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How to improve your chances of getting a study permit


People who apply to study in Canada should be aware of the requirements, the immigration officer’s discretion, and the options for moving on if their application is denied.


One of the most sought-after locations in the world for international students is still Canada. Canada welcomes a sizable number of students from overseas each year, accepting nearly 450,000 new international students in 2021 alone thanks to its strong educational standards and internationally recognized institutions.


Although Canada welcomes many foreign students each year, some of their applications for study permits are rejected. To be successful when applying, applicants should carefully evaluate the eligibility requirements established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the judgment of the IRCC immigration officer examining their application.


Make sure you’re qualified


Notably, candidates must meet the requirements in order to be granted a study permit. Applicants may do this by demonstrating that they:

  • A Designated Learning Institution (DLI), which is a facility permitted to house foreign students by a provincial or territorial authority, has approved them to study there;

  • Abide by the law, don’t have any criminal convictions, and pose no threat to Canada’s security. Additionally, a police clearance certificate or certificates may be needed;

  • Are in good health and ready to undergo a medical examination if necessary.


However, be aware that the examining immigration officer’s judgment also plays a role in whether a study permit application is accepted or rejected.


Your immigration officer’s discretion


Success may depend on an applicant’s ability to convince immigration officials that they can fulfill the requirements of their stay as a student.


Other than ineligibility, there are two common reasons why petitions are rejected (though there are others as well); they include applicants failing to persuade immigration officials:

  • Their true reason for being in Canada is to study; between 2019 and 2021, 77% of study visa denials were attributable to IRCC not being convinced that the applicant’s visit was for educational purposes;

  • They will leave Canada after their stay is up; 26% of study visa applications that were denied (during the same time period) did so because the IRCC was unconvinced that the applicants would depart from Canada given their financial situation and personal possessions.


People applying should check to see if their submissions demonstrate this as clearly as feasible in light of this issue. For instance, applicants are more likely to be accepted if they:

  • Ensure that they demonstrate a clear, logical progression from their prior education to the Canadian education they are pursuing;

  • Ensure they can provide official papers as confirmation of their financial status;

  • Ensure that they fulfill the English/French prerequisites for immigration;

  • Describe any significant gaps in their education in your application;

  • make it clear that they intend to depart Canada once their studies are finished;

  • making sure they submit a dual intent application if they simultaneously submitted an application for permanent residency (PR). When a foreign national who has applied (or might apply) for PR also requests to enter Canada temporarily as a guest, worker, or student, this is referred to as having dual intent; and

  • Include any additional supporting paperwork or information in your submissions to offer the officer more confidence in reviewing your study permit.


Additionally, applicants can look at the streams of study permits for which they might qualify. For nationals of particular nations, the Student Direct Stream is a preferred route to obtaining a Canadian study permit. Due to the stricter qualifying requirements for this stream, acceptance rates are often higher; those who are accepted will benefit from accelerated processing timeframes.


What to do if your application is rejected


Even though a study permit denial can be discouraging, candidates can still move forward with their studies in Canada and even improve their chances of approval by reapplying.


Applicants might reflect on the reasons for their rejection (as stated in the rejection letter) and modify their applications if necessary. Unless otherwise specified, IRCC does not have a waiting period between applications; therefore, applicants may reapply whenever they are prepared.


Last but not least, if an applicant feels that they have been wrongfully rejected (and that they do fit the eligibility requirements) based on the grounds listed in the refusal letter, they may seek for a review of their decision by the Federal Court of Canada.



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