I want to study in Canada. Where do I start?
What’s the first step I should take to study in Canada?
What comes first- applying for a study permit or admission in a Canadian school or college?
If you are searching for questions like these, then what you need is a simplified step-by-step guide to study in Canada. Read ahead for a detailed guide on what an international student needs to do for studying in Canada.
Step 1—Admission in a Canadian DLI
The first step to study in Canada is to get admission in a Canadian educational institution. And the first step in this step is to find a Designated Learning Institution or DLI.
Why DLI? Well, a foreign student can study in Canada only if he/she gets admission in a DLI.
All primary and secondary educational institutions in Canada are DLIs, which means you can admission in any such institution without any worries about your study permit application being rejected.
Not all post-secondary colleges in Canada are DLIs, which means you need to check whether the college that you are selecting is a DLI and whether it can admit foreign students. This is a very important step because non-DLIs cannot admit foreign students. So, make sure you check the college’s DLI status on the official Canada immigration website before seeking admission.
Step 2—Apply and Get Formal Acceptance Letter
Once you have finalized the course, program, and the DLI, then it’s time to complete admission formalities and get a formal acceptance letter. This is official proof that you have been accepted as an international student in Canada and that you can move to the next step to get a study permit.
Step 3—Apply for Study Permit
Once the admission process is complete and you are assured of a place in the study program of your choice in Canada, it’s time to apply for a study permit and get formal permission from the Canadian government to enter and study in the country.
Step 3.1—Check SDS Eligibility
Student Direct Stream (SDS) offers faster processing of study permit applications to residents of 14 countries. While standard processing takes up to three months, SDS can help you get the study permit in just 20 days.
If eligible for SDS, then you may have to submit certain documents like proof of clean criminal record and good medical health in advance as compared to standard processing.
One requirement unique to SDS is the submission of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAN$10,000. This is like an advance payment submitted with your study permit application and will be refunded to you during your first year of stay in Canada.
Step 3.2—Complete Study Permit Formalities
Irrespective of whether you are eligible for SDS or not, the basic procedure for the study permit remains the same. You need to apply for the permit and submit various documents and proofs related to-
- Admission in a DLI
- Payment of tuition fee for the first year
- Guaranteed Investment Certificate, if applicable
- Clean criminal record
- Medical Fitness
- Your Identify and Nationality
- Statement of Purpose explaining why you want to study in Canada
- Intent to leave Canada at the end of the study course.
Step 4—Get Letter of Introduction
The study permit allows you to study in Canada but you will need a separately visa to enter Canada. To enter at the port of entry, you will either need a visitor visa or Temporary Resident Visa.
Normally, you will be issued a Letter of Introduction at the time of approval of your study permit application. This can be used to enter Canada after which your study permit will serve as proof of your legal status in Canada.
Once you have the study permit and the necessary documents to enter Canada, you can proceed to plan your entry and to start studying in the country.
A step-by-step guide may make the entire process seem very simple. However, the truth is this is a complex process with a lot of scope for complications and issues. From your financial strength to study in Canada to proof of intent to go back after graduating—there are many points decided on the judgment of the immigration officer.
So, the smartest option would be to work with an experienced immigration professional so that you are prepared for all scenarios and don’t face a situation where your study permit is delayed or rejected despite your best efforts.