Are you planning to study abroad in Canada in 2024? If so, you’re in the right place! Canada is known for being a great place to study and live, and after the latest Canada student visa updates, it’s still just as open to international students as ever… In 2022, more than 800,000 international students chose Canada as their study destination. Read on to find out how to apply for a Canadian student visa, the latest IRCC updates for international students from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on study permits, and how a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) can improve your visa application and benefit you during your studies.

How to Apply for a Canadian Student Visa

First things first: let’s walk through the Canadian study permit (student visa) application process. Thankfully, it hasn’t changed much from how it looked in the past. Just follow these steps, and give yourself plenty of time to apply.

Before you start your study permit application, you’ll need to be accepted into a study program at a recognized Canadian college or university.

Once you receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from your chosen institution, you’re all set to start applying for your study permit.

Gather and Fill Out Your Documents

Generally, to study in Canada, you need to apply for a study permit online. Before submitting your application, you must gather all of the required documents. You may also need to provide a translation of your documents and certify any copies. For a complete list of the documentation requirements, use the Government of Canada’s Document Checklist.

Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

When applying for a Canadian student visa, you must pay an application processing fee. You may also have to pay a biometric fee. Keep in mind that these fees are nonrefundable, regardless of the final decision. Before submitting your application, make sure that you’ve completed and submitted all necessary forms and paid all mandatory fees. Then, government officials will review your application.

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Keep in Mind: Whether your study permit application is approved or refused, your identity documents will be returned to you either with an explanation of why your application was refused, or a letter of introduction that confirms your permit approval.

Arrive in Canada

When arriving in Canada, you must show your letter of acceptance and other related documents at Canadian customs, and you must participate in a short interview with a Canadian immigration officer at the airport or other port of entry. You’ll need to answer questions about your study plans, and the officer will review your supporting documents, so be sure to keep those documents with you.

Canada Student Visa Updates for 2024

Wondering about new rules for international students in Canada as we head into 2024? We’ve summarized the recent IRCC updates for international students below, so you know exactly what’s changed as you start thinking about applying for your study permit.

Increased Work Hours For Students

Typically, international students are only permitted to work off-campus for 20 hours per week during regular school semesters, and 40 hours per week during breaks in classes, like summer vacation. In the fall of 2022, a new temporary measure was put in place which allowed international students to work an unlimited number of hours while classes are in session.

This measure was only meant to last until December 2023. However, the increased work hours measure has now been extended until April 30, 2024! The government also left the door open to permanently raising the weekly permitted working hours limit in the future, although nothing official has been announced yet.

This means that international students have the opportunity to earn more income and gain further work experience during their stay in Canada.

Increased Financial Requirements

As part of a study permit application, international students must show proof of financial support to indicate they have access to enough money to live in Canada during their studies.

In the past, the minimum amount students had to show for proof of financial support (in addition to travel and tuition costs) was C$10,000 per year. However, to reflect the increased cost of living in Canada, the minimum proof of financial support amount has changed to C$20,635 for 2024. This means that as of January 1, 2024,, all new study permit applications must meet these new financial proof requirements.

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Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Reforms

Historically, international students had to graduate from an eligible in-person Canadian program to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, international students had the option to complete up to 50% of their studies online. This measure is still in effect for students applying for a Canadian study program before September 1, 2024. However, it’s important to note that this PGWP policy will not have any further extensions beyond that date.

New Study Permit Application Form

Canada’s study permit application process just got easier! As of December 1, 2023, a new version of the study permit application form (IMM1294) is available. The old form will no longer be accepted, so if you’re applying through the IRCC secure account, be sure to use this updated form for submissions starting from that date.

Letters of Acceptance Must be Validated

Finally, it’s also worth knowing that as of December 1, 2023, Canadian institutions are required by the government to confirm the validity of every letter of acceptance. If your college or university doesn’t do so in time, your study permit application will be returned and refunded.

This is unlikely to affect you, but if you’re concerned, reach out to the institution to make sure they’ll validate your letter on time.

Guaranteed Investment Certificates

ApplyBoard and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) have teamed up to offer Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) services to international students. By applying for ApplyBoard and RBC GIC services, you’ll be able to show your proof of financial support, and meet the new financial requirements with a strong financial profile.

If you’re applying for your study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), getting a GIC is mandatory. A GIC is the easiest way for you to prove you’re financially set to live and study in Canada!

We hope this blog has helped to bring you up-to-date on Canadian student visa and IRCC updates for international students. For more updates and international student tips, check out our other blogs! We wish you the best of luck on your journey.