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Mark your Calendar - plan your Canada Study Permit in advance

Last August, 2022, Immigration Canada reported that it had 163,000 applications for study permit still unresolved. The announcement was an honourable acknowledgement, of highly significant failing. It was a falling, that caused major frustration and disappointment to international students worldwide.

So how do you know if you are starting the process in enough time?

There are two key markers for this:(1) the admission process and (2) the study permit process.


For both of these, the timing is uncertain and also whether you will get a positive decision is uncertain. This introduces a lot of doubt and creates planning difficulty.

As a general guideline if you are submitting a complete application as a high school graduate for a diploma or degree program, these applications usually move quickly: about 1-3 weeks.

If you are applying as a degree-holder for a post-graduate diploma, these also usually move within 1-3 weeks. But for those applying for Master-level degrees, the time frames more commonly take 3-6 weeks and it is not so uncommon that decisions may take several months.


What about the Study Permit process? Immigration Canada sometimes may publish expected timelines for processing times but these are commonly not reliable. Processing may be much faster or much slower than what is published. At CUAC, we are constantly adjusting our projections based on the latest information we are gathering from the most recent students’ study permit applications. It is also important to note that variations can be huge depending on your nationality, where you apply, and when you apply.

Fundamentally good advice, is try to leave a lot of time and to apply when application volume is less (for example, for September sessions, try to apply in March-May).

Also fundamentally good advice: absolutely make sure your application is complete and accurate. If it is possible to do biometric testing in your country early in the process then consider that. You risk spending the money and later being refused. But otherwise, once you are approved, you will lose time as Canada will ask you to do biometric testing.

One final piece of advice. Before you apply for admission to a program, find out the following:

1. when is the next intake for that program? Is it in 4 months? 8 months? Or one year?

2. what is the process to defer to a later intake if the study permit does not arrive in time to start the program. Some programs will not give an automatic deferral and even require students to apply again. Many do give a deferral to the next program.

3. is there an option for on-line study if the intake begins before you have a study permit, and

4. what is the policy for withdrawing with a full refund if you must pay your fees in advance? Especially if you are starting as an on-lie student, you may find yourself, having paid a lot of fees, only to find out Canada has refused your study permit and so you will have no chance to complete your program unless you successfully apply again.

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