Canada Student Visa
About the Study In Canada
Canada is the largest country in North America and consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories. It is located in the northern part of the continent, and the capital of Canada is Ottawa. It is the second-largest country in the world territory-wise. It is a popular destination for vocational and diploma courses.
The school systems in Canada are different from each other, depending on the province or territory. Education is available in both English and in French in most places, provided there are enough students in that area speaking the secondary language. High school is typical to grades nine to 12. In Quebec, high school ends in grade eleven and is followed by a program that prepares the student for university or a technical field called CEGEP.
Beyond this, students can attend either vocational schools or enter a university. At a university, they will first earn a Bachelor’s degree and can continue studies to receive a Master’s or a Doctorate degree. Vocational students will earn certificates and diplomas that will help improve their skills in various trades.
Popular student destinations:
Universities like McGill University, The University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, and Simon Fraser University are popular choices if you want to pursue a full-time academic degree. Most of the best colleges in the country are situated in cities like Toronto, British Columbia, Montreal. The number of Indian students who got a study in Canada permits in the year 2017 rose 58% to 83,410.
Canada is the preferred destination for vocational studies rather than degree courses as the former seems to provide more employment opportunities. Canada is a good choice for immigration as the country offers immense scope for work owing to its low population density.
The most popular higher study in Canada would be postgraduate diplomas in areas like Business Management, Media, Engineering, Computer Science, and Hospitality.
Safety in Canada:
Canada is one of the safest countries, with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Canada is a free country where people are, by and large, judged on their actions and character, rather than their appearance or country of origin.
Weather in Canada varies widely depending on where you are. Canada stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, covering five time zones.
Montreal Weather – The weather here in winter is cold and snowy. The cold in Montreal can be especially biting because of the wind-chill factor. Snowfall usually begins in November and continues through March. During winter months, the daytime temperatures are between -6℃ to -15℃. Summer temperatures range from 15℃ to 25℃.
Toronto Weather – The weather here in winter is milder than most Canadian cities, yet still cold and snowy. Summer temperatures range from 15℃ to 25℃. During winter months, the daytime temperatures are between -10℃ to 12℃.
Vancouver Weather – It remains wet, yet mild throughout the year. Summer in Vancouver is pleasantly warm with an average temperature of 22℃. Winters are wet, but snow is rare. The average daily temperatures in winters range from 3℃ to 7℃.
Canadians are known to be open-minded and proud of their multicultural and diverse population. Like any other country, Canadians have certain expectations of behavior. Here are a few tips:
Be on time for both professional and social occasions
Be respectful in conversation and behavior
Canadians believe in equality between genders, so show respect to the opposite sex
Don’t crack jokes or make comments that are insulting to people’s race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or appearance
Avoid personal questions about things like age, salary, marital status, relationships, and the cost of personal items until you are well-acquainted with people
Language problems: Living in a society where you have to use English or occasionally French on a daily basis can be challenging at first. Some language problems you may initially encounter when you arrive are:
You may not understand the local accent right away. Regional accents vary greatly in Canada. Give yourself time to get used to the local accent.
Canadians might not understand you right away. You will also have your own accent. Speak slowly and don’t be shy about asking others to speak slowly if you are having a hard time understanding them.
Canadians use a lot of slang in their speech and it might take you some time before you understand all of it.
Humour is an integral part of Canadian English.
This should be interpreted as a sign of friendliness, not disrespect.
Canadians use lots of abbreviations in their speech (for example, TA for Teachers Assistant or Poli Sci for Political Science). If you don’t understand something, simply ask the meaning of it.
Participation: It is necessary to participate in all activities during your classes. You may be asked to participate in class discussions, group work, or other activities.
It is very important to participate outside of the classroom as well. This will provide you with many opportunities to practice your English skills in many different settings.
Making friends: Try not to be shy. Remember that making friends is important to everyone in their first year of university. Saying “please” and “thank you” are important Canadian customs, and your relationships will improve if you express your gratitude and appreciation to those around you.
Indians living in Canada
Most Indians choose to live at larger urban centers like Toronto, and Vancouver, where more than 70% of Indians live. Smaller communities are also growing in Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal. Indians in Vancouver are from different parts of India. A place called Little India exists in Vancouver and a section of Gerrard Street (Toronto) in Toronto as well. So it will be great to Study in Canada.
Indians in Vancouver mainly live in the suburb of Surrey, or nearby Abbotsford, and also in other parts of Vancouver. Indian students are amongst the largest group of international students who got a study in Canada permits during the period of January to April 2018. With 29,000 Indian students were issued study permits during this period in comparison to 16,925 from China.
2. Student life
3. Admission process
These vary between study programs and levels. For each course, Indian students will need to meet a minimum English language requirement. Along with that a minimum academic record of 65% and above for humanities stream in class XII, and 70 – 80% and above for Science/Commerce stream in class XII will also be required. Foundations and Diploma programs are available for students who have secured below 60%. The student should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree program.
It is important to note that these numbers are just for reference purpose, the actual numbers may differ from university to university.
Documents Required to Study In Canada
- Attested copies of mark sheets of Standard X, XII, and the Bachelor’s degree (if applicable)
- At least, two academic reference letters from professors who have taught you most recently
- If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation from the employer/manager who knows you well and can comment on your professional abilities
- Statement of Purpose (SOP)
- Photocopied score reports of GMAT / IELTS / TOEFL
- Portfolio (in case of Students applying for art and design courses & architecture programs)
- Others (achievements/certificates at the state and national level and extracurricular activities)
- Proof of funds
- Medical Tests
Most Canadian colleges accept online applications. You will have to visit each college’s website to apply. In most cases, you will have to make an account on the college website to provide your basic information, submit the scanned version of your documents, and pay application fees. You will be informed about the application process and stages through this account.
Please refer to the website of the colleges of your choice to know the process of applying as it may differ from institute to institute.
Application fee: All colleges require that you pay an application fee while applying. The fee amount will differ depending upon the college and course being applied to, so check with individual colleges about their application fee.
Steps: The common steps to applying for admission are as follow –
- Search for colleges and courses
- Contact schools and visit websites for information
- Narrow down your list of schools
- Take the entrance exams like SAT, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS
- Write SOPs and ask for LORs
- Apply to the colleges which fit your interests
- Appear for video interviews of the colleges that shortlisted you
- If accepted, apply for a student visa
SOP: A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in the first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well.
Essay: Essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school.
LOR: A letter of recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter written by a third party describing the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the prospective student to recommend him to the college in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. The third party could be a professor, direct manager etc.
The session starts mainly in September and January but some institutions have intakes in May, July, and October as well. The Major intake season for the top courses in Canada is September, while the minor intake season is January, which is meant for a fairly small number of courses.
You should start your admission process around six months before the application deadline. Typically most universities have three deadlines, from October to January. It is up to the convenience of the students, which deadline to aim for. You should be done with your language and aptitude tests by three months before the deadline. The last three months should be dedicated to filling out the application form properly.
It is essential to ensure that the complete application process’ along with appearing for interviews and visa application procedure should be complete by June or July for the September intake.
The main intake season for top colleges and courses is the fall season i.e. September. It depends on what course you are looking to pursue because many courses don’t have the January intakes.
If you are looking to get admission into vocational courses, then some courses may have admissions open in January and perhaps even May or July.
5. Cost of living
The cost of living depends heavily on what part of Canada will you be living in along with how much you will socialize. Some of the basic elements for living as an international student in Canada are:
- Accommodation rent ( on campus or off campus )
- Groceries and food
- Utilities like electricity, water, gas, Internet
- Phone bills
- Text and reference books
- Airfare for traveling back to India
Other elements which may differ from person to person would be:
- Dining out
- Travel and Vacation
- Car rent and Car insurance
- Cable TV connection
The tuition fee varies according to different universities, courses, and the city. The tuition expenses in Canada might be up to CDN $10,000 – $30,000 per year for an undergraduate course. And if you are thinking of applying to a postgraduate course, the cost would be $15,000 – $55,000 per year approximately.
On an average, a student spends approximately CDN $10,000-$12,000 per year. But the expenses also depend on the place where a student stays. If a student stays in a metropolitan city like Toronto or Vancouver the expenses could go up to CDN $15,000 in comparison to a student studying in the suburbs where the expenses would be around CDN $8,000-$10,000 each year.
Insurance Policy for international students is mandatory, as students have to stay abroad for a long period of time. Before getting an insurance policy make sure that it covers medical expenses, personal accident, dental treatment, study interruption, passport loss etc. Insurance is basically cashless so a student does not need to pay money at the time of hospitalization.
Merit and need-based fee waivers are awarded to international students. Candidate with strong academics, good performance in standardized exams and extracurricular achievements would be eligible for scholarship awards and financial assistance.
To benefit from these opportunities, one has to make sure to send all the required documents by particular deadlines. In addition to this, the presentation of the application is also important because one is judged by the image one projects.
Documents required: The documents usually needed for a scholarship application are as follow, although the requirements may differ:
- Academic records and photocopies
- A recent CV
- A letter of intent, which acts as a cover page
- Certificate of language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS scores)
- Letters of Reference (LOR)
Student eligibility criteria: The first thing is to be aware of whether you are eligible to apply for the loan or not. The general eligibility criteria that are followed by all the banks are:
- You should be an Indian national
- You must have a strong academic record
- You must be seeking admission to a professional, technical or another course of studies. Most banks maintain that the selected course should be job oriented.
- You must have secured admission to foreign University Institutions.
- You must be above the age of 18 years or else your parents can avail the loan.
Eligibility of course: You may not get a loan on every course. Here are the kinds of courses that qualify for the education loan:
- For Graduation: Job oriented professional or technical courses offered by reputed universities
- For Post Graduation: MCA, MBA, MS or even diplomas
- These courses could be from foreign universities or institutes approved by the state and central government.
If your total fee is Rs 10 lakh, the bank may offer to give a loan of 80% of the amount and you will have to put in the balance 20%. This is called the margin amount. Generally, a maximum of INR 20 Lakhs can be availed at a nominal interest rate.
Students can avail loans for a higher amount as well, however, they need to pay an additional processing fee for availing a loan amount higher than INR 20 Lakhs. Also, if the loan amount is more than INR 7.5 Lakhs, then borrowers need to furnish collateral as security.
You will have to provide the acceptance letter sent by the University reflecting that you have been selected for the course and the schedule of fees. You will also need to show the mark sheet of the last qualifying examination to show your academic record.
All banks have different requirement for documentation, so you need to confirm with the bank first.
Repayment:Repayment starts only after the course period. If the student got employed within one year after completion of the course, the repayment should start immediately after the expiry of one month from the date of employment.
If you do not secure a job within a year of completing the course, then repayment starts irrespective of whether or not you are employed. The loan is generally to be repaid in 5-7 years after commencement of repayment.
If the student is not able to complete the course within the scheduled time, an extension of time for completion, of course, may be permitted for a maximum period of two years. Generally, you will get up to a maximum number of 10 years to repay the loan.
You should apply for the student visa after you get the college acceptance letter. You should begin with the visa process around June if aiming at the September intake. The following are the documents needed to apply.
1. Proof of acceptance: If you plan to attend any school (primary or secondary), college, university, or other educational institution in Canada, the school must complete and send you a letter of acceptance. You must include the original letter with your study in Canada permit application.
2. Proof of financial support: You must prove that you can support yourself and the family members who accompany you while you are in Canada.
Note: Additional documentation may be required.
During the personal interview, additional documents may be requested by the interviewer. These may be documents to prove evidence of academic or financial status. These may include:
1. Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
2. Scores from tests, such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT
3. Your intent to depart from Canada upon completion of the study in Canada
4. How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs
There are several steps to apply for a visa.
Check the processing times: The visa application cycle might take anywhere from 3-4 weeks. It is advisable to go through the Canadian consulate website to know the approximate time taken to process the student visa. Please note that the time shown is not a guarantee and is just an estimate.
Determine how you will apply. There are two ways to apply:
1. Apply online To apply online you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment. From 31st-December-2018 students from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will be required to provide a finger scan at the regional Visa Application Centre (VAC).
2. Apply in person Download the application kit and read the instruction guide. The instruction guide contains important information about study in Canada permits and instructions to help you complete your application. Read the guide carefully and use the document checklist.
Pay the processing fee: Refer to the fee schedule for the cost to apply for a study in Canada permit and how to pay. The processing fee is non-refundable in all cases. For biometrics, there will be more than 130 VACs in over 90 countries and all VACs will be equipped to collect biometric information (fingerprints and photographs). Indian students need to contact the local VFS office to apply for the visa.
If your spouse/common-law partner and/or children are accompanying you and you are applying for temporary resident visas, work permits, or study in Canada permits for them, then you will need to pay the appropriate processing fees for them.
Submit your application and supporting documents – Since you need to give your biometrics, you can’t mail in your application. You’ll either have to apply online or submit your application in person at a VFS office. In either case, you will need to go to a VAC to give your biometrics.
The visa application process to Canada requires a compulsory medical test for Indian applicants. Your own doctor cannot perform the medical exam. You must see a doctor on the list of panel physicians, which is provided on the official Canada immigration website http://www.cic.gc.ca/. Once your exam has been completed, the physician will send the results to CIC. You can choose to get the test done either before or after submitting the visa application.
The eligibility criteria to get a Post Study Work Permit are as follows:
- You should have pursued a full-time course in Canada.
- The length of your course should have been more than 8 months.
- You must have graduated from either a public post-secondary institution or a private post-secondary institution or
- You should apply for a work permit within three months (90 days) after receiving an official letter saying that you have successfully completed your education from the Institute.
- You will be given the work permit only if you have a student visa.
- You cannot get a work permit longer than your course duration. If your course duration is eight months, then you will receive a work permit for eight months.
Visa for spouse
Spouses can accompany full-time students on a Dependent visa. You only need to show that adequate funds are available for their support. Spouses can also work full time if his/her stay is for a year or more.
7. Checklist before departure
- Book airline tickets
- Buy travel and health insurance
- YArrange accommodation in Canada
- Arrange transportation to/from the airport to home in Canada
- Arrange your banking – consider buying traveler’s cheques
- Check baggage and customs limitations
- Clear all paperwork with your home educational institution
Get your documents in order and make photocopies to store in your baggage and keep at home, including:
- Airline tickets
- Travel insurance certificate
- Letter of Acceptance by the educational institution
- Key addresses and phone numbers
- A bank statement showing proof of funds
- Prescriptions for any medication you are carrying
- Traveler’s cheques-if applicable
- Medical and immunization records
- Prescriptions for any medication you are carrying
8. Once you land
Homesickness is a predictable problem faced by most students at one point or another. It may occur at the beginning or even well into your year. Homesickness will pass. Be patient. Give it at least two weeks. If you are feeling sad, talk about it and share your feelings with your friends. Do not hide in your room; if you do, the homesickness will only worsen. Find your counselor on staff with whom you can talk about homesickness or other problems.
Homesickness might be made worse by frequent, long telephone calls home. Most homesick students feel more homesick after a call home than they did before they picked up the phone. Try to limit yourself to one call home every week. The sooner you integrate into the university experience, the sooner your homesickness will pass.
Your first few weeks in Canada
The first weeks of the first semester are a busy time for every new international (and Canadian) student during which everyone is learning about the campus and classes while making new friends. You should take the time to get to know your University:
- Explore campus to familiarize yourself with where you need to go when registering for your program, attending classes, getting your meals and visiting new friends.
- Join the International Student Club.
- Find out what learning resources and workshops are available for international students.
- Get your student identification card: it will be your passport around the campus. (if applicable)
- Take advantage of the student services on offer: use the fitness facilities at the recreation center, find the student bookstore and browse in the library.
Learn basic cooking
Cooking for yourself will save you money. Indian food is expensive in Canada. Making it on your own will satisfy your urge to eat ‘your food’ during moments of ‘homesickness’. Indian spices are not commonly available in smaller cities, but you may find shops on campus where you can get ingredients used in most Indian cuisine.
9. Post-study options
Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)
The PGWPP allows post-graduate students who have studied at a participating Canadian university/college to gain Canadian work experience. Work experience gained through the PGWPP will ultimately help students qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Duration – A post-graduation work permit can’t be valid for longer than the student’s course of study in Canada. For example, if your post-graduate course was of two years’ duration, then the work permit granted to you will also be for two years.
The study program must be a minimum of eight months in length.
Applying for Post-Graduation Work Permit
- You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from your university/college indicating that you have completed and passed your academic program.
- Get the application package, and fill the forms you need to fill.
- You must pay the Open Work Permit Holder fee and the Standard Work Permit fee in Canadian currency, either online or manually.
- The application kit will contain the mailing address where you need to send your application.
Indian students are used to the concept of campus placements and on-campus recruitment for getting jobs. There is no concept of placement study in Canada. Most Canadian universities have a cell called a Career Services Center, which helps you get jobs and helps you prepare for interviews. The on-campus recruitment is always driven by student interest. Companies that recruit through the University do not offer a job directly. What they offer is an internship or co-op. Companies like to see your work for a few months before they hire you full time.
Co-Op Education Program
In a Cooperative program, a period of study in Canada alternates with work. The Student Co-op program is a formally structured program where the intent is to recruit students, while still in school, to fill permanent positions upon graduation. Co-op programs are generally undertaken at colleges and universities. Indian students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.
Eligibility criteria: To be eligible for a work permit, you must meet the following conditions:
- You must have a valid study visa
- Your intended employment must be related to your program of study in Canada
- Your employment must be part of your academic program, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.