Getting a Canadian Study Visa Simplified
The First-hand Experience of a Young Nigerian
My vision or perhaps my father’s dream has always bordered on studying how power and energy systems work outside the borders of my country, Nigeria. I worked very hard to graduate with a second class upper degree in electrical engineering in one of the most prestigious universities in Nigeria. That was all I needed to soar – I thought. Financial constraints were not an issue for me. My father had a building he wanted to sell to sponsor my study.
I started the process of a postgraduate degree in Canada as a Nigerian in 2015. I was rounding off my NYSC programme and the plan was to travel immediately. Oh! I forgot that I wasn’t a Minister’s son. And none of my family members lived in Canada. So my attempt to get a Canadian study visa failed twice - trust me, this doesn’t feel good at all. I realised I missed some important pieces of information in the first two applications.
My third attempt was successful and here, I will share the processes involved in getting a Canadian study visa as a Nigerian that worked for me.
Canada wasn't my first choice at all. Day and night I had fantasies about Estonia. Of course, Estonia is a good country with advanced technology and affordable tuition fees, but when I got facts about studying in Canada, my goals shifted. Canada has a peaceful ambience with low crime rates. The education system of Canada is considered as the most knowledgeable and they have all the high graduate and skilled professors in colleges. Most Nigerian students who want to further their study, like me, go to Canada to learn new and innovative skills. The country is one of the most sought-after countries by international students. Also a land of opportunities, Canada focuses on research, scientific publications and international collaborations.
Canada Visa Requirement for a Nigerian Citizen
First, I surfed the internet for profiles of institutions and listings of their programs. I also researched individual university websites using Universities Canada website, which includes a searchable database of the study programs found in this directory.
I was particular about the institutions I considered, and the communities they’re in, to make sure I made the best possible choice. I contacted some officials who deal with international students at the universities which i was interested in, this helped me a lot in making my decision.
When I found the desired University, I contacted the institution about the program and sent my transcripts to obtain an acceptance letter. The acceptance letter is a standard letter that spells out further conditions before I could start education in Canada.
One of the conditions for those under 19 years old, who desire to study in Canada, is the need for a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident as guardian. They will need to produce a letter stating their willingness to be your guardian and further proof of their status. Most established schools or universities will arrange this for their students after they've paid a semester’s fee or paid for school approved accommodation. I wasn't faced with this constraint as I was already in my mid-20s when I applied for the study Visa.
One of the critical challenges I had was presenting a proof of sufficient funds. (Usually fees of 1 academic year + about CAD30,000 per year). This guideline will often change and the Canadian mission (High Commissioner, Embassy, Consulate) will guide you on this. As stated earlier, the funds for my study was meant to come from a property my father was to sell. Unfortunately, the buyer didn't pay the full price. All thanks to other sources of income generation that rescued the situation.
Next, I had to undergo and pass a medical examination by a panel doctor acceptable by the Canadian mission (they provided me with a list). Only candidates who have completed some stages will be called for the medical examination.
Also, I paid for the application fees and submitted my valid identity documents including passport. To get a Canadian study visa, a Nigerian needs to be free from criminal history anywhere in the world. And yes, I have always been a good guy!
Canada Visa Online Application in Nigeria
After getting your acceptance letter, you need to follow these step by step processes to get your study permit:
- Fill the questionnaire for study permit here
- When you open the above link, it will take you to the apply for study permit page. There, select ‘Apply Online’, and then click on ‘Determine your eligibility and apply online’.
- On next page, click on ‘Check your eligibility’. It will then ask you a series of questions. You should answer all the questions accurately. After answering all the questions in the questionnaire, it will tell you if you are eligible to come to Canada as a student. If yes, it will give you an option to continue. On clicking on continue, it will again ask you a series of question to generate your personal checklist. After answering all the questions, your checklist will be generated and will contain your reference code. Save this checklist as a pdf for reference.
- Create an account by going to this link and selecting ‘Continue to GC Key’.
- Sign into your account. Under the ‘What would you like to do today?’ section, you will see an option to apply for: ‘Visitor Visa, study and/or work permit’. Click on it. Enter your personal reference code that was generated in step 2. Your document checklist will now get linked to this application.
- Now you just need to upload all the documents mentioned as per part of your personal checklist.
- Most of the documents requested are quite straight forward. You will need to fill up the application form along with the family information form. The document that most students want to know about is the Proof of Financial Support document. So here, I will list down what all I included as part of this document in sequence:
- a) Index
- b) Details of Funds Availability
- c) Affidavit of support stating that my parents will be financially supporting my education.
- h) Copy of receipt of the fees that has already been paid to the university (if applicable)
PS: This article is by no means a legal advice and it is just a summary of my personal experience of going through the process of applying for the Canadian Study Permit. Every individual case may vary. Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries.
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