Studying in Canada is a great way to advance your education and begin your pathway towards a work permit and permanent residency. Unfortunately, getting your study permit approved is hard. Roughly half of all study permits are refused. And once you are refused, it is even harder to overcome this decision and get your study permit approved. For this reason, it is important to make sure your study permit is done right the first time. If you have been refused before, you have an even stronger reason to make sure your application is perfect.
As an immigration lawyer, I have worked on study permits for clients from across the world, including those who have been refused before. Usually, I can get the person’s application approved.
Although each client is unique, there are several common themes I have noticed. Here are four tips to help improve your chance of getting your study permit approved.
A frequent reason why study permits are refused is because of “insufficient finances”. To get your study permit, you must show you have at least $10,000 plus the cost of unpaid tuition for the first year of school.
Usually, people who can afford to study in Canada have at least this amount. However, they are often refused because the documents they provide are not convincing. For instance, often they provide a bank statement from a family member, without explaining their relationship with that family member. I have also seen refused study permits where the person provided their bank statement, but only for the past month.
To avoid having your application refused for “insufficient finances”, I have four recommendations. First, try your best to show you have far more than $10,000 plus the cost of unpaid tuition. For instance, someone who has paid their tuition but only has $11,000 in a bank account might still be refused, even though they have the required minimum amount of money. In this situation, I often get clients to find other bank accounts, so that they can show they have more money. Second, provide bank statements for at least the last four months. Third, if there are any sudden surges or decreases in the amount of money in the bank statements, please make sure to provide an explanation in your submission.
Finally, if a family member is providing you financial support, have them write a letter explaining their relationship with you. Some people are not close with their family, so it’s important that the letter shows there is a genuine relationship. It will actually improve your application if they show a lot of affection and love towards you in their letter.
People are also refused an application because they have not demonstrated a sufficient need to study in Canada. Yes, you want to study in Canada—but why do you want to study in Canada?
I am often surprised to find people who are very passionate about studying in Canada, yet do not provide any explanation in their application on why they are coming here. Often these applications end up being refused. When I work with clients, I have them write a four-page letter of explanation. While this might take time to do, it will save them time if it means there application ends up being approved.
In the letter, you should not only explain why you want to study in Canada, but also why you don’t want to study in your home country. Common reasons why people don’t want to study in their home country is because the program is not available or the quality of education and equipment is poor.
One of the weird things about immigration is that while you need show why you want to study in Canada, you also need to show that you will not overstay your visa. To do this, you need to show that you have compelling reasons to return to your home country. Compelling reasons include family (especially those who need to take care of), a job offer or work opportunities. If you have lived in country your whole life, you should bring this up in your application. Mention the fact that you have done most your education in your home country and that most of your friends are there.
If you can afford to study in Canada, you can afford an immigration lawyer. Lawyers often cost a few thousand dollars. But this price is worth it. Most immigration lawyers have done dozens of study permits. They know what makes an application strong and can spot mistakes that most people can’t. A good lawyer will help you gather documents, spots mistakes and put together a strong application.
Although you might be successful doing a study permit application yourself, the risks are high. As mentioned, roughly half of all study permits are refused. If you are refused, it will be even more difficult to get your application approved if you try to apply again. Therefore, it is best to retain an immigration lawyer the first time you apply. Nonetheless, if you have been refused do not worry. A good lawyer can often overcome the reasons you were refused and get your application approved.
Disclaimer: the content of this article does not constitute legal advice. Information in this article may have changed by the time you read it.