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Study in Canada

Are you interested in studying in a multicultural, safe and avant-garde country? Would you like to learn or improve your English? Then Canada is definitely your best option. With 21 of the top 500 universities in the world, and being number 32 in the top 1000, Canada welcomes more than 642,000 foreign students a year. Would you like to be one of them? Here we tell you how.

How to study in Canada as a foreigner? What do you need?

In addition to being one of the best 10 countries to live in , according to the UN, for its incredible quality of life and its low rate of crime and violence, Canada has an educational system that is enviable for many other nations. The number of opportunities offered to its students, both local and international, contribute to further developing the multiculturalism that characterizes it, making it the best option if you are interested in studying in another country. You only have to follow a series of very simple steps, which we will explain in depth later, and you are ready to embark on the journey. These are:

  • Meet the entrance requirements of the university or institution to which you are applying.
  • Decide the course you want to study.
  • Take a language test.
  • Apply to a college.
  • Apply for a study permit.

Canada has several types of visa, according to the needs of the applicant, but for educational purposes, there are two main ones:

  1. Electronic travel authorization visa (eTA), processing it does not take more than 20 minutes but it does not allow you to work and it is used for courses whose duration is less than six months.
  2. Student visa , whose processing takes from 2 to 4 weeks but, contrary to the eTA, with it you do have the opportunity to work part-time along with your studies, and the permit extends from 6 months to 3 years, depending on the duration of the course.

In addition to taking into account the type of visa to which you are going to apply, it would be important to emphasize that contrary to other countries, Canada offers two main modalities of higher education, universities and colleges, institutions that, although they have the same academic objective, have with differences in the way in which they develop the programs they offer.

Colleges provide a more specialized, flexible and practical education than universities, their main objective is to train professionals who integrate into the world of work quickly, they offer short and university degrees, so it should definitely be your first option if you are interested in staying in Canada after graduation.

Are you interested in studying a language course? Would you like to improve your English? It is possible to do it with the wide variety of academies offered by the Canadian educational system! For this purpose there is no specific visa , but it is important to consider the duration of the course to know which visa to apply for, in case your course lasts less than six months, the eTA visa will be more than enough.

On the other hand, assuming that your objective is to stay to do a specialization in the language, and studying it will take you more than six months, it is important to apply for a student visa. In any of the cases, unfortunately, studying a language does not allow you to work since these are facilities that you can only use if you study a technical course, in a college or university.

Next, we help you with some important information to consider if you want to go study in this wonderful country.

How much does it cost to live in Canada?

Shared room
in the capital


Shared room
in another city

$190 / $550

2 bedroom apartment
in the capital


2 bedroom apartment
in another city

$615 / $1150

Bus or Metro ticket


Movie Ticket


A beer in a bar


A beer in the supermarket


Typical Street Food

$8 / $12

Meal in a Restaurant


Medical consultation

$300 / $770

Phone plans


Average Cost of Living per Month

USD $920

Before embarking on the adventure, there are several economic issues that you should consider your initial budget, such as the plane ticket, the cost of the visa, medical insurance, the first weeks of accommodation before finding the place in the that you will definitely stay, the first payment of the course you are going to study and, approximately, $920 for the first month . Although it is not exactly an affordable country, if you organize your finances before, during and after the trip, you will be able to enjoy its high quality of life during your stay without any problem. There are four fundamental points to consider:

  • The type of visa to which you are going to apply, since this will depend on whether the Canadian authorities allow you to work, or not, the time you remain in the country.
  • The city and area in which you are going to live.
  • What are you going to work on and how much are you going to earn?
  • What is the cost of tuition for the course you are going to take?

Can you study in Canada for free?

Although Canadian public education is not free, there is always the option of applying for a scholarship in order to minimize travel expenses and not miss out on this incredible experience. Even so, studying in this wonderful country is still much cheaper than doing it in other places. According to research by the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2003, Canada offers the lowest tuition fees for foreign students compared to the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to the fact that the cost of, for example, public universities in the United States are almost 33% higher than universities in Canada, not to mention private education, which costs twice as much.

Study at the University in Canada

Although the admission process, in addition to the requested requirements, vary according to the university, there are certain characteristics to consider about the higher education system in Canada:

  • Universities in Canada have a rigorous admissions process. Being accepted into a Canadian university is a complicated process, since, for the most part, the requested requirements are obtained when studying secondary education in the country.
  • Colleges are an alternative for foreign students. Colleges are a great alternative for foreign students who intend to study in Canada, since their admission processes and requirements are much more accessible.
  • There is no admission test. The selection process is based on academic history and other requirements. However, for foreign students, it is necessary to present an English proficiency test such as IELS, TOEFL, etc.
  • Colleges and universities have joint majors. Through the University Transfer Programs (PTU) you can study the first 2 or 3 years of a degree at a college, and later you transfer to a university to complete the last years of the degree and graduate with a university degree. At the end you receive two degrees: one for studies in college and another for graduating from the university.
  • Entrance scholarships are limited. Public universities have entrance scholarships mainly for Canadians. As of the second year, international students can now apply for different scholarships that are awarded based on academic merit.

Requirements to study at a Canadian university as a foreigner

There are fewer universities than colleges, so the number of places available is limited, the selection process is so rigorous and competitive that it is estimated that only a percentage of the Canadian student population manages to enter a university immediately after completing high school. Teaching in universities is mostly theoretical, they are 4 or 5-year courses that include common core spaces and practical focus courses; they normally have a single start date, in the month of September, and the costs range from USD $10,000 to $14,000, not counting engineering and science. Their facilities are much larger than those of colleges, and, on average, they offer between 150 and 300 programs of study. Despite the fact that the process and requirements vary according to the institution, in general, the documents that are requested are:

  • Passport valid for your entire stay
  • Enroll in a Canadian government accredited school
  • Get a visa that allows you to study
  • Higher Education Certificate
  • English level certificate (IELTS, TOEFL, FCE, CAE)
  • Medical tests
  • Demonstration of economic funds
  • Motivational letter
  • Criminal record

Requirements to study in a Canadian college

Contrary to universities, there are more colleges in almost all cities and regions of Canada, so there are also many more places available, due to the fact that their admission process is flexible. Although you must have a minimum average, the colleges accept you in order of arrival. Its focus is much more practical, so that, in addition to offering university degrees, they also have short courses, without theoretical or common core subjects. They have three start dates: September, January and May; and the cost is cheaper than that of universities, from USD $6,500 to $10,000. Its facilities are mostly small and its study offer includes 100 to 200 study programs. It should definitely be your main option if you are interested in staying and working after completing your course, since according to the latest statistics, it is estimated that 80% of Canadians study in college. Similarly, despite the fact that the process and requirements vary in relation to the College, in general, the documents that are requested are:

  • Notes certified and translated into English.
  • Translated high school, undergraduate or postgraduate diploma.
  • The College form provided by the advisory agency.
  • Curriculum summary.
  • The result of the English test.

What is the process to be accepted as a foreign student?

After submitting the required documents, according to the type of course you are interested in studying, the next step is to wait for the admission letter from the institution you contacted in order to start the visa application process. What kind of visa? Continue reading, here we explain which one best suits your needs.

Visas to Study in Canada

Find out about the types of visas you can apply for, the process you have to go through to get it and what you have to do in general to meet your goal.

Student visa

What you need to apply for a student visa

Although there are situations in which this type of visa is not required to attend a school in Canada, for example, if the course lasts less than 6 months, the documents that you will be asked to apply for it are:

  • Valid passport.
  • Photocopy of the biometric data page of the passport.
  • 6 passport size photographs.
  • Acceptance letter from the institute or university, certified by the Canadian government, where you want to study.
  • Economic solvency.
  • Certificate of Acceptance in Quebec (CAQ). This requirement applies, if and only if you want to study in this province.
  • Proof of visa payment.

How to apply for a student visa in Canada step by step

Are you interested in applying for this visa? We tell you how, step by step:

  1. Decide which program and university or college you would like to be admitted to. Remember that the main step, before even seeing the visa, is to have the acceptance letter from the institution where you are going to carry out your course. In case you are looking for it externally, it is important that you compare the programs and opportunities that universities and colleges offer you before making a decision regarding where you want to study. If you are studying at the university and are interested in doing a semester elsewhere, have you already approached the academic exchange department? Ask about when, how and how much to pay, what documents you must send, if it is necessary for you to translate your documents and in what format you have to send them, etc. These are important points to consider if you are interested in living this experience.
  2. Have you decided what you want to study? Perfect! Contact the university or college. Although the admission process varies according to the institution, it is important to have a first contact, via email or phone call, to request information and let the administrative area know that you are interested in studying at their school, ask about the facilities, the programs they offer, their teachers, their tuition costs and what opportunities they offer to foreign students. If you think you’ll forget a question, it might be a good idea to make a list of your concerns before you call so you can be fully informed about everything that involves the institution.
  3. Admitted. Great, let’s go for the collection of documents. Have you already completed the admission process and were authorized to study where you wanted? Incredible! It is time to collect the documents requested by the Canadian authorities to apply for the visa, in the previous section we list them for you, investigate if it is necessary to apostille and translate your documents; Go to the Canadian embassy in your city to ask in what format you have to take them. We recommend that you make a digital copy in case it becomes necessary to use them during your stay in Canada.
  4. Wait for notification from the Canadian authorities. After submitting the documents to the Canadian authorities, obtaining a student visa can take several weeks. The application must be submitted directly to the embassy or through the visa application centers (VACs) of each country. The process takes about 4 weeks and costs USD $116 and, in the case of Quebec, the cost is USD $86.
  5. Are you already visa? Excellent! Now only the best part remains, planning the trip. Once your visa is accepted, you can start looking for flights to start your trip, remember to make a budget that includes, at least, the first month of stay in Canada, what you settle on and decide if you would like it or not , work alongside your studies. Expenses such as transportation, food, water, electricity, rent, gas, etc.; are important when putting together this first phase of the plan.

Can you study and work with a student visa in Canada?

With this type of visa, yes. It is possible to work in Canada while you study under any of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) student work programs. You can study and work during your stay in the country, under the following categories:

  • On campus without a Work Permit.
  • Off campus with a Work Permit.
  • In the Cooperation and Internship Programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a Work Permit.

After graduation, as a foreign student you can apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, in which it is possible to extend the work permit for the duration of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. .

Visa electronic travel authorization (eTA)

An eTA is electronically linked to your passport , with which you can travel to Canada as often as you like for short stays (usually for periods of up to six months at a time). It is valid for a maximum of five years or until the passport expires, depending on which of these two situations occurs first. If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA. IMPORTANT: This visa does not guarantee entry into Canada. When you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and other documents and you will need to convince him that you are admissible to enter the country.

Requirements to get a electronic travel authorization

The documents that will be requested are:

  • A valid passport from a country that is visa-exempt
  • A valid email address
  • One of the following acceptable payment methods to pay the $7 CAD (non-refundable) fee:
    • a Visa ® , MasterCard ® or American Express ® card
    • a Visa ® , MasterCard ® or American Express ® prepaid card
    • a MasterCard or Visa debit card
    • a Union Pay ® transaction
    • a JCB ® card
    • an Interac ® card

How to Apply for a eTA in Canada

Applying for an eTA is a simple process that is done online , most applicants receive their visa in a few minutes, however, if additional documents are requested, the process can take a couple of days. It is recommended that you process your visa before booking the flight to Canada. Are you going to apply for this scholarship? These are the steps:

  1. Choose what type of course and where you would like to study. The options are so many that it is difficult to decide what to study, remember that it is important that the course does not last more than six months because, otherwise, this visa will not work for you and it will be necessary to apply for a student visa.
  2. Enter the Official Page of the Government of Canada to apply for the electronic travel authorization (eTA). The process is so simple and fast that everything is done online, on the official website of the Government of Canada, there is a help document that explains step by step how to carry out the process, the cost it has and the duration of the same.
  3. Fill out the online form to make your request. The form cannot be saved, so it is important that you have all the information at hand, in addition to your credit or debit card to make the payment that will be requested at the end of the process.
  4. Pay the USD $6 fee for your eTA after completing the form. Remember how we told you to have your credit or debit card handy? Now is when we need it. Pay the eTA authorization fee online, after filling in the form.
  5. Wait for the notification email from the Canadian authorities. You will receive an email about your eTA application. Most requests are approved within minutes. You may need to submit documents before your application can be approved. If this is the case, an email with instructions will be sent to you within 72 hours.
  6. Did they approve your visa? Excellent! Let’s plan the rest of the trip. When you finish these steps, your application will be complete and you will be able to begin the rest of the planning of your experience, since this type of visa does not allow you to work while you study, do not forget to include in your budget approximately $6,000 for basic housing expenses. plus an amount for emergencies.

Is it allowed to work with eTA in Canada?

Yes and no. Although this type of visa does not allow you to work in Canada, in order to do so it is necessary to process a student or work visa, you can study a course as long as it lasts less than 6 months.

In which universities can I study in Canada?

The 2020 QS World University Rankings , which analyzes and ranks the best universities in the world, included 26 Canadian institutions, three of them ranked in the top 100. The first of these is the University of Toronto, ranked 29, after McGill University, at 35, and the University of British Columbia, at 51. In addition to these, some of the universities to consider if you want to study in this incredible country are:

  • University of Alberta
  • Montreal University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Waterloo
  • Western University
  • University of Calgary
  • Queen’s University

The Most Popular Public Universities in Canada

Private Universities with the best international agreements

There is no specific Visa to study English in Canada

Currently, there is no specific visa to study a language, so it is necessary to apply for the eTA or, in case the course lasts more than 6 months, for the student visa, so as not to have problems with the Canadian authorities. In the second visa it is important to take into consideration that it will be necessary to have the letter of acceptance to the course to be able to apply to it , since it is one of the requirements that will be asked for among the documents to apply for the visa.

Where can I study English in Canada?

Although there are many academies in Canada that offer English courses in the country , some of the most famous are:

  • ILAC
  • global village
  • ILSC
  • embassy
  • EC English

What you need to join an English or French course in Canada

In addition to having your visa, either eTA or student, the general requirements are:

  1. Choose in which academy and which program you would like to study.
  2. Payment of your enrollment in a school.
  3. Take a language level test, it can be online or in person.

Remember that there is no age limit to apply, nor a minimum language level, you can always start from scratch.

What is the process to be accepted in language course?

Before applying for the visa, booking your flights and looking at the issue of the budget, give yourself some time to review and compare the language courses offered by the institutions that we mentioned before, the academic offer is very varied and surely there will be some program that suits all your needs. After processing the visa that you will need, according to the duration of the course you are going to take, and completing the registration process at the language academy, all that remains is to plan the rest of your trip. Remember that it is vitally important that, in case the course is longer than six months, you contact the school before processing the visa , since, for the student visa, they will ask you for the acceptance letter to be able to continue with the procedure.

Scholarships and Grants to Study in Canada

Thanks to the agreements between Canada and many other countries, the number of financing opportunities is very large, some of the scholarships are:

  • Emerging Leaders of the Americas Scholarship
  • Scholarship “Global Link research stays”
  • Quebec Government Scholarships
  • Humber College Scholarships for International Students
  • York University International Scholarships
  • University of British Columbia Scholarships for International Students
  • Vancouver Island University International Regional Scholarships
  • Sheridan College Student Guard International Entrance Scholarships
  • Concordia University Undergraduate Scholarships
  • Carleton University Entrance Scholarships for International Students
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University Scholarships for International Students
  • Dalhousie University Entrance Scholarships

The requirements that most of these scholarships ask you to study in Canada are:

  • TOEFL English test. You need a score between 550 to 580 points.
  • Application and subsequent acceptance by a Canadian educational institution.
  • Curriculum vitae, transcript of grades and letters of recommendation of the student (translated into English and French depending on the institution).

On the official EduCanada website, you can find more information about scholarships and financing for foreign students.

Study and Work in Canada

Despite the fact that, as we mentioned before, there are visas, such as the eTA, where you are not allowed to work and study, regardless of the length of stay in the country, it is possible to do so by means of a student visa , in which the Canadian authorities give you permission to work part-time during the months that the course you are taking lasts. What is a plus if you are interested in staying to work after finishing your studies, would you like to know how to achieve it? Keep reading.

Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in Canada?

It’s possible! Some institutions provide the opportunity for students who have graduated from their courses to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) , a work permit from eight months to three years that allows you to extend your stay. in Canada to continue working, legally, in the country. To obtain this work permit you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Complete an academic, vocational or professional training program at a public college, CEGEP (Quebec only), or Canadian university, lasting at least eight months.
  • Have maintained full-time student status during each of the academic semesters.
  • Have received the final grades for the program and a letter from the institution corroborating the completion of the program.
  • The Post-Graduation Work Permit can be requested up to 180 days after the end of the program, and its duration will depend on the type of program the student has completed.
  • Apply for this permit within six months of the end of the program.

The process is carried out on the Official Immigration Page of the Government of Canada , where you can carry out a free online evaluation to see if you qualify for any of the Canadian immigration programs. The results of this evaluation are delivered to you after 1 or 2 business days. In general, the main objective of the application for a post-graduation work permit is to add points that help to obtain Canadian permanent residence through “Express Entry”, an online immigration system where all foreign workers Qualified people who want to live in Canada create an online profile and enter a “pool” of candidates, the Canadian authorities evaluate the most complete profiles and facilitate immigration procedures for those selected, in order to settle permanently in the country. Although there is the opportunity to work and study during your stay in Canada, it is important to remember that it is not possible to do so if the course you are going to take is English , since the institutions that allow you to work part-time are those that teach technical courses, such as colleges and universities. It must be taken into account that, until last year and according to the UN, 7,960,657 immigrants lived in Canada, which represents 21.52% of its total population; so the chances that you can stay after studying are very high. Are you interested in starting this experience and enjoying the benefits that this wonderful country offers you? At EstudiarEn we help you achieve it, we have expert advisors who will facilitate your process, guiding you all the way.

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