If Canada is your preferred study destination, congrats on a solid decision. Now, you’ll need a study visa to move to Canada and study here. In this post, I will walk you through on how to apply for student visa from Philippines to Canada. Basically, this is going to be a guide about applying for a study permit in Canada.
The Canadian study visa approval rate for the Philippines is about 60%—not a bad number but also one you have to be really careful with to avoid a rejection. If you are reading this, I am Yash Mittra, an international student sharing guides to inspire and assist anyone looking to come to Canada. Let’s get in.
How to Apply for Student Visa from Philippines to Canada
There are two main ways to apply for a study permit in Canada. The first way is to use an agency or get help from an immigration consultant. There are many immigration consultants out there, but it can be tricky to figure out who is legit. The second method is to apply on your own, also known as a DIY (do-it-yourself) application, which is what I did and what we’ll focus on in this video. Just a heads-up, I’m not an immigration consultant or an expert. The information I’m sharing is from my personal experience and some research. So, that’s something to keep in mind. That said, let’s look at the steps involved for the Filipinos applying for a Canada study visa.
1. Open a GCKey Account on the IRCC Website
The first thing you need to do is set up a GCKey account on the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) website. This GCKey account is where you’ll handle all your applications related to immigration, like applying for a study permit, work permit, or Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after completing your studies. IRCC is the organization responsible for managing these immigration applications. So, you have to start with creating your GCKey account.
Also, when setting up your GCKey account, it will help you understand what documents and forms you need. There’s a document checklist available. So, create a GCKey account first to know the necessary documents and forms you need to prepare and submit.
2. Find a Program, School, and Province
So, we’re on the second step. In this step, you have to research the program, the school, and the province where you wish to study and obtain a letter of acceptance. At this point, you have to select the right program and province that match your future goals. There are two main ways to get a letter of acceptance. One is by applying yourself, which may involve a fee, and the other is through an agent, which typically doesn’t cost you anything.
Depending on the program and school, you may need to submit your high school or college diploma, a college graduation letter, and your college record of grades at this stage. Make sure to choose a program that aligns with your previous work experience and educational background. For instance, if you have a master’s degree in business management from the Philippines or another country, a diploma course in Canada will not be the best fit. The embassy could consider it a step down. Thus, it would mean that your intention to study in Canada is not genuine.
I’d recommend considering it as an upgrade like a Ph.D. However, you are also free to choose a different path based on your own experiences or educational history, as long as you have the evidence to support it. Take my situation, for example. I majored in Mass Communication for my bachelor’s degree and later pursued business management and international business because I could support my choice with my past experiences in the UAE. There, I was involved in selling perfumes, shoes, and gold, and I often posted about these sales on my Facebook page and accounts. This experience helped to convince the immigration officer that this path was good for me. So, if you think about changing your career path, the program you are applying to should be supported by your previous experiences, information, or even your passion.
3. Gather the Necessary Documents
Step three involves collecting your documents. I’ll mention the most common documents you will need to apply for student visa from Philippines to Canada. The documents required depend on your unique situation, so it’s different for everyone. For instance, I’m single, but you might be married, have a partner, or have children, which means your required documents could be different from mine. However, here are some documents that are generally needed for your application. First, there’s the IMM 1294 form or the application for a study permit made outside of Canada. Then, there’s IMM 5645, which is for family information where you list all your family details.
Another one is IMM 5257, an application for temporary residence. You might also need to provide titles for any land or property you own. Another document you need is proof of funds; you should provide a bank statement covering at least 3 months, though 6 months is even better. This shows you have the financial means to support yourself. You can also use a bank statement from a new account you plan to open in Canada as proof of funds. A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is another common way to prove financial stability.
So, you’d deposit money into a bank or financial institution here in Canada. This is a really solid way to show proof of funds. It improves your application by showing you’ve already invested money in Canada and strengthens your case for a study permit. Proof of funds also covers showing a receipt for your first term’s tuition at your college. You need to have paid for one term or semester, your first one, at your college. However, it’s even better if you can show you have paid the tuition fee for a whole year of your program.
Another piece of paperwork you need to apply for student visa from Philippines to Canada at this stage is the statement of purpose. This is basically an essay where you talk about why you chose that program, why Canada, why that school, why that province, and how you plan to support your studies, your proof of funds, and your ties back home. You should try to cover everything here as thoroughly as possible. And I’d recommend that in your statement of purpose, you should back up everything you say with documents in your client information. For instance, if you mention you were a supervisor or team leader at a call center in the Philippines, then you should include an employment certificate. Or, if you say you own property in the Philippines, you should provide the property title. So, whatever you mention in your statement of purpose, make sure you have the documents to support it.
4. Lodge Your Application for Student Permit from Philippines to Canada
The 4th step is to lodge your study visa application. This term is quite familiar when applying for a study permit in Canada. “Lodging your application” simply means you’ve submitted your application for review. In other words, you have sent in your study permit application. Just so you know, the fee for the study permit is $150. Once you submit all your documents and make the payment, your application is considered lodged.
5. Provide Your Biometrics
A few days after lodging your application, you might not know exactly how long it will take, but IRCC will send you a message indicating that you need to provide your biometrics. This process is akin to submitting your fingerprints at visa application centers. If you are required to provide your Biometrics, it must be done at authorized visa application centers. IRCC will give you a link to a list where you can find these centers that are equipped to collect your Biometrics.
6. Complete the Medical Exam
There are two kinds of medical exams. The first one is called an upfront medical. This means you go ahead and get a medical exam on your own initiative, even without a request from IRCC, and then include it in your application. The second option is to wait until IRCC asks you to undergo a medical exam. Essentially, the choice is yours.
7. Wait for Your Application to Process
Step 7 is about the waiting period, or the waiting game, if you will. Just so you know, I found on the IRCC website that the average processing time is about 7 weeks. However, this doesn’t cover the time spent on your Biometrics and medical exam. The seven-week processing period only begins once all your documents are submitted. For instance, the time it takes to complete your Biometrics or any medical exams requested by IRCC isn’t included in these 7 weeks. The actual processing time could be shorter or longer, but on average, it’s around 7 weeks for a study permit.
Canada Study Permit Interview
Sometimes, IRCC may be interested in having an interview with you. They want you to clarify something face-to-face. Keep an eye on your IRCC portal and your emails because that’s how they’ll reach out to you with details on how to schedule your interview.
Nobody can tell you the reason for the interview or the kind of questions you might be asked. They don’t have access to your IRCC file. However, I have made an article on the common Canada student permit interview questions—make sure to check out this article.
An interview isn’t usually part of getting a Canadian study visa or permit. If there was a major issue, they would likely just reject your application rather than ask for an interview, so there’s no need to worry too much about it if they request an interview.
That’s pretty much what you need to know to apply for student visa from Philippines to Canada. These are the basic steps for applying for a study permit in Canada. Make sure to prepare any document required from you so you don’t have difficulties during your application.