Processes to study in Canada

Updated 2018-05-14 08:05

International study in Canada is an attractive prospect for foreign students, as they can gain the benefit of learning English (and potentially French) without paying the high prices of many American schools. Study in Canada, in general, is much more affordable than study in the US, but with the same quality of education. The number of international students studying in Canada currently sits at about 90,000 and rises every year. For a country with a small population of just over 30 million, that's a good figure.

Sample Expenses
Based on the costs of St. Thomas university in Fredericton, New Brunswick. An international student could expect to pay in one academic year:
Tuition: $12,480
Health (mandatory) and Dental (optional): $215.64 & $90.24
Student Fees: $350 (including bus pass)
Residence (Double Room) & Meal Plan: $6,720
Residence Fees (Including refundable damage deposit): $360
Approximate Total: $20,200

The Process
Before getting a study permit, you have to be accepted to a university. As a rule of thumb, it's a good idea to apply for Canadian universities well in advance. Most prospective students start the process a year before their first semester. Start researching schools you're interested in and request an information packet from your top schools, which will usually include an application form. Some schools require a fee for an application, the amount varies depending on the institution, but usually doesn't exceed $50. Upon acceptance, you may also be required to pay a deposit to secure your spot and also a deposit to secure a dorm in residence (if you plan on living on campus). Your deposit will usually be around $100 and a residence deposit is roughly $300.
Once you've been accepted, you can apply for your study permit. There is a standard that you must meet to study in Canada, you must prove that you have enough funds to cover your tuition, accommodation, living expenses and return travel. You must also have no criminal record and be in good health. There are processing times for these permits that must be taken into account when applying.
If you are approved, you will be issued a letter of introduction that should be presented upon entering Canada. If you need a temporary resident visa, you will also be issued one.
When entering the country to study, you need to have your passport, letter of introduction, temporary residence visa (if applicable), the acceptance letter from your school and proof that you can support yourself financially during your stay.
If you wish to renew your study permit, you should apply no less than 30 days before your current permit expires. If your permit expires before you receive an answer, you can remain in the country until a decision is made.
Some foreign students can apply for a student work permit allowing them to work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week during courses and full-time during breaks.
Students who graduate from a Canadian institution can apply for a post-graduation work permit that would allow them to get Canadian work experience if they qualify. The permit cannot be for a longer period of time than their program of study was. A four year course wouldn't qualify for a permit for more than four years.

An interactive tool that allows you to compare Canadian universities

How to apply for a Canadian study permit

Processing times for study permits and temporary residence applications

Institutions that permit off-campus work for international students

Applying for a post-grad work permit

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