How to Immigrate to Canada as a Student [2020 updated] (2023)

March 2, 2020byCANADAPTImmigration0 comments

Study and Immigrate to Canada in 2020

In today’s post, you will find out everything you need to know in order to immigrate to Canada as a student. You will know all the processes from the beginning of your study permit application to become a permanent resident in Canada.

So let’s get started. First, see why you should consider Canada to study as an international student:

Why should you consider immigrating to Canada as a student?

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If you are planning to study in Canada, the good news is that tuition fees are generally lower than in other major Anglophone destinations (the US, UK, and Australia), although they are still quite high in comparison to other countries. Canada is one of the world’s most popular destinations for international students, offering a diverse variety of experiences and opportunities in a country known for its vast expanses, multicultural cities, and natural beauty.


Cost is the most significant barrier for most students hoping to study abroad. Although Canadian international students have to pay higher tuition fees than domestic students, another reason why international students choose Canadian learning institutions is the low cost of living.

Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada

Universities in Canada set their own fees, and these vary depending on several factors: what program you’re studying, whether you are an international or home student, and whether you’re studying at the undergraduate or postgraduate level.

According toStatistics Canada, the average tuition fees for international students in 2019/20 are CA$25,180 (~US$20,540) per year. Arts and humanities courses tend to be cheaper, while subjects such as engineering and medicine are among the more expensive (an average of CA$28,625 (~US$23,340) per year). Fees for business and management courses are lower than the national average, at CA$24,683 (~US$20,120) per year.

Postgraduate tuition fees in Canada

If you want to study at a postgraduate level, the tuition fees are generally lower, and again vary depending on your program. Statistics Canada puts the average postgraduate tuition fee at CA$16,252 in 2017/18, which is approximately US$13,250.

Cost of living in Canada

The cost of living and tuition fees for international students in Canada is generally lower than in other developed countries while the quality of education and living standards are very high. That’s why Canada is highly valued by college and university students.The average cost of living per year for international students in Canada is around $13,000 USD

International recognition and quality of education

A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is globally recognized as being equivalent to those obtained from other developed countries, such as the United States, Germany or the United Kingdom. Canada’s high academic standards guarantee a high-quality education that will open doors for your future international career.

A Canadian degree is widely recognized as equal to one from the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom, and Canadian universities consistently do well in international rankings. There’s a wide array ofCanadian institutionsto choose from, but whether you attend a university, college, or vocational school, there’s no doubt that Canadian education is world-class.


Studying abroad can sometimes be scary when you’re leaving your friends and family behind.Sharing a border with only the United States, Canada is protected on three sides by oceans, unlike most other countries putting a buffer from most international conflicts.

The democratically elected government and the fundamental rights and freedoms of those living in Canada are protected by theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada has a well-deserved international reputation as atolerant and non-discriminatory society. Immigrants make up a fifth of Canada’s entire population, and Canadian laws ensure that all people, regardless of their circumstance, are protected from discrimination.

Work While You Study

If you want to get extra money while studying, with a study permit you may work on or off-campus for up to 20 hours a week during the regular academic sessions and full-time during regularly scheduled breaks. Also, a study permit holder’s spouse or common-law partner may apply for a work permit with the validity of the length of the study. Children can apply to obtain a study permit with the same length.

Innovation and research

The government of Canada and industry support together research including telecommunications, medicine, agriculture, computer technology, and environmental science. As a post-secondary student, especially, you’ll have many opportunities to become a part of Canadian research groups.

Study to Immigrate

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The possibility of immigrating to Canada after completing studies is one of the factors attracting a lot of students to Canada. International Graduates with or without Canadian work experience may apply for permanent residency. Learn morehere.

Before you come to Canada as an international student, there are somestepsthat you need to take as an international student. Most of the time you are required to have a study permit, however, there are some few exceptions

What will you need to study in Canada as an international student?

Initially, as the first step towards your studies in Canada, you will need to have an acceptance letter from a DLI. In order for a school to admit international students, to become DLI, it needs to be approved by a Canadian provincial government.

In general, all primary and secondary school in Canada is confirmed as designated learning institutions, however, no all post-secondary schools are included in this list.

therefore, you need to make sure that the school in Canada you have chosen to study is inthelist of Designated Learning Institution.

Later, when you prepare your documentation to get a study permit, the letter of acceptance you received will act as a proof of acceptance.

Preparing for a study permit

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In general, a study permit is a document that allows an individual to study in Canada at a designated learning institution for more than 6 months.

In fact, there are two forms of conditions which study-permit holders must abide by during the process:

  • eligibility requirements for students
  • and requirements that you need to abide by while you are in Canada

Also, in order to become qualified for a study permit, candidates must present certain documents such as a letter of acceptance, proof of adequate funds, and as well as the necessary supporting documentation.

The latter may vary dependingon the county of your citizenship.

Study permit requirements also include being registered at a designated learning institution, respecting the requirements listed on their study permit and leaving the country at the end of their studies.

Since obtaining a study permit is the process involving lots of paperwork, make sure that you begin your permit application well in advance of when you plan to begin studying.

There are various application deadlines demanded by many Canadain schools for international students in order to make sure that their application is prepared in advance. Also, theprocessing timesof study permit depends on the country you are applying from

You can start to prepare your Canadianstudy permit applicationafter receiving your letter of acceptance. This process is an extensive task. And you need toprove your intentionsin Canada and also your ability tosupport yourself. Depending on which country you are a citizen of required documents can vary. Following this link provided by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, you can see the requirements for your country.

Generally, you need to provide an Acceptance Letter andProof of Financial Supportwhen you submit thestudy permit extension.

Your Proof of Financial Support shows that during your first year in Canada:

  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself and anyaccompanying family member
  • You can cover yourtuition fees aswell as your cost of living

Chances of getting a study permit

In the last 20 years, Canada has seen increased international student enrollment each year. However, although there is asignificant increasein the acceptance rates of international students inCanadaover two decades, this also results in many refusals in Canadian study visa applications. An increasing number of students in competition for Canadianstudy permitaround the globe makes preparing seamless study permit application harder.

Since the number of candidates competing for study permit increase every day, it gets harder and harder to submit a seamless application. In fact, there are a number of reasons that can result instudent visa rejection.

In order to avoid denial for yourstudy permit application, you need to prepare your documentation very carefully keeping in mind that you need to satisfy the visa officer about your returning home following your studies in Canada.

Canada is preferred as one of thetop study destinationsby international students. In fact, the rate of increase in enrollment hasgrownby 154 percent since 2010.

Being an international student in Canada brings lots of advantages, which can be one of the reasons for the competition among candidates.

For example, unlike some other countries, Canada offers ajob opportunity after graduation. In addition, foreign students can work without a need for a work permit and have an opportunity to become a Canadian permanent residence after gaining valuablework experience. They can apply for permanent residency through theCanadian Experience Classprogram which is handled by theExpress Entry system.

Therefore, students wishing to obtain permanent residency in Canada knows that studying in Canada actually opens them anexcellent pathwayto stay permanently in Canada.

Increasing the number of study visa applications also results inmany rejectionsfor sending countries.

Submitting your study permit application

Before submitting your application you have to check that you have included all therequired documents. Depending on the country you are applying fromprocessing timesof yourapplication can greatly vary.

You can submit your study permit application in two ways. If you submit online then you need to apply using the online web-portal. However, for a paper-based application in hard copy, you have to apply atdesignated visa application centers(VAC).

Cost of studying in Canada

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A study permit requires some steps of cost while obtaining it. Initially, having a letter of acceptance from a Canadian educational institution is necessary to apply for a study permit. You need to pay an application fee when you apply to the school in order to get a letter of acceptance. Depending on a school or a program these fees may vary from $50 CAD up to a few hundred CAD.

You also need to pay for your application to process. All candidates must pay $150 CAD as an application fee. Additionally, depending on a country you are the citizen of, you may have to submit biometrics (fingerprints and photograph). This procedure is going to cost you $85 CAD.

Please note that all of your documents must be either in English or French. It means if your documents are in a different language, then you must also pay for them to be translated and certified.


As mentioned before, depending on the program or the institution you apply to, tuition fees may vary. Of course, a student applying for a degree in medicine is going to pay higher than compared to someone who wishes to study engineering. Please bear in mind that, this principle also applies to educational institutions. For example, the tuition fee of a university is much higher than a community college.

Since tuition fees depend on the facts we have mentioned above, you need to make proper research before you give your final decision. But in general, tuition fees for international students range from $15,000 CAD to $30,000 CAD annually.

Of course, you may also receive some financial support for your studies. This is especially available to international students who complete masters or doctoral degrees. You also need to have health insurance while you study in Canada. The cost of insurance will most likely be included in the fees of an institution.

Last but not least, please keep in mind that the cost of studying in Canada and as well as the cost of living significantly varies depending on whereyou choose to study in Canada. In fact, it costs much higher to live in metropolitan areas compared to small cities.

At the same time, if you are an international student inCanada, you are eligible to work part-time during your studies. You are also allowed to work full time during regular breaks.

Stay in Canada permanently after graduation

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International students become qualified to apply forPost-Graduation Work Permitwhen they complete their studies. This, in turn, helps them to remain in Canada and seek full-time employment which can be expanded up to 3 years of time. Also, there are manyprovincial streamsthat focus on graduates to help them permanently immigrate to Canada.

Furthermore, international students graduated from Canadian educational institutions are awarded extra points towards their Express Entry profile which increases their chances to receive an invitation to apply through thefederal Express Entrysystem.

There are also options available for international graduates to become Canadianpermanent residentsthrough a number ofProvincial Nominee Programs.

The Canadian Government has launched the Express Entry system in order to invite highly educated and experienced foreign workers to become permanent residents.

The government realized that to retain its economic development it needs immigrants to compensate for its aging and retiring population. According to the data delivered by Statistics Canada, the majority of immigrants, once international students, succeed better in Canada’s labor market. This tendency is due to students being young, well-educated, and equipped with Canadian work experience.

The research also reveals that half of the international students currently studying in Canada have a plan to remain and build a new life in the county following their studies.

It is expected that, by time, there will be a continuous increase in Canada’s international student population due to the reasons mentioned above. In the other hand, Canada is working on diversifying its international student source countries by launching new programs that focus onsimplifying study permit proceduresfor certain countries.

As of today, Canada’s main source of international students in India and China. The government sees diversification to be very important, since it wants to develop economic and as well as social connections also with other countries around the globe.

Having said that the recently announcedinternational education strategyis planning to accept more international students from a number of different countries. The new strategy or plan covers 6 years, from 2019-2024.

If you want to learn more about your options on becoming an international student in Canada, you are welcome tocontact usor fill out ourfree immigration assessmentform in order to find out your eligibility for permanent immigration to Canada.

Children can study in Canada with their parent’s study permit

You are a parent and you are planning to have astudy permitfor your education inCanada. Then you are welcome to include your children on your application. After confirmation of your study permit your children can also study inCanada with you. Additionally, during your children’s studies, you will not need to pay any tuition fees since Canada has free childhood education.

Considering children on the study permit application

Including your dependent children on your study permit application is absolutely up to you. Please note that in Canadian terms a dependent child is considered any child who is under the age of 22. Upon the approval of your study permit, children get a visa. This allows them to stay inCanadawith you during the duration of your study permit.

All children 18 years and younger in Canada have the privilege to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools. And since most of the schools inCanadafor children are public you do not need to pay the extra cost for their study.

Even the children whose parents are in the country temporarily to work or study are required to attend school. And Canadian high-quality education system allows children to benefit from it. The school system for children in Canada consists of twelve grades. So that children start from grade one and proceed to twelve spendings one year in each subsequent grade. After they complete grade 12 they receive their high school diploma. This allows them to continue their studies at college or university.

Having astudy permitgives you many privileges. One of them is that your spouse can also come to Canada and stay with you during your studies. As with your children, you can also include your spouse on your application for a study permit. After getting the approval of your study application with your accompanying spouse, then your spouse becomes eligible for anopen work permit. This means during your studies in Canada your spouse can work full-time, for any employer in Canada.

But please also note that in some cases including your children and spouse on your application might have some setbacks. So, if the immigration officer thinks that your primary intention is not to study in Canada then you may risk your application. However, in this case, you may apply to come to Canada independently. And later you may apply to bring your spouse and children to join you.

Can my spouse work in Canada while I study?

It is possible to apply for anopen work permit for spousesof international students in Canada during their studies in the country. This is a great advantage for anyone thinking about studying in Canada, since their spouses or common-law partners will be able to work in Canada for any employer as they choose, and wherever they want. This, in turn, helps open work permit holders to gain valuable Canadian work experience which can play a great role in becoming a Canadian permanent resident.

Canadian study permit holders are able to bring their spouses or common-law partners, and dependent children with them. However, please note that securing the Canadian study permit is not always possible and the decision on your application always rests with the immigration officer reviewing your case. Also, including your spouse in your study permit application may affect your case. Therefore, it is wise to make an application for your spouse to come to Canada once your study permit is confirmed.

Advantages of Canadian Study and Work Experience

Most of theCanadian immigration programswelcome both study and work experience in Canada. For example, The Federal Express Entry system, which handles Canada’s three economic immigration streams, is especially a favorite option for those who are international skilled workers with high language skills and educational experience. The system uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to award a significant score to candidates who had previous connections to Canada.

Apart from the Express Entry system, there is a number of Canadian provinces with their own criteria of eligibility. Those provinces have introduced their Provincial Nominee Programs which awards successful candidates an additional 600 CRS points. These points are added to the candidate’s Express Entry profile which creates a great opportunity to receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

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