March 16, 2023

Difference between a Canada student visa and a study permit

If you’ve been planning to study in Canada, you must know the difference between a student visa and a study permit. The two are used interchangeably but are in fact, two separate applications.

A Canada student visa allows you to enter Canada as an international student but not stay and study. This visa is a conditional authorisation wherein the officer at the border can deny you entry into Canada. However, when you are granted a study permit, you can stay and study in the country.

In this post, we’ll help you understand the difference between a Canada student visa and a study permit.

What is a study permit and how does it benefit you?

A Canada student visa is required for international students who wish to study abroad in Canada. It is an authorization that allows an international student to enter Canada. You don’t need to apply for a Canada student visa application separately. This means that there is no separate procedure or charges associated with the same.

When it comes to your study permit, remember that it is mandatory to apply for this permit. It is your pathway and key to studying in Canada. The study permit costs CAD 150, and this permit applies to studying a course of six months or more. This permit does not apply to international students studying a course for less than six months in Canada.

The study permit document has details about your purpose of stay in Canada, limitations regarding work, your reason for studying, and the level of the course you have joined.

The study permit is valid for 90 days after you have completed your study program in Canada. This means that if you desire to work in Canada after completing your studies, you must apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP allows international students who graduated from a Canadian DLI (Designated Learning Institution) to obtain an open work permit. This permit allows you to work in Canada and gain valuable work experience. 

Documents to keep ready while applying for a Study Permit

As an international student aiming to study abroad in Canada, you need to prepare the following submissions while applying for a study permit.

They include:

  • Proof of acceptance sent by the School or college where you’ve applied. You must submit the original copy or an electronic copy of the letter along with the study permit application.
  • Proof of identity shown through a copy of your valid passport or travel document. If you are approved then you must submit your original valid passport
  • Proof of financial support to prove that you can support yourself and the family member accompanying you. Your proof of funds should include:
    • Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada.
    • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a Canadian financial institution
    • Proof of an education or student loan from a bank
    • Your bank statements for the last four months
    • Bank draft of your country’s currency that can be converted to Canadian dollars
    • Proof of paying tuition and housing fees
    • A letter from the person or school supporting you financially
    • Proof of funding paid from within Canada; applicable if you hold a scholarship or have joined a Canadian-funded educational program

You may also need

  • Letter of explanation telling the visa officer your reasons for studying in Canada. Also, you understand your responsibilities as an international student.
  • Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ), that is, if you wish to study in Quebec for longer than 6 months.
  • Custodian declaration (minors only) if you have a minor accompanying you on your study program in Canada.
  • Other documents, if requested by the Canadian Immigration Department

Documents required to apply for Student Visa

You can apply for a student visa after you get accepted at the college you applied to in Canada. So, if you are aiming for a September uptake, begin your visa process in June. The following documents you will require include:

  • Two Passport Size Photographs, if you have applied for the study permit offline. If you’ve applied online then you can submit a digital copy of your photograph. The digital copy uploaded should not be more than 4MB. You should maintain a square proportion of your face to the camera with a neutral expression. Your photograph should be identical, which means it should be taken within the last six months. It should be clear, well-defined, and clicked on a plain white or light-coloured background. If it’s a digital photograph, then it should not be altered in any way. For more specific information, you may visit the Canada government site for photograph and head size details.
  • Proficiency in English Language Exam Scores, which is not mandatory but is strongly recommended as it confirms your admission to a Canadian University. You can appear for IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL and clear it before you start your visa application. 
  • Immigration Medical Examination or IME may be a requirement for international students depending on their country of origin. You must move to Canada if you want to move to Canada for more than six months. It may also be necessary if you have travelled to other countries or territories in the year before moving to Canada. 

If the requirement has to be fulfilled then the student has to book an appointment and visit one of the doctors listed for a medical examination. 

For instance, if you are from London, American Samoa, Christmas island from the Australian territory, then you don’t need a medical exam. On the other hand, students from Algeria, Cambodia, Qatar, India, etc. have to get a medical exam done. There are many other countries that fall either in the YES / NO category. You may visit the Canada government site to check for more information.

  • SOP or Statement of Purpose is a letter that you submit, in which you have to state the purpose of your trip to Canada. Also, the reasons why you chose that particular educational institution.
  • Proof of payment through Credit Card as while you are paying for the visa application fee, you will need a credit card. As stated earlier, you must pay CAD 150, and the system only accepts credit card payments. This means that you are not allowed to make a debit card payment. You can use your parent’s credit card (with permission) to make the payment. 

If you are applying online, you need access to a digital scanner. If you are applying offline, then you should have true copies of the documents mentioned above.

Also, it is important to note that even if you are applying online, there are a few documents that you will have to print, fill, sign, and upload online.

You also have to provide:

  • Proof of a Valid Passport
  • Proof of Acceptance by a DLI
  • Proof of Adequate Funds

Apart from all of the above, you will be required to give a personal interview. During this interview, you will be asked to provide supplementary documents. These supplementary documents are required to prove your academic and financial status.

  • Scores from tests, such as the SAT TOEFL, GRE, or GMAT
  • Academic certificates and transcripts
  • Intent to leave Canada after graduating
  • The financial means to support all your expenses

There are several processes and requirements that you must meet while applying for a Canadian student visa and study permit. The process can get overwhelming, especially if you realise missing an important submission at the last moment. If you want guidance in your journey to study abroad in Canada, reach out to us. We will help you with a comprehensive checklist of all the requirements and documents needed, including advice on the universities and courses available, among other details.