the final day.
Working with a Study Permit in Canada
Your ability to work with a study permit in Canada depends on several factors. These factors are put in place to prevent illegal employees from simply applying for Canadian student status without pursuing their academics. However, students may work in any of the situations below:
• Work on the campus if they are pursuing a full-time program in Canada.
• Go for internships as stipulated in their program curriculum.
• Work off campus if it is for less than 20 hours weekly and your study permit permits it.
Bear in mind that you can’t work before you have started studying in Canada, you can only work while you study.
Canadian Student Visa Rejection
If your visa has been rejected, it may be due to any of the reasons below:
• You have been found to have a criminal record.
• Your passport is fake or invalid.
• Your documents are incomplete.
• Dishonesty during your interview, if you are called for one.
Studying in Canada is a great step to take in your academic pursuit. However, applying for Canadian student visa or permit may be a challenging process especially if you don’t have the right information. We hope this article has been of tremendous help to you by guiding you on how to go about the Canadian student visa application process without any problems.