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Applying for a Canada Student Visa

Indian students require a ‘Study Permit’ as well as a ‘Temporary Residence Visa’ to study in Canada. The Study Permit allows you to study in Canada whereas the Visa only allows you to enter Canada.

You will apply for the Study Permit and the Temporary Resident Visa together. The application for the TRV will be included in the application package for the Study Permit.

It is ideal to apply for a Canadian Study Permit as soon as you receive your ‘Letter of Acceptance’ from a university in Canada. The typical duration that it takes to process a Canadian study permit application in India is around 3 – 4 weeks.

However, it is advisable to apply as early as possible so as to avoid delays as well as have enough time to re – apply in case your application is rejected.

You will need a valid Indian passport to apply for a Canadian study permit.

What is a ‘Study Permit’?

A ‘Study Permit’ is a document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to individuals who are neither permanent residents nor citizens of Canada so that they can study at an academic institution in Canada. You will require a study permit to study in Canada if the duration of your program is more than 6 months.

Through a study permit, you will generally be allowed to stay in Canada till the end of your program as it is generally valid for the total duration of one’s course/program. However, if you are granted a study permit which is valid for less than the total program duration, then you will need to apply for an extension of your study permit while in Canada.

Even though you can choose to work on – campus or off – campus, there will be strict restrictions with regards to work while you are in Canada as an international student on a study permit. You will require an additional work permit to be able to work off – campus in Canada. Also, you will not be allowed to work for more than 20 hours per week (on – campus or off – campus) under most circumstances.

What is a ‘Temporary Resident Visa’ or TRV?

The study permit is not the only document you require to enter Canada as an International student. Applicants from some countries, including India, also require a ‘Temporary Resident Visa’ to enter Canada.

A Temporary Resident Visa or Entry – Visa is an official document issued by a Canadian immigration officer which proves that you have met the requirements for entry into Canada as a temporary resident.

Unlike the study permit which allows you to study in Canada, the purpose of a TRV is only to allow you to enter Canada.

A Temporary Resident Visa or TRV is of 2 types: single entry visa and multiple entry visa. Through a single entry visa, you will only be allowed to enter Canada once and will need a new TRV to re – enter Canada in case you decide to travel out of the country. On the other hand, through a multiple entry visa, you will be allowed to travel in and out of Canada without applying for a new visa.

Under most circumstances, you will not need to apply for a TRV separately. It will be issued to you at the same time as the study permit for no additional fee. However, keep in mind that you are not allowed to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa more than 6 months before your planned entry into Canada.

Please note that you will need to enter Canada before the expiry date of your TRV under all circumstances.

It is advisable to keep a valid TRV when in Canada, though this is not necessary. A valid multiple – entry TRV will enable you to travel in and out of Canada without having to apply for a visa again.

How to apply for the Study Permit and the Temporary Resident Visa?

First of all, you will need a ‘Letter of Acceptance’ from your university to apply for a Canadian Study Permit.

You can choose to apply for the Study Permit online through the CIC website ( Alternatively, you can choose to make a paper application by applying through post or in person at a ‘Visa Application Center’ or VAC near you ( It is ideal to apply for a study permit as soon as you receive your ‘Letter of Acceptance’.

A ‘Letter of Acceptance’ is a document issued to you by your university stating that you have enrolled for their program. It serves as proof that you’ve been accepted as a student by a Canadian university. It is sent to you by the university once you accept their admission offer after meeting the conditions (if any) and make the necessary tuition fee deposit.

To make a paper application, you will first need to download the ‘application package’ from the CIC website ( or procure the package from a VAC. The application package consists of an instruction guide as well as the forms (including the TRV application form) that you are required to fill and submit.

Use the document checklist given in the application package to see the documents you are required to arrange in order to apply for the Study Permit.

The documents you would be required to submit include a valid passport and a Letter of Acceptance.

You would be required to submit proof of your financial ability to fund your tuition, living and travel expenses in Canada for up to a year. As per the Canadian Government, you will need to show your bank records to prove that you have funds to pay your tuition fee for up to a year (varies from university to university and program to program) as well as have an additional 10,000 Canadian Dollars so as to fund your living expense for up to a year. In case you plan to study at an institution situated in Quebec, then you will need to show a total of 11,000 Canadian Dollars in your bank account as living expenses. Under most circumstances, you will need to show that these funds have been in your bank account for a minimum period of 6 months prior to your application.

Under most circumstances, you will also need to undergo a medical examination by a ‘panel physician’ listed on the CIC website (

Additionally, you will be required to provide a ‘Police Certificate’ so as to prove that you have no past criminal record. To get a Police Certificate in any other district apart from Punjab, you can contact the local Senior Superintendent of Police/ Superintendent of Police/ Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Police, the Additional Commissioner of Police, the Station House Officer or the Regional Passport Office. In case you live in Punjab, then only the Senior Superintendent of Police or the Regional Passport Office may provide you with a Police Clearance Certificate.

Once you’ve arranged the documents, you will need to fill the forms in the application package and follow the instructions at different steps:

‘Application for Study Permit Made Outside of Canada’ (IMM 1294), ‘Document Checklist’ (IMM 5483), ‘Family Information’ (IMM 5645) and ‘Schedule 1 ─ Application for Temporary Resident Visa’ (IMM 5257 – Schedule 1).

Once you submit your application, it will be reviewed and assessed by an officer. You will be contacted in case you need to appear for an interview.

If your application is approved, you will also receive a ‘Letter of Introduction’ confirming the approval of your application and the TRV. Keep in mind that the Letter of Introduction is not your study permit.

You will need to show this ‘Letter of Introduction’ and the Temporary Resident Visa or TRV to an officer at the port of entry once you arrive in Canada. The officer will determine whether you’re eligible to enter Canada and what should be the length of your stay. This is when you will be issued a Study Permit.

How to maintain your Study Permit?

Your Study Permit will include conditions with regards to on and off – campus work, travel within and outside of Canada, the institution at which you can study and the date by which you should leave Canada.

Make sure that you follow and maintain the conditions mentioned on your Study Permit under all circumstances. Failing to do so can result in your Study Permit getting cancelled and you being deported back to India. 

Study in Canada