Study Visa Guide

Canadian Visa: Step by Step Procedures

If studying in Canada is your wish, consider us as your personal Genie. You help you go through the overwhelming process of obtaining your Canadian Study Visa with ease and strategic steps. While we take care of the process, below is the list of steps to be followed to lawfully land as a student in Canada.

  • Apply for Admission
  • Pay Tuition Fee
  • Purchase of GIC
  • Medical Tests
  • Visa Lodgment
  • Visa Outcome

CAN Pathways will obtain approval of admission (Admission offer letter) from an accredited educational institution in Canada. There are various Universities and Colleges in Canada that offers a wide range of programmes and vast facilities to their students. CAN Pathways career experts can help you decide your career path and to choose best institution.

After accepting your offer letter from your educational institution, you ought to pay the tuition fee as its being stated in the offer letter. This payment is made through International Wire Transfer.

As soon as the institution receives the payment and process your tuition fee payment, a receipt will be issued to you by the University / College.

This payment receipt will be needed to lodge your Canada student visa application.

It is essential for the students to buy a special guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) from any of the participating banks like SBI Canada Bank, Nova Scotia Bank, ICICI Bank, CIBC Bank. For the amount of Ten thousand two hundred US Dollars ($10,200) CAD for the adjustment of the living expenses for the 1st year.

Subsequently, Eight thousand US Dollars ($8000) will be paid to the students in twelve (12) equivalent installments as monthly living expenses.

The candidate will be required to carry out a medical examination by a doctor approved by the Canadian government. You can find a list of the approved panel by clicking the below link.

You will be issued a receipt for the medical tests, which will be required when you apply for a visa. The medical report will automatically be forwarded to the visa office.

To lodge your visa application you will be required to provide the following documents as per SDS Checklist:

  • Visa Application Form
  • Original valid passport with a photocopy of the Biodata page
  • Family information form.
  • Admission offer Letter / Acceptance Letter issued by the SDS Educational Institute in Canada
  • Use of Representative Form (IMM 5476)
  • Evidence of Proficiency in the English Language
  • Academic Documents
  • Tuition fee Payment Receipt
  • Confirmation of GIC purchase
  • Student Questionnaire
  • Medical receipts / certificates, etc.

Once you receive the passport, you will get to know about the outcome of your Canadian student visa application.

As soon as your Canadian student visa application is approved, you will receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction. Meanwhile, students from countries that require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) or a temporary residence visa will be issued these if required.


The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will be linked to your passport. It is essential that you travel with the same passport which was used in the application of your study permit. The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will be valid for five (5) years or until the expiration of your passport, whichever comes first.

Proof of your finances and your Acceptance letter (and any other documents that you’ve been advised to take) should be presented alongside with your passport to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will then issue your Canadian study permit and allow you access into Canada.

Study Levels In Canada

Since the education system in Canada is managed by the provincial governments, the study levels and educational stages may lie in different clusters with different names.

Here’s a synopsis:

Qualification Duration Description
Certificates and Diploma
1 to 2 years
Vocational and job oriented programs, mainly technical
Associate degree
2 years
Equivalent to first two years of a 4-year bachelor’s degree
Bachelor’s degree
3 to 4 years
Any undergraduate degree which requires successful completion of secondary school. The duration of your course depends on the province and type of program although most courses last for 4 years. Certain provinces like Quebec have bachelor’s degree of 3 years.
Bachelor’s Honors degree
4 years
This will require getting a specific GPA or credits, a majors or a specialist program
Postgraduate diploma
1 to 2 years
A post bachelor degree qualification
Master’s degree (by thesis)
1 to 2 years
Often referred to as research masters, this requires mandatory submission of thesis for assessment and course completion
Master’s degree (by non-thesis)
1 to 2 years
This is a taught master’s degree, not requiring thesis submission
Doctorate or PhD
4 to 7 years
Ph.D. is awarded when students complete dissertation and successfully defend their work before a panel of faculty members
Post-Doctoral Programs
No time limit
Specialised research-oriented programs

Study Cost In Canada

S. No. Study program Average annual fee (in CAD*)
Undergraduate program
$13,000 to $20,000 per year
Postgraduate master’s degree
$17,000 to $25,000 per year
Bachelor’s degree
$12,500 to $25,000 per year
MBA, Masters
$20,000 to $50,000 per year

*Please note all fee figures are indicative

Student Direct Stream (SDS)

Indian students applying to universities and colleges in Canada can now expect faster visa processing through the Study Direct Stream (SDS) program launched by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada. Unlike the usual visa processing that may take up to 2-3 months, SDS allows students from India to avail their visa in 4-6 weeks. When a student who meets the eligibility criteria applies via SDS, most applications are processed within 20 calendar days.

A replacement to the erstwhile SPP program, SDS has more stringent rules and regulations to fulfill. However, it can be extremely beneficial for those who meet the criteria as it provides easy visa processing for SDS entitled DLI institutions and requires less financial documentation.

Eligibility Criteria For SDS

To be able to apply for a study permit via SDS, you’ll have to fulfill certain conditions, such as:

  • Acceptance from a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI)
  • Tuition fee paid for your first year of study
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD10,000
  • Minimum score of 6 in IELTS with no band less than 6 or a TEF (Test d’évaluation de français – French language proficiency test) score that is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening)

If you meet the criteria, you’ll have to submit the following documents:

  • Letter of acceptance from a DLI
  • Proof of payment of tuition fee for your first year of study
  • Proof of Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) payment (certificate/letter of attestation)
  • IELTS TRF or TEF score card
  • Copy of your medical examination from an authorised panel of doctors
  • Relevant academic background with complete academic documents
  • Additional requirement of CAQ for students intending to study in Quebec

All applications for SDS are submitted online.

(DLI) Designated Learning Institution

A designated learning institution or DLI is a university, school or college approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. All public universities, colleges and major private universities and colleges in Canada are DLI. So, if you’re applying for a study permit, you are required to have a letter of acceptance letter from a DLI.
You should know that international students can only be recruited by a DLI; a non-DLI is not permitted to admit international students.
Note: DLI doesn’t entitle automatic eligibility for post-study work permit.

(GIC) Guaranteed Investment Certificate

A GIC is a Canadian investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period.

In simple words, as an Indian student wanting to study in Canada, you’ll be required to open a Canadian bank account online with any one of the designated banks. Once your account is created, the bank holds your GIC in a student account or an investment account that you’ll be able to access only when you arrive in Canada. It releases your funds only upon the confirmation of your identity when arrive in the country. While you can take an initial lump sum amount on arrival, the remaining is distributed monthly or bi-monthly over a period of 10-12 months.

Remember, the bank from which you purchase your GIC must provide you with any of the following:

  • a GIC certificate
  • a letter of attestation
  • an Investment Balance confirmation
  • an Investment Directions confirmation

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) verifies every GIC, eliminating the possibility of any kind of financial document related fraud. No other financial document is required under SDS to prove to the IRCC that the student has sufficient funds to support their tuition fee and living expenses.

Banks that offer GIC in India.

  • Canadian Imperial
  • Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • SBI Canada
  • Scotiabank
  • HSBC Bank of Canada

Post-Graduation Work Permit

You need to know if you are eligible to work after you graduate. Not all designated learning institutions make you eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

Along with graduating from an eligible designated learning institution, you need to meet all other criteria to get a post-graduation work permit.

Language Tests

      The International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
      The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP); and
  • TEF
      The Test d’Évaluation du Français (TEF)

Intakes Available In Canada

  • Fall: A popular intake among Indian students, Fall starts in the month of September
  • Winter: Starts in January; it’s best if you miss the September intake
  • Summer: Available for limited programs and colleges, the Summer intake usually starts around April and May

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