A study performed in 2019 showed that Canada currently has the third-highest amount of international students in the world. The only countries that top it are the USA and Australia. In total, Canada has over 600,000 international students attending its various educational institutions. This means that Canada has eclipsed the UK as a favoured destination for students. This isn’t without reason. Canada’s universities and study environment have grown immensely popular in recent years, and the Canadian government has fully capitalised on this through various campaigns and attractive benefits for foreign students. If we look at just the past decade, the amount of foreign students studying in Canada almost tripled.
Suffice to say, Canada is an extremely popular destination for international students, whether it be to simply visit for a semester or two and experience the local culture, or to attend a college full-time. Going to study in Canada takes a great deal of preparation, from deciding on your courses to housing and maybe even a job on campus. Key in this, and indeed in any trip abroad, is getting your visa paperwork in order. The world has grown a lot safer in recent years, and part of this is due to increased vigilance when it comes to international travel.
Do I need a visa to study in Canada?
Not necessarily. Most people assume that its logical that you would need a visa for any extended trip abroad, and for many countries this is certainly the case. Canada is different, however. If you are a British or European national, an eTA Canada suffices. The most important requirements here is that your stay in Canada cannot last longer than six months. So if you are planning to study in Canada for less than six months, you can circumvent the lengthy and complicated study permit procedure, and instead simply apply for an eTA and be on your way.Take note, however, that an eTA comes with limitations. The most relevant one for students is that you are not allowed to work in Canada on an eTA. This includes side jobs on campus. The Canadian government is fairly strict in this. If you wish to work alongside your studies, you need a special study permit or a work permit. Likewise, if you are planning an extended study in Canada which lasts more than six months, a study permit is required. These usually automatically come with a valid eTA Canada, so you won’t need to also make sure your visa paperwork is in order.
Can I temporarily leave Canada during my studies?
Yes, this is possible without any problems. You are free to leave the country and return as often as you like. The only requirement here is that your eTA Canada is still valid when you return to Canada to continue your studies. In rare cases it can occur that your study permit is still valid, but your eTA has expired. In that case, you need to personally renew your eTA before you can enter Canada.
Applying for an eTA
The benefits of applying for an eTA is that it is faster and cheaper to get compared to a standard visa. To purchase an eTA, all you need to do is fill in the online application form, which generally doesn’t take longer than five to ten minutes. If the application is approved, the databases of the Canadian immigration service and the airlines will automatically list you as someone who can enter the country. You don’t need to print anything; just showing your passport at the airport is enough for customs to check whether you have a valid eTA.