By Josh Schachnow

Studying in Canada has become even more popular in recent years, and Immigration Canada (IRCC) is welcoming it. In 2015, IRCC approved 219,000 study permits – and in 2019, they approved almost double that amount for a total of 404,000

And since study permits are more popular than ever, it’s important to submit it correctly to give yourself the best chance at an approval. Individuals are more than capable of applying for a study permit without the help of a professional, and as a Canadian immigration lawyer, I wanted to highlight 3 tips for submitting yours after reviewing dozens of immigration applications for individuals over the last few years:

Ensure you include all the required documents

One of the hardest parts about filing any immigration application is just determining exactly what you need to submit, especially because forgetting certain documents can lead to a long delay in processing, or even a rejection.

It is highly recommended to apply online, but the problem is that sometimes the IRCC portal doesn’t show you the exact documents needed, as some of them can depend on different circumstances – such as the country you reside in. 

Because of this, I recommend checking 3 places:

  1. Once you create your profile on the IRCC website, answer the respective questions and do a full review of the documents requested in the portal. This is a great starting point.
  2. Check the official study permit document checklist, as it explains the bare minimum that’s required and also goes into some details that the portal does not. You can find the official CIC PDF here.
  3. If you’re applying from outside Canada, review the study permit guide from the IRCC website here. Not only does it go into detail on the application, it provides links to the forms you’ll need and answers some other basic questions.

I have seen far too many applications rejected due to a lack of documentation, so make sure you provide exactly what’s needed. Unfortunately, many clients come to me after they’ve been rejected, so you may want to consider having a professional review them before submission.

Provide the right proof of financial support

For the study permit application, many of the documents you’ll need to provide are quite straight-forward. What can be the most confusing, and take the most amount of time and energy, is the proof of financial support.

In summary, for this proof you must show you can support yourself, and any family members included in your application, for your studies in Canada. If you are attending a Canadian program that is 12 months or less, you only need to show proof that supports you for the length of the program. If your program is for longer than 12 months, you only need to show proof for the first 12 months.

To calculate the exact amount you’ll need, see the CIC screenshot below:

The other important part is that IRCC explains the ways in which you can prove your funds. They are:

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name, if you’ve transferred money to Canada
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution
  • proof of a student or education loan from a bank
  • your bank statements for the past 4 months
  • a bank draft that can be converted to Canadian dollars
  • proof you paid tuition and housing fees
  • a letter from the person or school giving you money or
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada, if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program

This is an important part of your study permit application, so make sure you have acceptable proof for the correct amount of funds.

Double-check everything before you submit

The most important skill you can have for preparing your application is extreme attention to detail. The reason for this is that, as you’ve seen above, you must be very careful in providing the right documents, and you must also make sure you’ve filed in your forms correctly and that they are consistent with any supporting documents you’re including. 

For example, if your study permit application form has certain information on it, but it doesn’t match with information on your passport, or other documents, it can cause confusion for the processing agent, delays and worse. 

The most common issue I see is that people will forget to fill out certain parts of the application, or information will not be consistent between documents. Because of this, my biggest recommendation is to do a full review of all of your documents, at least once, when you’ve finished compiling them. 

Make sure that:

  • You’ve provided all of the forms and documents as mentioned in my first tip
  • Everything is scanned clearly and is legible
  • All information is consistent across all documents
  • There are no gaps in the information or documents you’ve provided
  • Everything has been filled out honestly and accurately

With this in mind, hopefully you will be in a great position to obtain a study permit approval! 

Impacts of Covid-19 on Study Permits

IRCC continues to process study permit applications, but there are a few keys facts to keep in mind:

  • Unless you received a study permit approval before March 18, 2020, you currently cannot travel to Canada
  • Some documents may be difficult to collect for the application process, but IRCC is granting extensions for any documents that can’t be collected due to Covid and will not reject any application due to missing documents due to Covid

  • IRCC and institutions are allowing international students to start their programs online, abroad, with no negative effects on future immigration permits assuming you do not complete more than 50% of your program online

If you do need additional guidance through your study permit process, or other Canadian immigration programs, feel free to check out our free portal at 

This is a guest post written by Joshua Schachnow, B.Com., J.D. (Western), a Toronto-based lawyer who specializes in immigration law. More specifically, he has helped dozens of Canadian companies over 100 individuals from around the world navigate Canadian immigration so they can start a new life here. He is also a co-founder and CEO of – a free platform that helps international students and skilled workers navigate Canadian immigration.