Of ‘Meese’ and Maple Leaves
“The US is our trading partner, our neighbour, our ally and our friend… and sometimes we’d like to give them such a smack!”
– Rick Mercer
Because of Canada’s proximity to the United States and its similarities to its neighbor, it ranks number 2 out of the top 10 major destinations for an education abroad.
And just like the good ol’ red-white-and-blue, this red maple leaf has several requirements in order for you to study in its academic institutions – or at the very least, be allowed to risk riding a barrel down the Niagara Falls.
First of all, to be allowed to study in a Canadian institution, one must have a student authorization/permit.
Issued by an immigration officer, the said authorization simply means that you are allowed to remain in Canada to take an academic, professional or vocational training course at an approved university, college or other institution.
(* taken from the international education site)
What are the basic requirements for student authorization?
You must satisfy the visa officer that you meet the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Act and Regulations and that you will be in Canada for a temporary stay.
You must also:
· satisfy a visa officer that you will be able to return to your country or be admitted to another country after your studies;
· have been unconditionally accepted by an approved educational institution;
· proof that you have enough money during your stay in Canada to pay for:
– tuition fees;
– living expenses for yourself and accompanying dependants; and
– return transportation for yourself and accompanying dependants;
· be law abiding and have no record of criminal activity (you may be asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate);
· not be a risk to the security of Canada;
· produce any additional documents requested by the visa officer to establish your admissibility;
· complete a medical examination, if required; and
· pay the fee.
When should I apply?
The time required to process an application to study in Canada may vary at different visa offices. You should apply as early as possible, and allow at least six months to plan and prepare for your move.
Note: Canadian universities suggest you apply for admission at least one year in advance of your planned arrival.
How do I apply for a student authorization?
Complete the application form, and include the fee and the documents listed below.
To complete your application you will need to know the cost of your education including tuition fees and books, medical insurance, return transportation costs and living costs for yourself and any dependants while in Canada. Living costs vary in each province.
What documents are required?
You are required to provide the following documents for yourself and any accompanying dependants:
1. Proof of acceptance
· for attendance at a university, college or technical institution, a letter from the educational institution to show:
– the name of the institution;
– confirmation of your acceptance and/or registration as a student;
– the course of study;
– the duration of the academic program; and
– the latest date you may register.
· for attendance at a primary or secondary school, a letter from the school board having jurisdiction for the school you are attending (or for private schools, a letter from the school itself), indicating:
– the name of the school;
– the level of study; and
– the duration of the course.
For attendance at an educational institution in Quebec, you will also require a “Certificat d’acceptation du Québec” (Quebec Certificate of Acceptance, or CAQ) issued by the Ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l’Immigration (MRCI)
2. Proof of identity
· a valid passport or travel document or identity document that guarantees re-entry to the country that issued it (citizens and permanent residents of the United States, St. Pierre and Miquelon, and Greenland do not require a passport but do require proof of status such as a national identity card or an alien registration card); and
· two recent passport size photos for each family member (the name and date of birth of the person should be written on the back of each photo).
3. Proof of financial support
· evidence that you can support yourself and accompanying dependants while you study in Canada. Such evidence may include:
– proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada;
– your bank statements for the past four months;
– a bank draft in convertible currency;
– proof of payment of tuition and residence fees;
– for those with a scholarship or those with a Canadian funded educational program:
proof of funding paid from within Canada;
· if foreign exchange control measures exist in your country, you must provide proof that you will be permitted by the exchange control authorities of your country to export funds for all of your expenses; and
· if additional documents are required, a visa officer will inform you.
Note: Children under 16 years of age who are travelling alone must have information (name, address, phone number) about the person or school who will be responsible for them. If the child is the subject of a custody order, proof of custody and the other parent’s consent must also be provided. Minors travelling without their parents require a letter of permission from the non-accompanying parent(s).
But, if you’re a student, wallowing in your tough, pressure-cooker-like studies and long lists of student debts, is there a way you could actually earn your keep and continue on with your scholastic pursuits?
Sit back and relax, while I fry up the next post on how to bring home the ‘Canadian’ bacon while holding a student permit.
For more information regarding Student Visas and Permits, visit :