By Vincent Wong, B.Com., JD

Vincent obtained his Bachelor of Commerce and Juris Doctor Degrees from the University of Toronto in 2010 and 2013 respectively. He currently works as a lawyer at the Metro Toronto Legal Clinic, which offers legal aid to newcomers to Canada, who may otherwise experience difficulty navigating through the legal system due to cultural and language barriers. He is also the owner of VW Law, a small firm that specializes in visa and immigration services.

To study in a foreign country, one would need to obtain a study visa. Although the application details may vary depending on the country of interest, the general application requirements remain much the same. For example, to study in Canada as an international student, you will need to obtain a study visa from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). After you finish your program of study, you may be interested in staying in Canada to work or to immigrate permanently and become a Canadian permanent resident. Immigration and visa issues are often complicated, and applicants should be extremely careful about following immigration rules and regulations.

Before you can apply for a study visa, you must have been accepted at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. You may use the DLI link 18 to browse potential learning institutions or decide if a particular learning institution is duly designated before applying for enrollment. Each DLI has a unique DLI number that should be indicated on the study visa application. In addition, you need the following documents to apply for a study visa:

1. Proof of acceptance
If you plan to attend any school (primary or secondary), college, university, or other educational institution in Canada, the school must complete and send you a letter of acceptance. You must include the original letter with your study permit application.

2. Proof of identity
You must provide a valid passport or travel document for you and each accompanying family member. The passport or travel document must allow you to return to the country that issued it. Citizens of the United States do not need a passport, but rather a documentation to prove citizenship or permanent residence.

3. Proof of financial support
You must prove that you can support yourself and the family members who accompany you while you are in Canada. This may be provided in a variety of ways, such as proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if money has been transferred to Canada.

4. Letter of explanation

In some cases, you may wish to apply for a study permit even if you do not need one right away. There are benefits to having a study permit, even if you do not require one. For example, if you decide to continue studying in Canada later on, you can apply to renew your study permit from within Canada. This may involve a letter of explanation describing your intent to continue studying. Otherwise, if you wish to continue studying in the country but your study permit has expired, you must apply through a Canadian visa office outside Canada.

18 Citizenship and Immigration of Canada. Designated Study Institution list.

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