May 27, 2024

A Useful Guide: How to apply for a Canadian Study Permit online by yourself.

Congratulations on the success of your admission to study in Canada, you are a step closer! And it is important to submit a strong, well-prepared, and well-presented visa application….. So, this post is for you!

If your proposed program of study is longer than 6 months, you will likely need a study permit to study in Canada. But to confirm if you need a study permit, you can do a quick assessment here. After this assessment, check all the documents you need for a study permit here.

You also have to submit your application online and to do this, you need to create an IRCC secure account. You can create this account here.

Except you have a Canadian Bank Account, the “GCKey” account is what you need. Create one and keep your login details.

As I have said in the past, there are 3 key things to keep in mind when applying for a Canadian Study Permit:

  • Purpose of study/program
  • Availability of funds (without having to work in Canada)
  • Strong proof of home ties (that will compel you to leave Canada after your study)

The quality of your documents and how they are presented to show you meet the visa requirements will determine the success of your application.

-Why is this program important & of value to you?

-How will you fund the program?

-Do you have strong/compelling ties outside Canada?

Now login to the GCKey account you created and begin your application. Once you are in your account, you should see a landing page. Look for where it says “Apply to come to Canada” like the image below… click on that.

If you do things the right way, and answer the necessary questionnaires correctly, your final visa application portal should be up and you will see the list of application forms and other required documents. These documents are tailored to you based on the answers you provided.

One important thing to note is that the list of documents is tailored to you based on your answers to the application questionnaire, so this is not a general list of documents for everyone. However, there are some common documents you will need.

Some of the common documents are:

Application Forms:

– Application for Study Permit Made Outside of Canada. (IMM 1294)

– Family Information Form (IMM 5645 or IMM 5707)

– Schedule 1 – Application for a Temporary Resident Visa made outside Canada. (Optional but recommended)

Other documents are:

– Letter of (admission) Acceptance

– Proof of Means of Financial Support

– Digital Photo

– Passport (International Passport)

– Request for Medical Exam (or Proof of upfront medical exam)

– Client information (Letter of Explanation / Statement of Purpose)

The Application Forms:

– Fill the forms as accurately as possible.

– Do not provide false information

– Do not withhold important information

– You do not need to print the forms to sign (just put your name and/or the date below)

– Validate the forms before saving and uploading them back on the placeholder for your document.

The Schedule 1 – (Application for a Temporary Resident Visa) form says optional, but it is a very important form. Fill and submit it as well.

On the Family Information Form, list your siblings & required family members (even if you are not on talking terms with them now), e get why!

Proof of Means of Financial Support

The key thing to note for the proof of means of financial support is to ensure you, and/or all your sponsors have enough to support you and still take care of other financial commitments they have. Therefore, the advisable thing is to show that you have excess funds to defray the cost of your study in Canada.

The total funds you need is the total of your tuition (usually for the first year alone even if your program is more than one year), plus your living expenses in the first year, and other additional expenses (like flight fee).

  • For instance, if the total funds you need (for tuition + living expenses + other expenses for yourself or family members accompanying you) is $40,000, show that you still have something extra.
  • If you have a scholarship but your scholarship will NOT cover flights and other things, show extra funds for these expenses too.
  • If you have family members following you, you have to show that you have enough to cover their living expenses in the first year, plus your own tuition, living expenses, and other fees.
  • For the amount of money required for your living expenses and documents to show, you can check the IRCC Website here

After showing that you have enough funds, and funds in excess to cover your fees (tuition, living expenses, other expenses, etc) in the first year, prepare and present other additional assets and sources of income to show where your fees in the second year (and other subsequent years) will come from without having to work in Canada.

While the visa office is typically concerned about seeing the raw funds you have for the first year of your program, they also want to know that you or your sponsors have genuine sources of income to show that you will not be stranded in Canada in subsequent years.

Some of the ways you can show these sources of income are through your personal and economic assets such as:

  • Proof of income and investments for the applicant or sponsor(s)
  • Property documents with the property valuation or proof of ownership
  • Proof of business ownership for the applicant or sponsor(s)
  • Employee payslips, proof of employment, proof of annual earnings provided by the employer of the applicant or sponsor(s)
  • Letter of employment provided by the employer of the applicant or sponsor(s)
  • Other sources of income or economic assets that can be easily disposed to raise funds (rental properties, fixed investment, pension funds, etc)

Add as much as possible of these documents to your statement of account or other proof of funds you are presenting and provide them as part of your proof of funds.

Also, label them and itemize them in your proof of funds cover so that the visa officers can see them clearly, and know how to identify the extra documents in your proof of funds document.

Preferred sponsors are usually:

  • Educational Institutions (i.e scholarships)
  • You or your spouse
  • Your Parents/Partners
  • Direct Siblings
  • Employers
  • Other Close Relatives (who can demonstrate that they are genuinely supporting you)
  • Study Loans from reputable organizations

Your sponsors could also be from multiple sources. For instance, you may have

  • Partial scholarship + support from parents
  • Scholarship + siblings
  • Two of your siblings sponsoring you, etc

Your sponsor should not have just the precise amount you need for your tuition and living expenses in their account, they should have that amount in excess of what you need. This is important because it will not be convincing enough to say all they have is what they are giving to you, they have other financial commitments too even if they are your parents.

Digital Photo

The Digital Photo specification is available here.

International Passport

As one document, scan the data page of your current passport, stamped pages/visas, and stamped pages of the previous passport(s) to show your travel history (if you have that).

Medical Exam

You may decide to do an upfront medical exam or wait until you are asked by IRCC to go for one. I recommend doing an upfront medical to reduce the processing times for your application.

If you are a Nigerian applicant and you are using the Nigerian Student Express (NSE) route, the upfront medical exam is compulsory for you.

Other categories of applicants can also do the upfront medical or wait for the IRCC to request for the medical before it is done. Either way, doing an upfront medical or NOT doing one will not affect your application. If your application proceeds to the stage where a medical examination is required, IRCC will send you a letter instructing you to get one done.

If you decide to do the upfront medical examination after your application has been submitted, you can do one and send in your eMedical sheet to IRCC using the IRCC Webform here.

To find where to do the medical exam, visit the IRCC website here.

The Nigerian Student Express (NSE)

If you are looking for information on what the Nigerian Student Express (NSE) is, you can check here

As of today, there is no separate application process for NSE, but you may be contacted after submitting your application to provide some documents for the NSE.

If you are found eligible for the application route. (Please note that using the NSE for your application is optional and not compulsory).

Client Information/Letter of Explanation/SOP/Study Plan

In your application portal, this says optional…Omo na “trap” ooo. This is where to provide additional documents in support of your application. Your Letter of Explanation/SOP/Study Plan, police report, certificates/transcript, resume, etc should go here as a single document.

There are also some things to address in your Study Permit Letter of Explanation/SOP/Study Plan.

First, it must be a clear, concise, and coherent summary of your proposed study plan and any additional clarification/information.

Organize the letter well and use sub-sections to make it presentable.

The Letter of Explanation is what some people also call a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for visa applications.

Some things to address in this letter are:

– An introduction of who you are

– Why the program and the school you applied to?

– Why Canada?

– How the program you are coming to Canada to do will be beneficial to you and your country upon return home

– Clarification on the proof of means of financial support

– Home Ties, Travel Experience, and previous professional experience

For more information on your Letter of Explanation/SOP check the video I did with Mrs O here and the guide here for useful tips.

Keep in mind that every document placeholder in your application will only accept a doc size of 4MB. This is why you should present only relevant documents that will support the success of your application.

For tips on how to resize your documents, check my post on how to resize your documents here.

The process of getting a Canadian study permit is competitive. The quality of all the documents above will determine the success of your application. The refusal rate is high for many reasons, see some of the reasons here.

Canada needs people, but Canada will not accept just anyone. In the article above, you will see some of the refusal reasons that were highlighted, do your best to avoid them.

Information for applicants with a previous refusal

If you have a previous study permit refusal or a refusal of any type of visa in Canada, it is not the end of your dream of coming to Canada. Each new application is treated on its own merit and a previous refusal does not mean you will be automatically refused again.

Do your best to address the concerns raised in your previous refusal, and if you need practical guidance on things to do after a Canadian Visa refusal, check the guidance in the post here.

Importantly, submit your Canadian study permit application as early as possible, but also submit a very strong, well-prepared, and well-presented application.

I am rooting for you!

Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

– Yes, you will pay the application fees online

– Police certificate is optional, but try to get it if you can

– Yes, get a letter of sponsorship and/or affidavit of support from your sponsor(s)

– Yes, a letter from your employer is of help to show your home ties

Other FAQs:

– Yes, you can add other assets (after showing the required funds in your bank statement)

– Even if you have a full scholarship, you may still need to show additional funds for the following reasons

  • The scholarship payment may not cover other expenses you need to show funds for (i.e your flight, personal device, family members accompanying you, etc)
  • The scholarship payment may start a few weeks/months after arriving in Canada (so it is advisable to show that you have some funds to settle in before payment starts).

– Family and employment are also good for home ties. However, some applicants may be able to apply with their families if they meet certain requirements.

  • i.e. they have other ties to their countries that are strong
  • they are able to show compelling reasons for why their family members must apply with them
  • they have enough funds and assets to show they can cater to all the family members accompanying them

– Yes, you can submit a study permit application while under consideration for permanent residence (it is called Dual Intent). You can read more about that here.

– Your biometric is required after submitting your application. (You don’t need another biometric if you’ve done one for an application within the last 10 years).

– Yes, Canada will verify all the documents submitted, and any misrepresentation is a 5-year visa ban.

The processing time for your application will depend on so many things. Every application is unique.

To see the average processing times by country, check the IRCC website here.

Video to Watch:

If you are looking for more comprehensive information on the questions above, I did a Question and Answer session with Mrs. O on YouTube, and we answered lots of the questions many applicants have on the study permit process.

  • If you are considering applying with your family, I also recommend you check this video for information on what to consider before submitting a family application.
  • You will find the YouTube Video here.

So many applicants have used the video and other resources here to prepare a successful application, and I know you can do it too!

I wish you all the best in your application and I look forward to welcoming you to Canada.

If you have questions on Career & Personal Development, Education Decisions, Global Opportunities, Building a Personal Brand, or related discussions, and want to reach out to us, click here.

NB: The posts and information on this website are not legal advice.

© Olu of Canada

54 thoughts on “Step-by-Step Guide: Canada Study Visa Application

  1. Good evening sir,
    I find this link very useful, however I would like to get some clarifications on my admission offer letter, it stated that i should apply for coop work permit along side my student permit because the course would require some field works. So how do i go about that. I wait for your reply , thanks .

    1. You can submit your co-op permit application together with your study permit, or apply separately for co-op permit after arriving in Canada. The co-op permit application is free.

      1. Hi, nice information you have here. I am planning to sponsor my wife for a 2yrs diploma course in Canada. I would use this your information for her visa application. Nice job

  2. Good day Mr Olu.
    I did ielts General in Dec, 2020(expired.) And NSE requested for ielts academy.
    Please, advise on what to do.

    1. You can use any of General or academic IELTS for NSE, but it must be valid. If your ielts has expired you can’t use if for NSE. So, you either have to do a new one, or apply for a visa without using NSE.

      1. oh oh wow! So I’m able to use my ielts which would expire this December for my study visa application for January 2023 intake?

    2. Thanks for this, pls I have questions, I have a 15 &12 yr old, do I apply for study permit for them or visitor visa when applying for my study permit.
      Do they require medicals or its only adults that do upfront medicals.

  3. Hello sir
    I’m really happy going through this guide
    Now my question is my study visa is declined some month ago and the only thing I had from the reason why they refuse to give me is due to personal asset
    What did you think I can do to it pls I still have my admission to the sch while I already pay for a year tuition fee

    1. I am also interested in your last question about your wife’s proof of financial capacity

  4. Can I apply from the UK as a Nigerian?
    If yes,
    Can I submit police report issued by the UK authorities or I have to get one from Nigeria?
    Thanks in anticipation of your response

  5. Good day sir,

    Please, how can we do NSE with a foreign (US) bank account as MyBankStatement is only for Nigerian banks? Thank you sir.

  6. Please i have enough funds to pay for my tuition and living expenses, but is advisable to add my biological brothers bank statement to show that i can be assisted should incase I need support. Also can i add my wife’s pay slip or anything that shows that she is employed and can survive with our two kids whiles am away studying?.

  7. Hello, I got admitted to a University in Canada on an undergraduate course, I happen to have applied for a students visa but I was charged $420 yet on the website it shows $150 for permit plus 85 for biometrics making it $235 in total.

    It shows that the purchase was done to POS IMMIGRATION CA

    Did I make any mistake? Because the figure Charged doesn’t match with the one the website

  8. Good day sir,
    I am preparing to apply for my study permit and I intend to go with my 2kids aged 5 & 6. I am aware that they are dependents but I am confused on how to apply for them,do I apply for study permit for them? Does my application cover for study permit cover and I only get to pay for biometrics for them?please I await your reply.

  9. Good afternoon sir, got admitted to a school in Canada recently, but I want to know if it’s compulsory and mandatory to write English proficiency test, will it affect my chances being given visa. Thanks

  10. I am applying for canada study permit without my wife and two kids. Do I still have to show proof of funds to cover them?

    If I am showing proof of funds for myself, after showing proof of funds to cover the tuition, living expenses, plane fare, and miscellaneous, is it okay to show extra funds of Can$5,000? Since I am sponsoring myself?

    Do I still have to show proof of funds at at port of entry, of the same amount I used to apply for the study permit. or I can show more or less?

    1. Your proof of funds is for you the applicant since they are not accompanying you. But if you are the primary financial supporter for the entire family, it may be helpful to show how other dependents will still be able to cater to their financial expenses without your presence, or demonstrate how your absence will not impact that for them.

  11. Hello Olu, Thank you so much for this detailed information,please in 2014 I was banned, àn agent used a job offer letter for me he heard used for so many applicant unfortunately I didnt know. I believe the banned is off now?now am married and some of my information as changed eg my data of birth year and day wasnt correct, but now it as been corrected by immigration and I have affidavit ,àlso I added my full name from adura to aduragbemi to the new passport.
    Now my wife want to apply for her Master and we want to go with our 2kids with the changed information on my previous international passport what do I do because they have previous information and also do I need to do a biometric again..please I need your advice

  12. Hello Mr Olu this is very helpful. Thank you
    My sponsor is my brother who is in Canada. I have read of some places for list of bank statements from banks in Nigeria. Does his bank statement need to be from a Nigerian bank?

  13. Hello Mr Olu for the info.

    Please if someone had applied for me in the past and I got denied the Visa. Do I need to create a new account to apply again? Or must I use the former account (The agent is telling stories about releasing the login).

    Please I need help on this for my brother.

    1. You can create another account to apply, but get the refusal details and previous info like your uci number (you will need to state that in your new application)

  14. Thank you for sharing these important information. Please my question is, the VAC requires proof of funds for one year tution plus $10,000 for living expenses. However, I have noticed that $10,000 is not enough to cover one year living expenses for master student in Canada. What should I do about it?

  15. Good day sir, please where will i submit the Schedule 1 form, because on the website i only have space for
    international passport
    letter of acceptance
    proof of funds
    identity documents
    additional documents
    consent forms

      1. Thank you so much Mr Olu for your good work. My question is which one of the application portal is better/faster? Should I use the old or new portal?

  16. Hello Mr Olu, thank you so much for this detailed article.
    I have two questions, I’m looking at a sch in Saskatchewan but the campuses are in Moose jaw and Regina. As a newbie with no family in any of the cities. Which would you suggest I pick and why pls?
    My second question is that upon application, and admission offered, when do you have to start gathering the proof of funds. Let’s say I get an admission in a months time. Am I supposed to have had the proof of funds 4 months before getting that admission before I can apply for a study permit?

    As I know study permit is advisable to apply as soon as possible and also that proof of funds is a required document in the application.

    1. Hi, I will pick Regina because it’s the capital of the province and has more opportunities. For funds, you need a statement of account of 4-6 months (with the money kept for a significant period within those months) before you apply for a study permit.

  17. Hello Mr Olu,
    Please I need your advice. My study permit got refused based on the Visa offer is not satisfied that i will leave Canada based on ‘assets and financial situation are insufficient to support the stated purpose of travel for myself’ I am 28 years old and my brother who is in Canada is sponsoring me. Do they mean my assets or my brothers’

  18. Nice job boss. My wife is applying to study in Canada. As regards the POF, I have Mutual funds account I have been running for over 3 years. Must I liquidate the cash now, u said at least 6 months for the account statement. Or can a LOE support the huge sum of money liquidated?

  19. Hi
    Your article is very helpful.

    My question is – do I need to have secured accommodation when applying for a Study Visa? I’m making an application for a Visa for a Post Graduate Diploma that should start running in May 2024.

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