Study Permit FAQs

1. Are study permits difficult to get? Whether it will be easy or difficult to obtain a study permit will depend a lot on your personal characteristics. Are you still reasonably young? Do you have a (positive) history of international travel? Do you have money saved up or do you have access to funds through close relatives? Did you previously do well in school? If you are able to answer yes to all of these questions, I suspect you have a reasonable chance of success. If you have answered no to one or more of the questions above, you may have some difficulty in being approved for a study permit.

2. Should I apply to a school before or after I get my study permit? With few exceptions, to receive a study permit, you will first have to show that you have been accepted into a program of study at an educational institution. As such, you should always get a letter of acceptance before you apply for a study permit.

3. If I don't get approved, can I appeal? In most cases, if you have received a rejection it is not worth appealing. Even in situations of rejections that are unfair or based on errors, it almost always makes more sense, in terms of time and money, to simply submit a new application. In submitting a new application, you should highlight why you in fact qualify for a study permit notwithstanding your past rejection. In many cases, submitting additional documents or highlighting key information that may have been overlooked will be enough to receive an approval the second time around.

4. Are there advantages to studying in Canada? Yes, if your goal is immigrating to Canada, there can be a number of advantages to studying in Canada. For starters, the federal Express Entry system and many of the Provincial Nominee Programs, including the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, give special consideration to people who have Canadian post-secondary education. Under Express Entry, you will obtain extra points if you have Canadian post-secondary education from a qualifying institution. Many of the Provincial Nominee Programs have separate streams set up for applicants with Canadian post-secondary education. Studying in Canada will also give you the opportunity to improve your English or French and to network with Canadian employers. A student who graduates from a qualifying Canadian post-secondary institution will also be eligible for a post-graduate work permit. For more on this topic, have a look at this YouTube video discussing the advantages of studying in Canada.

5. How much does it cost to study in Canada? A rule of thumb is that an international student can expect to pay at least $10,000 to $15,000 a year in tuition. In most cases, cost of living expenses will be in the range of $1,000 to $2,000 per month. While you can legally work part-time up to 20 hours a week under most study permit programs, you cannot count on this income in advance when applying for a study permit.

6. What should I plan on studying? At least 3 factors should determine what programs you apply to. The first factor is whether you have a genuine interest in that program of study. I would strongly recommend against applying to a program of study involving subject matter that you have no interest in. The second factor to consider is whether or not the program of study will lead towards a job in Canada. While employability in a field is not everything in deciding what to study (I was a philosophy major, after all), it is a big part of the equation when your goal is immigration. If you cannot obtain skilled employment after you graduate from your Canadian program, your chances of successfully immigrating to Canada are greatly reduced. In most cases, a position as a barista, for example, will not lead to immigration success. The third factor to consider is whether or not Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will consider your program of study to be a sensible one, given your characteristics and background. A study permit application for a program of study that strikes a visa officer as being implausible, given your particular background, is one that is likely to fail. This video provides more information on what you should consider in deciding what to study.