The Different Kinds of Canada Visa for Students

By | May 7, 2022

Canada has an excellent international student visa program that allows foreigners to gain an education in Canada without the need to obtain an additional work visa or study permit. If you want to study in Canada, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of Canada visas available so you can choose the best one for your needs and situation. This guide will walk you through what each kind of Canada student visa entails and the options you have depending on where you plan to study, your country of origin, and other factors.

Express Entry

Under the Canadian Express Entry immigration system, potential immigrants are eligible for an invitation to apply for permanent residence if they score enough points in a strict merit-based point grid. There are currently two programs under the Express Entry immigration system – one program allows applicants to apply via a provincial nomination, while the other one is based on their skills and work experience. One of these programs is suitable for most students who want to immigrate to Canada but are not sure how.


Federal Skilled Workers (FSW)

The federal skilled worker program is a point-based evaluation system that scores an applicant based on a number of factors. The FSW category evaluates foreign workers based on age, education, work experience, language skills and whether or not you have arranged employment in Canada before you arrive. You must be younger than 65 to apply under this category.


Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The CEC is a program developed in 2008 that allows foreign skilled workers to apply for permanent residency in Canada if they have at least 1 year of experience as a skilled worker, or if they are currently working in a highly skilled position. While it’s still possible to get accepted into other categories, it’s easier to do so under CEC since you’re automatically eligible if you already have work experience in Canada. Learn more about student visas here. [Source]


Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

In recent years, there’s been an influx in applications to Canadian province-based economic immigration programs. Each year a certain number of Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) visas are issued to applicants nominated by Canadian provinces. To qualify under PNP programs, applicants must usually have a job offer or business in place, meet minimum language and education criteria, and pass background checks before they can enter Canada. If you’re looking to immigrate through PNP and don’t have one already lined up, try approaching companies with ties to your industry and see if they might be interested in sponsoring you. You can also check provincial websites for current information on available occupations; since these change often it’s best to go directly to official sources for updates.


Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW)

If you intend to settle in Quebec, you can apply under Quebec’s skilled worker program. If approved, you’ll get a certificate of selection which will give you permanent resident status (PR). You can then move to Quebec and work anywhere in Canada. There are various classes under QSW, with different criteria. Check out our How To Apply section on QSW.

Family Class

The family class includes parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters over 18 years old. It also includes spouses (including same-sex partners), common-law partners or conjugal partners. In order to qualify under any of these categories, you must prove that you have a genuine relationship with your sponsor. If you’re in a same-sex marriage or partnership, you can apply to be considered under partner category as long as it has been legally recognized in Canada. You will need to provide evidence such as proof of cohabitation, joint bank accounts and shared assets. If you are applying under one of these categories, you will not need an employer offer letter or education credentials if they are included in your application package. However, if you are applying independently without a spouse or parent accompanying you to Canada, then an employer offer letter is required along with all other documents listed above.


If you are planning to come to study in Canada or are already here, you must be looking at this article with some interest and excitement. If you are a student, however, know that while some of these visa categories may seem attractive, they might not necessarily fit your situation. For instance if you have been a student in Canada before, it is unlikely that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will grant you another study permit. In this case it might be better to apply through a different category.

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