Depending on your country of origin and the type and length of study, you may require:
- a visa
- a student authorization
- both a student authorization and visa
- or, none of the above
The type of documentation required depends on your country of origin, the programmed you are taking, and the length of your study:
- Language studies of under three months:
No student authorization is required
- All other programs require a student authorization
A step-by-step guide to obtaining a student authorization:
1. Pick up student authorization forms
you may obtain student authorization forms in your country of origin at the Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Canadian Education Centre. Applications and documentation must then be submitted to the nearest visa office.
2. Gather the necessary documents
it is crucial that students submit ALL documentation requested with their applications. Missing documentation will delay the authorization process. The following documentation must be included in student authorization applications:
- Proof of identity. This includes photocopies of a valid passport or travel document or identity document that guarantees re-entry to the country that issued it; and four recent passport-size photos (2" x 2.5") for each family individual, with the full name and date of birth recorded on the back of each photo. Visa officers may also wish to see the actual passport or travel document and will inform you if this is the case.
- Proof of financial support that shows you will have enough money during your stay in Canada to cover tuition fees, return transportation and $10,000 CDN per annum for living expenses. Documentation for this requirement could be proof of a Canadian bank account or a bank draft in convertible currency, bank statements for the past four to six months, or proof of payment of tuition and residence fees. (As a guideline, $10,000 CDN plus to tuition fees per academic year are generally viewed as sufficient.)
- A medical examination in your country of origin. Medical exams are required if your stay is longer than six months. Please note that medical processing will add several weeks to the time necessary to obtain a student authorization. In some cases, you may need a medical examination even though your course is less than six months in duration. In these instances, a visa officer will determine whether you will require a medical examination and will send you the appropriate medical forms and instructions.
- Proof of acceptance by an approved educational institution. The following information must be included in letters of acceptance: name, date of birth, mailing address of student; the course for which the student has been accepted; the estimated duration or date of completion of the course; the date on which the course begins; the last date on which the student must register for the course; the academic year which the student will be entering; whether the course is full or part-time; the tuition fee; any conditions related to acceptance; clear identification of the educational institution; and licensing information for private institutions. This letter must be signed by an authorized representative of the institution.
- If you are a minor (typically less than 18 years but this can vary from province to province), proof of custodianship in Canada is required. You must provide a notarized declaration signed by your parent or legal guardian in the country of origin AND a notarized declaration signed by the custodian in Canada stating that adequate arrangements have been made for the custodian in Canada to act in place of a parent in times of emergency, such as when medical attention or intervention is required.
3. Visit the Visa Office
Once you have completed the application forms and have gathered the necessary documentation, proceed to the visa office nearest to you and submit the forms and required information along with a student authorization fee. When reviewing your student authorization application, a visa officer must be satisfied that you meet the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Act and Regulations and that you will only be in Canada temporarily. Once the visa officer is satisfied that you are a "bona fide" student and all statutory requirements are met, you will be issued a document which must be shown to an immigration officer at the port of entry in Canada in order to obtain a student authorization.