Canada is a dream education for thousands of students and immigrants alike. But, before students can travel, there are several hurdles they need to clear and the most prominent one is the Canadian Student visa. So, to help aspirants, this article lists down the most important things you should know if you’re planning to study in Canada during these COVID-times.
Before applying for a Canadian student visa, students need to do their homework. Here are a few crucial things that students should have before they apply for their visa:
University acceptance: This letter is a primary requirement for the visa process. Therefore, the first step of the Canadian visa application process is to shortlist the top universities that suit a person’s profile and scores. It’s important to shortlist at least 3 different universities with several back-up options. In fact, a helpful tip is to categorize universities into 3 categories- Dream, Reach, and Safe. This method usually helps students sort through options and makes it easy to decide.
Acceptance letter: You require this from the University. However, before you apply to a university, make sure it is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
Study permit and visa requirements
Lockdowns due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions have contributed to a considerable delay in visa processing for certain countries, which has disrupted students’ travel plans. Consultants and universities recommend that students who have received their Canadian student permits either normally or via SDS shouldn’t delay applying for their visas.
What are the Canadian student permits and SDS?
The Canadian student permit: This is a document issued to foreign nationals who want to study at Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) in Canada. Without this, students will not be allowed to enter the country.
The Study Direct Stream (SDS): This programme was launched by the Department of Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada. While the usual student visa processing may take up to 2-3 months, the SDS program allows students from a specific set of countries to avail their visa in 4-6 weeks or even lesser time, which includes India.
What documents do Indian students need?
For the Canadian Student Visa online application, here’s what students need to keep ready:
- Proof of acceptance from the Designated Learning Institute (DLI).
- Financial proof (for funding your studies). Students need to show the finances for the complete program duration- Tuition + Living Expenses. GIC account- Living expenses for one year (10,000 CAD).
- A report of the Immigration Medical Examination (IME) from CIC-approved doctors. Chest X-Ray and Blood tests from Designated medical practitioners are mandatory.
- Academic certificates, transcripts, and work experience certificates (if applicable).
- English language proficiency test (IELTS) scores.
- Two photographs (passport-size). The digital copy should not be more than 4 MB.
- Statement of Purpose.
- If you’re studying in Quebec, students will also need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec, English and French translations of the document, a statement from the translator, and a certified copy of the original documents.
- A valid passport.
- Proof of payment of fees, if applicable on arrival in Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will also need to see the documents, so make sure you have them ready.
Things Indian students should keep in mind during application
- Application mode: The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website is where students need to apply for their Canadian student visa online, especially during COVID-times. Things are quicker this way, and students receive updates on the status of their applications directly.
- Visa regulations: In case students have a family member who’s working in Canada or is applying for a work permit, their student visa application will be processed in two weeks. If this is not the case, then have to wait for the standard Canadian Student Visa processing time of 90 days.
- Language Requirements for visa: Canadian universities require all Indian students to prove that they are proficient in the English language. They accept tests like IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge English: Advanced. Advisable minimum overall IELTS score should be 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each category.
- Biometrics appointment and visa interview: Indian applicants need to have their biometrics taken and the fee is 85 CAD, which is an additional expense. Depending on the requirement, the applicant might have to go in for an interview at a local Visa Application Center, for which a small fee will be charged.
- Travel restrictions and quarantine: If you are planning to head abroad to study for the first time, check the relevant government and university websites for COVID-19 related updates. Restrictions are changing with little notice.
Travel restrictions and COVID-19
In 2020, when students worldwide were unable to travel to Canada due to travel restrictions and unsafe conditions, the Canadian government created policies that reassured Indian students. They stated that Indian students would be allowed to pursue online courses from their own countries but would still be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after moving to Canada.
In light of the latest COVID-outbreak, Canada recently announced that they would be extending the travel restrictions and ban flights from India until August 21, 2021. However, given the measures taken by their government in the past, international students need not worry about their fate when it comes to studying in Canada.
The writer is Founder and CEO – iSchoolConnect
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