Having decided to study in Canada, the next step for many students is to apply for a student visa in Canada so that they can study in Canada legally. This article aims to give you an overview of the different options available and their respective costs, as well as information on other aspects that may be useful to you when making your decision.

Types of programs

There are a variety of programs that you can study through, including Undergraduate (e.g., Bachelors), Postgraduate (e.g., Masters) and PhDs, Trade Schools, and Colleges. In addition, there are also certificate programs and short-term training programs that last a few months to several years. While some institutions only offer undergraduate degrees, others may offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The costs for these vary widely between institutions; make sure to look into them before deciding on which program is right for you.

Getting a study permit in Canada

A study permit is a document that enables international students to come to Canada for purposes of studying at a designated learning institution, either on-campus or through distance education. This does not apply to visiting students or short-term program students. International students who wish to study in Canada must first apply for and receive a Canadian study permit.  The application process for a study permit is generally handled by your school. They will provide you with all necessary forms and instructions as well as help you fill them out correctly. If you are applying from outside Canada, you will need to submit your application directly to the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) or a visa office.

Required documents

Before applying for a Canadian student visa, you will need to gather and organize your documents. The requirements can vary slightly depending on whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student. But generally, these are some of the most important documents that Canadian visa officer will look at: 

  • Educational credentials (Transcripts/degrees etc.)
  • Employment history and financial resources Personal qualities/characteristics (such as work experience)
  • Immigration Medical Examination
  • Proof of funds
  • IELTS or TOEFL exam is a requirement for most international students applying for a student visa. It is an English language proficiency test that measures your ability to understand and communicate in English.
  • Referral letters by colleges or universities
  • Educational institutions supporting documents such as scholarship letter
  • You will also need a valid passport, two recent passport-size photographs and bank statements that show that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Canada.

Studying at university

There are three major types of post-secondary institutions in Canada: universities, colleges and institutes. Universities tend to be research-intensive, while colleges focus on applied education. Institutes are a hybrid between colleges and universities; there is no set typical Canadian student because so many options exist, but if you choose a college or institute, it will likely offer more affordable tuition fees than a university.

Studying at college

The cost of studying at college depends on which program you choose, where you study and what sort of qualification you go for. For example, at undergraduate level a three-year course will usually cost $12,000 per year with about $4,000 for each additional year. College fees are generally charged per year and not by semester so it’s important to check how much exactly you’ll need to pay.

Online education

The rise of online education has made it easier than ever for students and job-seekers living abroad to keep their options open and take advantage of educational opportunities offered in Canada. Many institutions offer online classes, and many students can apply for student visas that allow them to study full-time or part-time on campus. In some cases, international students are even able to work legally while studying, providing a cost-effective opportunity for earning money.

Studying at Canada – overall costs

How much will studying in Canada cost? The average tuition fees for international students coming to study at Canadian colleges are on average $5,000-7,000 a year. However, if you have already been accepted at one of your chosen universities, there may be exceptions or alternative options for some students which could mean a cheaper tuition rate. Scholarships and financial aid are available for those who meet certain criteria.

Costs involved in studying in Canada

Studying in Canada is not as expensive as many other countries. Education is free for Canadian citizens, and international students pay only nominal tuition fees, which vary by institution.
 As you’re getting ready for your new life in Canada, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what things cost. Food prices are generally higher than those at home and will be more expensive if you live away from a major city. Utility bills can also be very high due to heating requirements. Students can apply for government assistance through work programs or student loans which will help alleviate some of these costs but it may still take time to adjust.

Textbooks prices

The quality of education that you can receive at a university in Canada is highly regarded. It’s expected, however, that as an international student, you will want to bring your own textbooks for a number of classes. As such, it’s important that you budget for textbook costs when planning your studies abroad. If you know beforehand how much textbooks will cost and where you can buy them from, it should make things much easier during semester one!

Scholarships available for students going to Canada

There are numerous scholarships available for students looking to study abroad. Through a scholarship, you can be eligible for either partial or full tuition and other required fees. For example, some of these scholarships are: Teaching Assistantships (TAs), Study Abroad Scholarships offered by your college or university, Canadian Federal Government Scholarships.

Finding jobs while you are a student

Finding a job while you are a student can be really challenging, yet it is not impossible. Before you look for a job while studying in Canada, you need to make sure that your immigration status will allow you to work part-time or full-time as an international student. Most countries let their students work part-time, but if yours does not (like India and Brazil), then you should stop reading here.

In general, if you’re studying a field where demand is high (like STEM fields), you’ll likely find employment opportunities that come with higher compensation packages. It may also help to note that certain jobs offer additional perks as well. Salaries for Entry Level Jobs in Canada The best way to get a sense of what you can expect to make when working as a student is to look at some examples.

 It’s also important to note that it’s not just jobs on campus or close by that offer flexible employment options. Many students choose to pick up part-time, seasonal or casual work off campus. The truth is, there are quite a few entry-level jobs for students willing to put in some effort and with enough perseverance, you may even find a full-time position during your studies. Overall, job availability depends on your major and university (or region) of study and includes both internships and career related positions.

Typical salaries offered by Canadian employers

While it’s important to consider a variety of factors, like industry and location, when thinking about salary potential, be sure you’re familiar with average salaries offered by major Canadian employers. Some industries tend to pay more than others—and that can have an impact on your career decisions. For example, students studying engineering or computer science often earn high starting salaries right out of school (in Toronto, these students can expect annual starting salaries around $60,000). Students who study health sciences or education also earn above-average starting salaries (around $50,000 annually). 

 According to one study by Statistics Canada, Canadian universities graduate 17 percent more students than can be employed locally (Canada Educates). As a result of growing talent gaps within many fields, many Canadian employers need an international student population among their employees. Overall, you should expect to earn around $12 per hour for casual jobs and $15 per hour for part-time jobs. In some cases, however, you may find that you’re earning less—or even more—than these amounts.

Social scene of Canadian universities and colleges

Life on campus is typically active and social; Canadian students enjoy their school years, and tend to develop close friendships with their classmates. In fact, most universities have clubs that promote on-campus life, so it’s easy for new students to join an activity or organization that suits them.

Tips for picking an apartment or shared accommodation when you are moving there

Your first priority, apart from deciding where you will be studying, is finding somewhere to live. When looking for an apartment or shared accommodation in your chosen city, there are plenty of factors you need to consider. There are places all over that offer different services and amenities – so it’s important to look at what each place has to offer and decide which one is right for you. The best way to find a place is by speaking with people who have already made the move.


Going to school in Canada has a lot of perks, from friendly people and affordable living expenses, to pleasant weather and proximity to major cities. But studying abroad is no walk in the park; there are some important things you should know about student visas in Canada before making your final decision. This guide will help you navigate a Canadian study visa application as well as life as a student in Vancouver or Toronto.

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