A study permit is an immigration document issued to temporary residents studying in Canada for more than six months. Study permit varies from study visas in the sense that, the former is issued upon your arrival in Canada by the visa offices abroad and authorizes you to stay. It is Usually, the duration of your program determines the duration of your permit. 

The latter is issued by the embassy and only authorizes passage into the country for study purposes. Your study permit is not your visa. You cannot be allowed passage with it into a country, yet your visa is not enough to allow you to stay and study in the country. The study permit is usually issued by the service officer at the country border using the permit reference number found in the letter of introduction from the visa office.

So For Canada, a study permit is synonymous with the American F-1 visa. The Canadian immigration process requires a lot of patience. Care should be taken during documentation to improve the chances of approval.

How to Apply For a Study Permit

Now that we have a grasp on what a study permit is all about, let’s talk about the steps to take to get one for your study abroad. These steps are similar to that of a US study visa save for a few requirements unique to Canada. Let’s visit some of them, shall we?

Step 1: Gather All Required Documents

To be eligible for a study permit, you need to get admitted into a designated learning institution (DLI). For students going to the province of Quebec, you will also need a Certificate d’ acceptation du Québec / Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) to be able to study in Quebec. 

There is a separate application for this and the CAQ needs to be uploaded with the online application. You will also need Proof of Funds (POF), an International passport valid for the duration of the permit, a police report, a Study Plan / Letter of Intent (LOI) and any other supporting documentation. Please make sure all the documents required for each section are scanned together as one document, that is the only way they can be uploaded in one section.

Step 2: Determine which Route- NSE or Regular

From the documents you have gathered, you should already know which application route to take. Some countries have special pathways such as the Nigerian Student Express (NSE) for Nigerians and the Student Direct Stream for China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Vietnam and the Philippines. 

If you qualify for the special pathways, you can go ahead and apply through them. If you do not, just submit your application the normal way.

Step 3: Create a GC Account, Fill Out The Online Application

When your documents are complete and you know which path to apply through, create a GC account and fill out the online application. Make sure to validate the forms that require validation and upload documents in the required section. When you’re done, crosscheck, submit and pay the processing and biometric fee.

Step 4: Book an Appointment for Biometrics

Once you submit the application, you will get a confirmation letter followed by a request for biometrics. You will need to book an appointment and get a confirmation before you can go to a VFS office for biometrics. Once the biometrics is done, it will reflect in your account.

Step 5: Go For Medicals

You can wait to receive a medical request or book an upfront medical at the designated clinics on IRCC’s website. In both cases, you will need to book an appointment. The link to the medical request is on the clinic’s website, you schedule an appointment, make payment and go with proof of payment and international passport on that day. 

In the event that the available dates are far away, you can contact them (email is preferable so you can attach proof of claim such as an admission letter) and request to be scheduled at the earliest appointment. If any day isn’t fully booked, they just add you there. 

When the medical is done, it takes 3-10 days to get to IRCC after which they will process it and it will reflect in your account.

Passport Request

When your application is approved, you will receive a request for your original passport. You pay for a two-way courier service so it can they can stamp it and return it.

Before starting your applications, make sure you go through the requirements and have passed the eligibility criteria. This will prevent heartbreaks during the application process. Check all the boxes needed to be checked for each step. Also, have in mind that incomplete documents won’t be processed and might cause delays in the process. After application, always try to update contact details in the form, if there is any change. 


Study applications don’t have to be hard as long as you follow due process and are patient enough. You have to be determined and prepared. Some people give up during the process due to poor information sources, but you don’t have to jump on that bandwagon. This is why I have gone through the stress to carefully explain the application process in this blog. I hope it helps. 

Lastly, if you need extra help or professional assistance in following up with these steps listed above, you can reach out to us at mailto:[email protected], for consultation.  Have a question or comment for me? Comment under this post, and I’ll most definitely reply. 

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