Occupying the northern half of the North American continent, Canada is the world’s second biggest country. Known for its natural beauty – few nations in the world can boast anything close to Canada’s wealth of forests, lakes and mountains
– it is also one of the most prosperous nations in the world, despite the fact that the entire country’s population is smaller than that of California alone.
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The process for obtaining a study permit is as follows:
• Before you begin the process proper, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recommend that you check the processing times to see how long it’ll take, which you can do on its website. Paper applications take about twice as long as online ones.
• The next stage is to get an application package, either from the CIC website or by contacting your local Canadian visa office. You may also need to obtain a temporary residence permit if you are from a designated country, but this will not complicate matters too much as it’ll be processed at the same time as your study permit application.
• Unless you’re from the US, St. Pierre and Miquelon, or Greenland (you will need to prove your citizenship), you will need to prove you have a passport which allows you to return to your country of origin after your course is complete. Two passport-sized pictures are also required, with your name and date of birth written on the back.
• You’ll also have to prove you have enough money to support yourself. At present this is deemed to be C$10,000 for every year of your stay (C$11,000 if you’re living in Quebec) on top of your tuition fees. To prove you have this money you can provide any of the following proofs: four month’s worth of bank statements, evidence of a Canadian account in your name if the money’s been transferred, a bank draft in a convertible currency, proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees, a letter from a person or institution providing you with money, or proof of funding paid from within Canada if you have a scholarship or are undertaking a Canadian-funded program.
• You will need to pay an application fee of C$125. If you are from a designated country, you will also be required to submit some medical information.
• You will not be able to get a study permit if you have a criminal record, and you must confirm that you will be leaving the country afterwards (this will include having enough money to pay for transportation back home), though, of course, you can apply to stay on and work in Canada when you’re degree is over.
• You may have to attend an interview at your local visa office.
• Students studying in Quebec must also apply for a certificate of acceptance, known as a CAQ, from the government of Quebec. You must acquire this before you are permitted to apply for a study permit. You can do this online, by printing out a form, or by requesting a paper form from your university, who will also provide advice on this subject.
• If and when it’s decided you can study in Canada, you’ll receive a letter of introduction, and a temporary residence visa if required. Present these along with your passport, proof of your finances and your letter of acceptance (and any other documents that you’ve been advised to take) to the border control agency in Canada, who will then give you your study permit.
At-a-glance facts about Canada
• Made up of ten provinces
• Official head of state is UK monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II), who appoints a governor general (currently David Johnston) to whom ceremonial duties are delegated
• Head of government is prime minister (currently Stephen Harper)
• Capital city is Ottawa
• Official languages are English and French (spoken mostly in the Quebec province)
• Gained independence from the UK in 1931
• Population estimated to be 34,030,589 by the CIA World Factbook
• With a total landmass of 3,855,100 square miles, Canada is the world’s second biggest country
• Most popular sport is ice hockey – sometimes simply referred to as hockey
• 80% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada
• Currency is Canadian dollar, symbol: $ or C$, C$1 = US$1
• Time zone varies from UTC-3.5 to UTC-8, changing to UTC-2.5 to UTC-8 during summer months
• International dialling code is +1
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