Guide to Studying in Canada (The Process)

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What You Need to Study in SFLS

To study in Canada you must have a student authorization and meet immigration requirements. Your student authorization is a form, which is issued to you by an immigration officer. This permits you to stay in Canada to take an academic, professional or vocational training course at an approved high school or university. If you wish to enroll in an ESL/FSL course, which is less than 3 months, you do not need a student authorization.

To complete your student authorization application you will need to know the cost of your education which include your tuition fees and books, medical insurance, return transportation costs and living costs for you and any dependents, while you are in Canada. Depending on your country of origin, you may also need a visitor visa. Your immigration officer will issue this visa to you.

Pick up Student Authorization Forms

Student authorization forms can be found at the Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Canadian Education Centre in your home country. After completing the forms and including all necessary documentation, submit them to your closest visa office. If you are a resident or citizen of the United States, a resident of St. Pierre/Miquelon or a dependent of an individual who is in Canada with an employment or student authorization, you may also submit your application at a Canadian port of entry.

Include All Necessary Documents

When you submit your student authorization application, it is imperative that you include all requested documentation. Failure to do so, will delay the authorization process. Necessary documentation includes:

Valid Proof of identity. Valid passports, travel document or identity document, guaranteeing re-entry to the country that issues it are all acceptable.

Proof of financial support. Documentation that demonstrates you will have enough money to cover your tuition fees, return transportation and living expenses during your stay in Canada. Proof may include: documentation proving a Canadian bank account, a bank draft in convertible currency, bank statements for the last four to six months, or receipt of payment of tuition and residence fees.

Medical Forms. If you are planning on staying in Canada longer than six months, you may need to have a medical examination in your country of origin. In some instances, you will need to have a medical exam even if your course is less than six months. If this is required, your visa officer will send you the necessary medical forms and instructions. Please note: processing your medical information, may delay your student authorization by several weeks.

Acceptance forms from approved educational institute - you will need to include a letter of acceptance signed by an authorized representative of the academic institution you are applying to.

For High School education this letter must include:

  • your name, date of birth and mailing address;
  • the name of the school;
  • the level of study;
  • duration of the course

Proof of Custodianship - If you are under the age of 19 years in British Columbia you will need to produce proof of custodianship in Canada. This will include a notarized declaration signed by your parent or legal guardian in your country of origin, AND a notarized declaration signed by your custodian in Canada. It must state that sufficient arrangements have been made for your custodian in Canada to act in place of your parent in the case of an emergency, such as when medical attention or intervention is necessary. For younger children, this declaration must assure that the custodian will also be responsible for the everyday care and supervision of the child.

Submit forms and fees to Visa Office

After you have finished completing your application forms and have included all necessary documents, submit your forms and your student authorization fee to your closest visa office. The visa officer will review your application to determine that you meet the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Act & Regulations and that you will only be in Canada temporarily. After the visa officer is satisfied that you meet these criteria, you will be issued a document to present to immigration officials when you arrive in Canada and your student authorization. The student authorization will be valid for the duration of your course. You will also need to make sure that your passport or travel document is valid for the same period of time.

Upon Arrival In SFLs

When you reach Canada, you must advise officials at the port of entry, that you are an international student and you need to pick up your student authorization. After you have shown the document issued to you by the Canadian visa office in your country, an immigration officer (not customs) will issue your student authorization. You may also need to produce a valid passport and visitor visa if necessary. The immigration officer will also decide whether you may enter Canada and how long you may stay. You must leave Canada by the date the officer sets or apply to an immigration office in Canada to extend your stay.