Study in Canada

Canada is a country of natural beauty - from coast to coast - with endless landscapes of mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and plains.

Canada is a huge country of diverse people, lifestyles and landscapes, offering a multiplicity of top quality education programmes for international students. Canadian educational institutions welcome international students, with many providing special services designed to assist their integration into the academic community and help them throughout their stay.

There are two major steps to take if you wish to come to Canada to study at secondary or post-secondary (tertiary or advanced) level. First, you must be accepted for a programme of study by a recognised Canadian secondary school or post-secondary institution. Second, you must apply for and be granted a student authorisation (and visa if required) from Canadian immigration authorities. These procedures take considerable time, and you should apply six to twelve months before you wish to begin your studies in Canada.

Post-secondary Institutions

In Canada, post-secondary institutions are divided into two major types: universities and community colleges. The university provides academic and professional training, and research leading to degrees (BA, BSc, MA, MSc, PhD, etc.). The community college offers certificate and diploma programmes in career and vocational training.

College-level institutions may also be known as university colleges, institutes of technology and advanced learning, community colleges and colleges of applied arts and technology - many of which are able to grant degree-level qualifications.

English and French are Canada's two official languages, and at most universities and colleges, instruction is in one of these, although a few use both. Students applying for admission must satisfy the institution's language proficiency requirements in the language of instruction. You should enquire at the time of application if a language proficiency test is required, and ask about the procedures for taking the test.

Immigration Regulations

After being accepted by an institution for a programme of study in Canada, the student should apply for a student authorisation at the nearest Canadian diplomatic mission. For expedient processing, it is recommended that applications be filed at least three months prior to the commencement of classes. For nationals of some countries, visitor visas are also required; these are issued at the same time as the student authorisation. In order to apply for a student authorisation, you need the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • An original letter of acceptance from a university, college or other institution
  • Evidence of adequate funds to cover tuition and living costs for you and your dependents, including return transportation
  • For students going to Quebec institutions, a certificat d'acceptance du Quebec (CAQ) from Quebec immigration authorities
  • If applicable, a letter from your sponsor
  • A letter of reference from a dependable person in your community will help

There is a processing charge for the student authorisation (for exact amount please contact us). Sometimes a personal interview with a visa officer may be required, in which case you should provide any documentation which might be useful as a demonstration of strong ties to your country of origin. Under no circumstance should a student come to Canada without a valid student authorisation (and visa if required). As a student, you may work on the campus of the publicly funded post-secondary institution at which you are enrolled full-time without an employment authorisation. (For the most up to date information on these policies please contact us)

Services for International Students

Most post-secondary institutions have a person to assist international students, the International or Overseas or Foreign Student Adviser, who normally works in the Department of Student Services. Most secondary schools which charge fees for international students offer the services of an International Student Adviser or similar counsellor. Students should make themselves known to the Adviser soon after arrival on campus.

If you would like more information from different sources, contact the following organisations:

Association of Canadian Community Colleges

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada


Who Needs a Study Permit?

Information for Foreign Students

Work Opportunities for Foreign Students

Application to Study in Canada Study Permits

Visa Offices

Countries and Territories Whose Citizens Require Visas in Order to Enter Canada as Visitors

Frequently asked questions (Visa):Studying in Canada

Financial Aid

Attending school in Canada is more expensive for international students than for Canadian students, but that's the case in most situations when you are studying in a country that is not your own. While there are some scholarships for international students wishing to come to Canada to study, there are not many and competition is very fierce. Schools and other organisations offer scholarships to international students and a listing of some of those awards can be found on