Become an International Student in Canada

Whether you are interested in improving your skills for future employment, or you wish to open the door to Canadian immigration options, you should consider studying in Canada as an international student. Below are several points to bear in mind when planning to study in Canada.

Designated Learning Institution

The first step and most important step is that to complete your studies in Canada in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), which is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students. To view a full list of those DLIs, you can refer to the Government of Canada website here.

Program of Study

After making sure that the learning institution is designated, it is crucial to check what are the eligibility requirements to be accepted, the length of the program, what degree, diploma or certificate student gain by passing the final exam, tuition fees, and most importantly if this program will qualify you to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit. All should be in place and planned well before any steps towards applying.

Acceptance Letter

A letter of acceptance, or what can be known as an offer letter or offer of admission, is a mandatory document required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in an application for a Canadian study permit or ‘student visa’.

As an international student, you need to communicate with the learning institution to get the original letter.

Study Permit

In some cases, a Study Permit is not required, or it can be applied for at a Port of Entry (POE), while generally speaking, all other international students need to submit their applications for a study permit in advance to guarantee joining their study program on time.

Note that a study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ)

The application for temporary selection (CAQ) for studies is intended for foreign nationals who wish to study in Québec.

The province of Quebec operates its own immigration system with requirements and procedures different from the rest of the country. Yet, similar to the other provinces, Quebec’s immigration programs allow international students to have advantages when applying for permanent residence. Quebec’has two main permanent residence streams designed for international students:

  • Quebec Experience Program (PEQ): This program requires students to have completed their program of study or to be within 6 months of completing their studies at an institution in Quebec. To qualify for PEQ, an international student must demonstrate an advanced intermediate knowledge of oral French.
  • Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW): It is designed for international students in Quebec who have completed or are in the process of completing an educational credential in Quebec. Unlike the PEQ program, QSW does not have a mandatory French-proficiency requirement, but candidates must meet a minimum score on the program’s points assessment grid.