Canadian student visa for Indian students: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

Canada has a lot to offer students who are eager to receive an undergraduate or graduate degree. With quality education, natural beauty and tuition fees relatively lower than Canada’s neighbor next door, it can be the right choice for Indian students. Read on to find out what it takes to get a Canadian student visa and what you can expect from the process.

📝 Table of contents

Gaining entry to a country, whether for study or travel, depends on a number of factors. This includes a country’s friendliness to immigration and your personal situation and capabilities. So while this article can help provide guideposts to your immigration as a student abroad, it is not to be taken as advice or recommendations. Reach out to the Canadian government or an immigration specialist to know what is best for your specific journey.

🎓 Canadian student permit and visa

To begin studying at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada, Indian students are required to obtain a study permit.¹

🏫 A designated learning institution is a primary, secondary or post-secondary school that is approved by the territory or provincial government in Canada to host international students.²

If the school you are interested in attending is not on the DLI list, you will not be able to get a study permit.

Your study permit is not considered your Canadian visa for entry. Once you are approved for a Canadian study permit, you will be given a visitor or electronic travel authorization (ETA) visa issued as well.

You will need to bring both your study permit and visa with you when you arrive into Canada.

There is only one type of study permit for foreign students that apply from outside Canada. The study permit is valid for the length of your program, plus an additional 3 months.

Here is what you can and can’t do with a Canadian study permit³:

Study at a DLI that is approved for international studentsStudy at a school outside of the DLI list.
Need to show reasonable and timely progress in your programDe-enroll from your program but continue staying in Canada on the study permit
Stay up to 90 days after your program endsStay more than 90 days beyond the end of your program, without an extension
Return home, as long as you show proof of enrollment and visa validity when you returnYou will not be permitted to return if your visa is no longer valid
Work on campus or off campus depending on the employerWork before your study begins
Extend your study permit if you qualifyStay beyond your permit expiry without an extension or new visa

Let’s break down what it takes to complete your Canadian study permit application.

📨 Canadian student visa application

The Canadian study permit application is recommended to complete and submit online throughthe Canadian government website.

Before you start your application, you must have the following items ready⁴:

  • The acceptance letter into the DLI
    A valid passport
  • 2 passport sized photos with your name and date of birth on the back
  • A valid credit or debit card to pay the fee (ideally one that can do international payments in India)

It is recommended to apply and get acceptance to the school of your choice in Canada at least 6 months in advance of enrollment for primary or secondary schools, or 1 year in advance for post-secondary.⁵

In addition to the items above, you will need to provide the following in the application process⁶

  • Proof of financial support for your program and stay in Canada
  • A letter of explanation that explains why you want to study in Canada and that you understand the responsibilities of being a student
  • For Quebec applicants, a certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ)

You may be asked for additional documents depending on your unique application.

👤 Indian students may be asked to complete biometric registration as well. This will be notified to you after you submit your application and pay the fee.

If required, you will be provided a list of locations in India where you can get the biometric registration done. Try to complete the biometric registration at your earliest as your application processing will only begin once the biometric information is submitted.⁷

✔ Canadian student visa process

Here is a quick step by step guide to the Canadian study permit process:

  1. Gather your documents, like your acceptance letter and your evidence of financial support, and ensure you have a valid passport and credit card
  2. Read the study permit applicationinstruction guide for foreign nationals
  3. Register on the Canadian government IRCC website to start your application
  4. Answer all the questions on the form and upload the necessary documents
  5. Complete your biometric registration if required
  6. Once everything is submitted, track your application on the IRCC website
  7. Await your decision.

✒ If your application is accepted, two things will happen

  1. You will be issued a visa to enter Canada
  2. You will be provided a letter of introduction that is mandatory to bring with you when you physically enter Canada. The Canadian border agent will issue you your study permit upon entry into the country.

If your application is rejected, you can expect a letter outlining the reasons for rejection.

🚫 Main reasons that a Canadian study permit application may be rejected⁸:

  • The applicant wasn’t able to show enough evidence of financial support
  • Failed the medical exam, if it was required
  • It was clear that the main purpose to be in Canada wasn’t to study
  • It wasn’t evident that the applicant intended to follow the rules to leave Canada at the end of the study program

🔎 Canadian student visa requirements for Indian students

There are a few basic requirements for Indian students to fulfill for a Canadian student visa. The most important one being the evidence of financial support.

🏦 Canadian student visa financial requirements

The Canadian government wants to see proof that you are able to pay for your living expenses while in the country, in addition to your tuition. And if family members are coming with you, you will also need to show that you can support their living expenses as well.

If you are applying to a DLI in Canada, except for Quebec, you will need to show that you have the following amounts to meet requirements:

Amount required for the yearAmount required per month
For a single applicantCAN$10,000 / ₹6,04,198CAN$833/ ₹50,3301
For the 1st family memberCAN$4,000/ ₹2,41,679CAN$333/ ₹20,120
For the 2nd family member or moreCAN$3,000/ ₹1,81,259CAN$255/ ₹15,407

*All INR prices shown are converted at the mid-market exchange rate of CAN$1 = ₹60.42 as of May 7, 2021

👪 The amount required would be the sum required for you and all your family members that will be accompanying you. So if you had 2 family members that are accompanying you, the amount required to show:

CAN$ 10,000 + CAN$ 4,000 + CAN$ 3,000= CAN$ 17,000 / ₹10,27,136

The required financial amount is in addition to the school’s tuition fees.

If you are applying for a study permit for a school in Quebec, the amount required is slightly higher than the rest of the country, and with different amounts depending on the age of your family members.

For evidence of meeting the financial requirement listed above, you can show any of the following as part of your application⁹:

  • Proof of student or education loan from a bank that would cover the amount required
  • 4 months of your bank statements
  • A bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • Evidence of payment for tuition and housing fees for your school
  • Proof of a scholarship or funding from within Canada
  • Proof of a scholarship or funding from the school
  • A letter from a person who will be providing you money
  • Proof of a Canadaian bank account in your name with the funds already in it
  • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution

Canada student dependent visa requirements

Canada allows international students to bring family members with them when they come to study. The family members include:

  • A legally recognized spouse
  • Common-law partners who have been together over 1 year
  • Children below the age of 22

You will need to complete an application for each family member, alongside your application. All the applications will need to be submitted together with only 1 payment receipt for the entire family’s total application fee.

If your family’s applications are approved and your children are of school-going age, they can attend school in Canada during the length of your stay.

A spouse, common law partner and dependent children must meet the basic requirements for being a temporary resident in Canada.¹⁰

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📋 Documents required for Canadian student visa

Here is the quick list of the documents usually asked for in a study permit application,

  • Letter of acceptance from the DLI
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of financial support

Additionally, you may be asked for:

  • Letter of explanation
  • Medical exam
  • Proof of payment of tuition and fees

The Canadian government may ask for additional documents depending on the nature of your application. ¹⁰

⌛ Canadian student visa processing time

As of May 7th 2021, the Canadian study permit processing time is typically 10 weeks for foreign nationals outside of Canada.

This time however does not include the time needed to complete the biometrics. ¹¹

Student Direct Stream: A faster processing time for Indian students

Indian students can cut down their study permit’s processing time from 10 weeks to 20 days by applying through Direct Stream.¹²

To apply through Direct Stream you must be outside of Canada, an Indian citizen and provide the following:

  • An acceptance letter from a post-secondary DLI
  • Evidence of tuition payment for the first year
  • Have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAN$10,000
  • Get a medical exam or police certificate before application if necessary
  • Most of your recent secondary or post-secondary school transcripts
  • Have a score of 6.0 or higher in reading, writing, speaking and listening in International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

💰 Canadian student visa fees

The Canadian study permit fee is CAN$ 150 per application, including for Direct Stream applicants.¹³

Canadian student visa fees in Indian Rupees

Here is how the Canadian study permit application fee looks in Indian Rupees:

Canadian DollarsIndian Rupees
Application Fee$150₹9,063

*All INR prices shown are converted at the mid-market exchange rate of CAN$1 = ₹60.42 as of May 7, 2021

🖨 If you found this guide helpful or want to refer to it later, right click on the screen and click ‘Print’, then save it as a PDF


  1. Canada Study Permit
  2. Designated Learning Institutions
  3. Study permit do’s and don’ts
  4. Requirements for application
  5. School Acceptance
  6. Application requirements
  7. Biometrics
  8. Approval and Rejection of a Canadian Study Visa
  9. Financial requirements
  10. Documents required
  11. Processing Time
  12. Direct Stream
  13. Study Permit Fee

All sources checked as of 7 May, 2021

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