First-hand insights into the Study Permit application process
Students and parents might wonder what is in a visa officer’s mind when they review an application for a study permit.
A visa officer always wants to make sure that the student whose file is in front of them is going to Canada to study.
Visa officers want to approve cases. I know, because I was one, for many years, in China, Hong Kong, and in India. I’ve been asked by the Maple Assist folks to share some of my insights with their readers about how things work, how decisions are taken, and other information that prospective and new students might benefit from knowing. This first set of articles are all about Study Permits, and how to understand what is needed for you to meet the requirements for the issuance of a Study Permit.
Visa officers understand the importance of international students for our colleges and universities, communities, and our country.
Canada allows students to work while studying, and, if you meet certain conditions, to remain on after graduation working and then applying to become a permanent resident. Visa officers understand that. They can’t predict the future, though, so they need to make sure that while you are in Canada for your studies, that you are actually studying. Makes sense, right?
So, to do their job properly, a visa officer must ensure that every student is genuine – in other words, that they truly intend to study. Your job is to provide them with the right information to help them make that decision. The best way for you to help the visa officer is to ensure that your application is as complete as possible, with all the information easily understandable and well organized.
The Canadian government believes that students should be able to fill these out the application forms themselves. If you are asking someone to help you, like an agent or even a friend, that agent or person must sign the form where it asks the question.
Remember that truthfulness on the application is the most important thing – you can be banned from Canada for five years if your application contains false information. A visa officer wants to understand who you are, that it’s reasonable for you to go to Canada to study, and that you will do what you set out to do without breaking any laws. Tell the truth and be honest in your application.
This is a 5 article series on Study Permits. Stay tuned for the next segment!
Remember: Visa officers look at thousands of cases during an application season. They need to be able to look at a case and make the best assessment as quickly as possible. Make it easy for them by providing clear information that makes sense!
Content provided for Maple Assist by Ivy Lerner-Frank
Ivy Lerner-Frank is a former Canadian diplomat whose career has focused on people: as a visa officer in Hong Kong, Beijing, and New Delhi, and as Trade Commissioner promoting innovation and education in Beijing and New Delhi. A previous Director of the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program, a pre-arrival service for new immigrants funded by the Government of Canada, Ivy is the founder and CEO of Lerner/Frank Consultants, providing strategic advice to institutions and organizations seeking to navigate the international education landscape.
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