Find information about which schools offer the disciplines or programs of study you plan to pursue. CICIC offers a complete list of educational institutions in Canada. See our database to find a Canadian program.
Consult the website of each institution to access an application form, for general information about the campus, as well as specific information on your planned program of study; admission requirements; the availability of second-language courses, scholarships and teaching/research assistantships; residences; and application fees. You can also send an email, letter or fax to request information about any special services available on campus for international students.
Review the information kits from all the institutions contacted and decide which one (or ones) hold the most appeal. Your application should include all required documentation, such as your official academic transcripts. If that material is unavailable, inform the college or university admissions office that you will send it as soon as you receive it. You should also apply for any scholarships or teaching/research assistant positions that interest you and for which you may be eligible.
Confirm your acceptance or rejection when you have received your offer of admission. Accept only one offer.
Apply for campus housing, if available, as soon as possible since space at campus dormitories, commonly called residences, is always at a premium and is reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once your letter of acceptance has been forwarded to the institution, contact the nearest Canadian diplomatic mission and request information on how to apply for a study permit, which should be filed at least three months before school begins. You can download some of this information and forms from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
Find out if you will require a visitor visa and need to undergo a medical examination (a list appears at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website). A personal interview with a visa officer may be required, therefore any documentation that illustrates your background, such as letters of reference from teachers, previous employers or someone of profile from your home country, can be of assistance to you.
Should you be attending a Québec university or college, follow the instructions sent along with your letter of admission to obtain a certificat d’acceptation du Québec.
To obtain a study permit, which carries a fee, you will need a valid passport and be required to show evidence that you have the financial means to cover tuition and living expenses for you and any dependents, including return transportation.
Give yourself plenty of time when getting ready to move to Canada. Determine the most cost-effective means of transporting your belongings; sending luggage by air is generally the most expensive route to take. Check with the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate, or visit the Canadian Border Services Agency website. Canada has restrictions on the importation of certain items.
You should plan to arrive in Canada at least two to three weeks before classes commence. That extra time will enable you to find accommodation, if required, purchase health insurance (which is required), open a bank account, and get used to a place you will call home for a while.
Familiarize yourself as much as you can with the country, region and community you will be living in during the course of your studies. A host of information is available about Canada on CBIE’s Student Centre website and the Government of Canada’s main site.
Find out from your institution who the International Student Advisor (ISA) is and where you can get help if you need it.
Decide if you want to participate in orientation activities if any are offered; participation is highly recommended to ensure a good start to your studies and Canadian experience generally.
Tips for Travel to Canada
Baggage: Airlines restrict the weight of the baggage that may accompany you on your flight, and charge heavily for an excess. Forwarding your belongings by sea may be the cheapest way to send what you cannot take with you on the flight. Be sure to make an itemized list and retain all way-bills for everything you ship separately.
Customs regulations: There are restrictions on the import of certain items into Canada, such as plants, food, drugs, some technical equipment, and so on. Information on customs regulations should be obtained at a Canadian diplomatic mission. Students travelling to cities beyond their initial entry point into Canada should allow at least two hours for customs and immigration clearance formalities.