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Canada Student Visa: Latest Changes & Application Process

Jun 04, 2024

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Congratulations on receiving your offer letter! The journey towards studying abroad in Canada is an exciting one, but before you begin this amazing adventure, there's one more important step to take, and that is the student visa application process. 

Recently several changes have been implemented in the Canadian student visa requirements. One of the significant updates revolves around the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL). Effective from 22nd January 2024, most students now need to furnish a PAL from the province or territory where they intend to study. However, obtaining a PAL is applicable to bachelor’s degree, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Diplomas. Certain levels of studies like master’s and PhD amongst others are exempted from this requirement. 

Since there are some new modifications in the Canada student visa application process, staying informed and up to date with the latest visa regulations is supremely important. Let’s discuss all of that and a lot more in our latest article. Scroll down to read our comprehensive guide on obtaining a Canadian student visa.

Table of Content 

  1. Two Ways to Apply for a Canadian Student Visa
  2. An Overview of Obtaining a PAL for Student Visa Application 
  3. Student Direct Stream: A Synopsis of the Fast-track Proces
  4. Student Visa Processing Timeline
  5. Student Visa Application Fees
  6. Latest Student Visa Document Checklist 
  7. Step-by-Step Canadian Student Visa Application Guide

Two Ways to Apply for a Canadian Student Visa

  • Study Permit Application: This traditional route involves submitting your application through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
  • Student Direct Stream Application: This streamlined process is available to applicants from selected countries. It offers faster student visa processing for eligible applicants. 

An Overview of Obtaining a PAL for Student Visa Application 

The introduction of the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) underscores the Canadian government's commitment to ensuring that every international student gets adequate facilities during their stay in the country. As a result, after getting the letter of acceptance and paying the tuition fee deposit which can vary as per the designated learning institution (DLI), international students are eligible to obtain the PAL.

Application for PAL is completed by the student’s University or Institution, post that he/she will receive the PAL by email. Once this step is complete, international students are all set to apply for their student visas to study in Canada.

Student Direct Stream: A Synopsis of the Fast-track Process

The Student Direct Stream Canada popularly known as SDS is a faster student visa application process for applicants belonging to selected countries. To qualify for this stream, applicants must meet specific criteria, like.

  • Residing in a specified country
  • Exhibiting financial stability by paying the tuition for the first year of study and having a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC). 

International students who come from these selected countries are encouraged to apply through the SDS category. However, if they are studying at the top-ranked Universities or Institutions in Canada, then they can apply through the general visa application process as well. 

Student Visa Processing Timeline

While the processing timeline for a Canadian student visa can vary based on numerous factors, including your country of residence and the volume of applications, it's advisable to initiate the process well in advance to avoid any unexpected delays.

  • For General Study Permit Applications, the student visa processing time is 15 weeks. However, this excludes the timeline for biometrics.
  • For Student Direct Stream Applications, the student visa processing time is 20 working days. 

Student Visa Application Fees

Applicants are required to pay a processing fee of CAD 235 for their Canadian student visa application. This includes the application fees of CAD 150 and the biometric fee of CAD 85. Now that we have sorted out all the fundamentals, let’s move ahead to the much-anticipated part of this article, which is gathering all the required documents and commencing the student visa application to study abroad in Canada. 

Latest Student Visa Document Checklist 

A comprehensive document checklist is essential to ensure the smooth processing of your Canadian student visa application. Key documents as per the new changes are listed below. 

  • Proof of Acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • A Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) (Only for International Students applying for Bachelor’s Degree, UG or PG Diplomas) 
  • Valid Passport for Identity Proof
  • Evidence of Financial Support to cover Tuition Fees and Living Expenses. 
  • Medical Examination Results 
  • Letter of Explanation (If Required)
  • Any Additional Supporting Documents Specified by the IRCC or Provincial Authorities

Step-by-Step Canadian Student Visa Application Guide

Follow these step-by-step guidelines to have a successful and smooth Canadian student visa application process. 

  • Step 1 - Compile all necessary documents mentioned in the above document checklist. 
  • Step 2 - Fill out the online application form completely and accurately. Then upload all the required documents.
  • Step 3 – Once your visa application is filled, you can pay the required application fees through the designated payment portal and proceed to the next step. 
  • Step 4 - Review your application thoroughly before submission, if all information is correct and up to date then hit the submit button. 
  • Step 5 - Schedule and attend a biometric appointment at the nearest location. The authorities there will take your fingerprints and photograph. 
  • Step 6 - Monitor the status of your application online regularly and be prepared to provide additional information if requested.

If the visa decision is positive and approved, then follow the instructions provided in the email for stamping your visa and plan for your move to Canada. Wrapping up this article, we hope that you are now well-versed in the details of the Canadian student visa application process. But our support doesn’t end here, as KC Overseas Education is known to provide comprehensive guidance, support, and assistance to all study abroad aspirants. 

Reach out to our Canada Team at KC for expert advice and assistance moulded as per your unique profile and preferences. Since there were a lot of new changes announced recently in Canada, we encourage you to stay informed about the latest updates regarding the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) and other visa requirements by regularly visiting our website’s news section. Allow us to be a part of your higher education in Canada, connect with our team today!

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