How to apply for student visa in Canada

Documents and steps explained

If you know what you’re doing, even a tedious process becomes lot easier for you to deal with. In my case, I wasn’t so lucky when I was applying for student visa from Bangladesh just a few days back. I had to figure things out the hard way and that was the time when I thought, I’d prepare this document so that you don’t have to go through unnecessary hurdles and you don’t even need to hire someone to do things for you. Because the actual process is pretty straight forward, we make it harder than it has to be. And in this document, I’m going to explain what I have done to get my study permit, there may be other ways and better way to do it, but I am only sharing what I know.

Preparing your documents

Documents are the most important part of your application process, they are the kings indeed. If you have proper documents then literally, nobody can stop you from achieving your study abroad or visa related goals. There may be other aspects but still you must have proper supporting documents behind your application. Although, each case is different from the other, yet there are some common documents you need and that’s what I’m going to list down here -

Government issued documents -

  • Passport with validity for the duration of your course: Scan all the sealed pages and you don’t need to include the blank pages of your passport.
  • Birth certificate
  • National ID card
  • Marriage certificate - English affidavit (if applicable)
  • Character certificate
  • Police clearance certificate

Academic documents -

  • O level / SSC certificate
  • A level / HSC certificate
  • Bachelor’s certificate with transcript (if applicable)
  • Master’s certificate with transcript (if applicable)
  • IELTS/GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/SAT (Whichever is applicable or required for you)

Employment documents -

  • Employment letter / Job certificate: Explaining your joining date, salary, contract etc.
  • Resume / CV
  • Recommendation letter by your manager
  • NOC letter (if applicable)

Financial documents -

Personal Information

  • Applicant Passport Photocopy (for office copy)
  • Sponsor’s Passport/ NID Copy ( for office copy)
  • University Offer Letter with Scholarship & SWIFT Copy
  • Sponsor’s Last year (2017-2018/ 2018-2019) Tax Return Copy
  • Applicant & Sponsor’s Photograph (1 for each person)


  • Deed of All Fixed Assets (Like as Land, Building, Plot, Flat, Apartment, etc.)
  • Deed of All Rental Agreement
  • Trade License
  • Memorandum with incorporation certificate
  • Business Audit Report as on 30.06.2018
  • Vehicles (Reg. Insurance, Tax Token)
  • Business Accounts Statements
  • FDR/MTDR Statement with Money Receipts
  • Bank Accounts Statements (SB/DPS/MDS/MSA, etc)
  • Savings Certificate (Sanchaypatra) Copy
  • Sponsor’s Salary Statement (for employee)
  • Sponsor’s Provident fund statement
  • Investment Certificate (Like as Share Investment, Investment in Bank/ Financial Institute)
  • Others

It’d be best if you can get these aforementioned documents to a CA firm and get your property evaluation done. I’ve done these by Mr. Jahidul of ABS Chowdhury and Co. and his contact number is - 01816746282, 01740702908, 02-9887087.

If you have confusion, he’d be able to guide you. Call on his landline no. as there’s a network issue at his office.

Personal documents -

Statement of purpose: Explain why are you interested to apply to Canada, and why not in your own country? Explain your future goals, how this program you’ve selected is going to help you in your career. Explain if you have done any research regarding this area or in selecting this program. Also this is very important to explain what tie you have in your country and convince the visa officer that you’re coming back after the duration of your studies by explaining your future plans in your country.

Letter of explanation: This is where you explain everything else, even the things that you haven’t told your parents or your wife, if you think they’re relevant to your application. If you have any study gap, your background, your financial support, stability, employment history, if you ever got your visa rejected from any country, if your IELTS scores or grades were not what you expected … explain them all. If you miss anything, your visa might get rejected stating you were not truthful. So, even if you’ve committed a crime, it’s better if you explain here, rather than hiding information. That’ll increase your chances of getting the visa.If there’s a special case, provide supporting documents.

Once your documents are ready, it's time for you to get into the real game.

Take one step at a time

Step 1: IELTS

Once you’re done arranging these documents, move on to the next steps -
Prepare for your IELTS (or the applicable one in your case) and get the best score possible.

Step 2: Chose your program

Search for the program you’re looking to study, something that goes with your background and something you’re passionate about, then apply to multiple institutions using the documents they require. Different institutions ask different documents so you need to check their website and contact them via email to find out. It often takes a long time for them to respond so be patient.

You may consider the following while applying for a program-

  • See duration of the course/program
  • Fees that you can afford or scholarship options available if you’re looking for it.
  • When can you apply, when do they offer admission
  • Reputation of the institution, although most of the institutions have a standard in the first world country so you wouldn’t have to worry about it much. Also, don’t be afraid of applying to colleges or diploma courses if they’re relevant to you. It’s a myth that if you apply to a college for a diploma, they won’t issue visa, and that’s not true. I even heard that, if you apply to Toronto, you wouldn’t get visa, but I did.
  • Other opportunities such as internship or on campus job etc.

Step 3: Apply to your program online

Have a payment option available, such an international credit card
Apply at multiple options like I said before
Once you get approved, you may be asked for a payment upfront by some institutions -

Step 4: Pay your university through student file:

There are many local banks offering this facility such as SCB, EBL, BBL, CBL etc. I’ve paid through Western Union through City Bank Ltd.

Step 5: Apply for study permit:

Once you receive payment confirmation from your university/institution, that’s when you’re all set to apply for the visa. I’ve applied online and this is the faster and easier way to go about it if you can arrange a payment using your international credit card or get someone to pay for it.

How to apply online:

Get your documents scanned and merge them into separate sections. Also on top of each documents, write a table of content just like we see on an ebook. Besides, keep in mind that your file can not be over 5 MB (I know this is a bummer). There are amazing online tools available which saved my life such as -

You can get your documents compressed and merged by this web application without compromising much on the quality.

Start your online application from the CIC website.

1. Passport

Merge all your passport pages into one pdf document - current one being on top and then the old ones, include all the sealed pages and visas and bio page.

2. Financial documents

All your financial documents in another pdf file.

  • Table of content
  • Bank statement of the sponsor
  • Bank statement of the applicant
  • Bank solvency certificate
  • Sponsor’s salary payslip
  • Sponsor’s employment letter
  • Or sponsor’s trade license and etc.
  • Proof of assets prepared by the law firm
  • Proof of payment of tuition fees to the institution
  • Sponsor’s tax related documents
  • Affidavit of sponsorship (law firm prepared this for me)
3. Other documents -
  • Table of content-
  • Letter of explanation
  • Statement of purpose
  • All academic documents
  • Experience certificate issued by the employer
  • Employer’s reference letter
  • Resume / CV
  • Applicant’s tax return certificate
  • Police Clearance Certificates (All the countries you’ve lived for the last 10 years)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate
  • Parents passport bio page copy (if they’re your sponsors)
  • Other documents you want to include such as Biometric if you have done it before.
4. Main form (IMM1294e):

Fill out and validate the document using adobe reader and upload it.

5. Family information form (imm5645e):

Fill out, print and sign and then scan and upload it.

6. Temporary residence form (imm5257b_1)

I only had to fill out these forms, If you see any other forms, go ahead and fill them out.

Once all the documents are uploaded, please go and submit the application, pay the fees.

Step 6: Biometric

Within a day or two you’ll get the confirmation and asked for biometric for the first time applicants. Goto VFS global and give your biometric and sit tight for a medical call.

Step 7: Medical

If you’re lucky and all your documents satisfy your visa officer, you’ll get your medical call. I went to Dr. Wahab’s clinic for medical after receiving the medical request letter. You don’t need a prior appointment, just go there with your passport, they’ll do the rest. They’re the one who sends the medical directly to Canadian officials. They’ll do some basic tests.

Step 8: Submit passport

Within a week time, I received another letter to submit my passport to VFS global along with a letter. And then after a week more I got my confirmation document that if I show on the airport after arriving, the immigration officer will issue a study permit.

Other tips:

  • Try to apply as early as possible, having 4-5 months in hand is ideal and will reduce your risk of missing out. In that case, even if you get an initial refusal, you can re-apply with stronger documents and better SOP.

  • Check all your documents thoroughly, and when you fill out your forms, keep your passport and documents with you. A mistake means you’re screwed.

  • Keep your documents consistent and error free. Spellings of your or parents name is important, make sure they’re same on all documents.

  • Get your international driving license if possible, before you head out to Canada.This is good to have.

My entire timeline:

First online application: 15/10/2018
Biometric completed: 16/10/2018
First refusal: 28/10/2018
Reapplied online: 4/11/2018
Medical request: 6/12/2018
Medical submitted: 7/12/2018
Medical passed: 11/12/2018
Passport request: 13/12/2018
Passport submitted: 16/12/2018
Passport received: 27/12/2018

Shopnil Mahmud

Shopnil Mahmud

A software engineer with avid interest on any form of arts and philosophy. Likes to write codes for a living and poetry for the soul. Currently residing in Toronto, originally from Bangladesh.

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