Updated: Mar 3
Congratulations! You got accepted to study at a Canadian learning institution and now is the time to apply for your student permit. Applying for a student permit is the most delicate part of your entire process. This might be your first interaction with the Canadian immigration system and the way you present yourself will impact the future of your professional life. You must make sure you make a good first impression, to increase your chances of getting an approval letter to move to Canada and start your study program.
Here are 4 common mistakes people make when applying for a student permit that can lead to an application being refused, and how to avoid them.
1. No Study Plan
When submitting your application for a student permit, make sure to explain why you are choosing your specific program and how this will help your professional development. This is referred to as a study plan. Contrary to popular belief, the government of Canada is not concerned about your age or a study gap since the last time you studied. What matters most is the reasons why you want to study again now. You must provide a logical, genuine rationale about how studying in Canada will make you a better professional. Common reasons are:
You decided to start a new career path and need new skills
You need to be more competitive in your local labor market to move up in your industry
Your industry has evolved since you graduated and you need to update your knowledge
You have not worked for several years (for example stay-at-home parents) and to return to the labor market you need to update your knowledge.
Besides why you want to study again, you must defend the idea that studying in Canada is more desirable than studying in your home country. What advantages will you get from studying in Canada? What makes the program you chose better than similar programs available in your region?
Finally, you must explain what your post-study plan is. Share with the immigration officer what your professional goals are, and how you will be better prepared to achieve them after graduation. Will you apply to higher jobs in the industry? Will you go back home to open a business? Will you start a new career path?
Take the opportunity to use the study plan as a way to give information about yourself, your family, and your dreams for the immigration officer to get to know you better and make it easier for them to approve your application. In the online course I created about how to prepare your own student permit application, I provide a thorough template of how a study plan should be written. You have access to this template when you purchase the course.
© North Horizon Immigration Online School 2022
2. Poorly Organized Documents
Imagine that someone emailed you all kinds of scanned documents with random names like "scanner000011556752_7" and asked you to order them and create a summary story about them in 5 minutes. You would probably be stressed and a little frustrated. Well, this is exactly how immigration officers feel when they receive applications that are poorly organized. Most likely, you will submit your student permit application online and you will upload several scanned documents. Remember that on the other side of the electronic portal, there is a real human being who will download the documents you sent. They will save them in a folder and need to click to open them, quickly review them, and decide whether or not you are authorized to come study in Canada. It's important to make the work of the immigration officers as enjoyable as possible by providing them with scanned documents that have clear names describing what is inside of them. If some documents have several pages, for example bank account statements, take the time to organize the PDF in chronological order and even highlighting the final balance, the name of the account holder, and the date of the statement.
Taking the extra minutes to organize your PDF files means the officer does not need to take their time to do this tedious job, they will be able to feel more relaxed when looking at your application and will understand it better, increasing your chances of being approved.
3. Proof of Funds
Since your main objective when studying in Canada is to attend class and graduate, you should not be worried about money while you are in Canada. Showing how much money you have available for your stay in Canada is one of the most important parts of the student permit application. Provide bank account statements of at least 6 months and explain how you obtained the money you have. For example, if you received a loan from an institution in your home country, provide the documents related to the loan. If a family member is giving you money to help you while you are in Canada, provide a letter from this person and a bank account statement showing the transfer you received. If you sold a car, provide the proof of sale showing the amount of money you received. If you are receiving rental income from a property back home, provide the rental agreement. In general terms, a student is expected to have $10 000 CAD in savings available for his stay in Canada, his partner should have $4000 CAD and each child should have $3000 CAD. If you can show more money, it is also encouraged.
4. Ties to Your Country
A student permit is considered a temporary residency in Canada. This means your student permit will have an expiration date and it is your responsibility to prove to the immigration officer reviewing your application that you have the intention to return to your home country after you finish your studies. Some study programs in Canada allow students who graduate to receive a work permit and stay in Canada. Nonetheless, you still need to show you have ties to your country and will not remain in Canada without status once you graduate. One of the best ways to show ties to your country is through property ownership. This is particularly true for mature students who already have a professional career in their home country. Owning a property is not a decision factor for young students, for example, a 19 years old student who will start a bachelor's degree is not expected to own property. If you do not own a property in your home country, it is beneficial to demonstrate your job prospects. For example, if you have had a constant career, providing letters of reference from previous employers can prove that you are connected to your professional network and can easily apply for jobs again in your home country after graduation. Showing proof that you have travelled outside of your country in the past can also show your ties. For example, provide the pages of your passport with travel stamps and visas to prove that you respect other countries' immigration rules and that you can return home.
If you feel ready to apply for your student permit and would like to have extra guidance during the process, I encourage you to purchase the online course I created that explains how to prepare a complete student permit application. The course teaches you how to create your online profile with Canadian immigration, which forms must be filled out, which documents to upload and a template for a study plan.
© North Horizon Immigration Online School 2022