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Canada pushes to approve students in time for September, 2020 classes

July 24, 2020 It has been many stressful months as the pandemic has turned the plans of so many upside-down.

Since we started in 1997, we at CUAC have only ever focussed on recruitment of international students to Canada. So for us as a global organization, our undivided attention is on Canada. For our own students, as well as all those hoping to continue their higher studies in Canada, we share their anxiety.

For the past months we have been updating students and their families on the latest news from Canada. You can find these articles under the blog category called “study visa”. Yesterday, one of Canada’s most senior immigration officials presented at a webinar reviewing the latest changes that were reported in our most recent blog which you can find here.

The key points that were discussed in that blog from July 14, 2020 are now clearer.

There are three situations students will fall under if they are applying for September, 2020.

1. Situation 1 – Study permit will be issued – Everything is complete 2. Situation 2 – Approval-in-Principal will be issued as fast as possible The medical exam, or the biometric information, or the security clearance is missing. 3. Situation 3 – Nothing will be issued – the file will remain open Other documents are missing – proof of English proficiency, or other basic documents

Situation 1

If all documents have been submitted, and all processes can be completed, if the study permit is approved, the student will be told to supply the passport for the issuance of the study permit. These files, absolutely complete ones, will get the top priority, since they can be evaluated all in one time.


Because of the corona virus there are many challenges. These are key examples: A. In many countries the Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed and students can’t complete the biometrical information.

B. In many countries, Designated Medical Practitioners (DMPs) who perform the official medical examinations are inactive or have a big waiting list.

C. In many countries, there are delays in doing the security clearance checking.

D. In many countries if VACs are closed there is no current facility for a student to deposit her passport.

In these cases, Canada has introduced a new speedy system in which it gives successful study permit applicants confirmation called: Approval-in-Principle” (AIP)

Why did Canada introduce this?

There are two reasons. The first reason is to help families and students confidently pay tuition and start classes before September. Many families have already paid tuition and students will be starting on-line classes in September. But some students or families are hesitant to pay tuition and start classes without a clearer idea if the study permit will be issued.

The plan of this program is to be really fast – in time for students to know if they are approved in principle before classes begin in September, 2020. The government of Canada advises that on-line advice of how long the process can take is not to be relied on in the current condition. The current advice is Canada will move as fast as it can to make its decisions.

If an AIP is issued this does not mean a study permit is guaranteed. But it is a near-guarantee. The main reasons for refusal after an AIP would be a medical problem (usually tuberculosis which can be treated and corrected), a criminal connection to the student, or if the application contained lies or fake information. Usually these are factors known to the student (sometimes tuberculosis is not known to the student but she can get it treated and eventually the student can get the study permit).

The second reason is if a student has AIP before starting on-line classes, these classes will count towards the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) if the on-line part is no more than 50% of the program. For students doing Bachelor or longer degrees, this is not so important. But for students doing shorter degrees or diplomas, this can be very valuable and important.

Situation 3

If a student is missing other documents such as an application form, payment, an admission letter from the institution or – in countries like India – where an IELTS is required for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) or proof of English proficiency for the general stream (IELTS or TOEFL usually), then even an AIP can’t be issued.

In these cases the government of Canada announced many weeks ago that it will not close these files. Because of the pandemic situation, it will keep the files open and give students a long time to complete the files and then a decision will be made once everything is complete.

Key Advice

KEY ADVICE – if a student wanting a study permit for September, 2020 has already submitted her application for a study permit

Be sure all required documents were submitted – if anything was missing submit it as soon as possibLe. If everything is complete except for the biometric information and the medical documentation, and all is in order then the Canadian government is trying to issue an AIP by early September 2020.

KEY ADVICE – if a student wanting a study permit for September, 2020 has NOT already submitted her application for a study permit

Submit your study permit application as soon as possible and try to make it complete except for the biometric information and medical documentation. The Canadian government will try to issue an AIP by early September 2020.

As always questions can be sent to

We will continue to update the situation in this blog. To be sure you don’t miss any update, use our subscription facility and you will get updates automatically.

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