Tutorial: How to apply for an initial study permit

Step-by-step instructions, required documents, and other important information about applying for your study permit.

3. Gather your required documents

Documents all students need

All students coming to UBC will need all of the following documents.

When possible, documents should be issued within 30 days before submitting your application to be considered recent. 

If you must provide several documents in a section, combine them into one file (such as a PDF) before uploading. The size limit is 4MB per file; you may need to reduce the file size

If your documents are not in English or French, they must be accompanied by:

  • the English or French official translation; and
  • an affidavit from the person who completed the translation

Certified Translators in British Columbia

Letter of Acceptance

Even if your Letter of Acceptance, or offer letter, has admission conditions that you still have left to complete, you may use your conditional Letter of Acceptance for your study permit application. We do not recommend that you wait to meet the conditions before applying; "full acceptance" letters are not automatically issued.

If you are applying for your study permit with a conditional Letter of Acceptance, add a section to your letter of explanation to explain how the conditions have been or will be met and provide proof if you can.

If you are applying for a study permit from India, Nepal or Bhutan

The instructions for visa offices in India indicate that an unconditional letter of acceptance is required. See important considerations for details.

Undergraduate students: You will receive your Letter of Acceptance or Offer of Admissions by email.

Graduate students: You can download your Letter of Acceptance, which will be the first page of your admission offer, from e:Vision, the graduate studies application system. 

Proof of financial support

It is imperative to show strong proof of financial support from yourself and/or your sponsors, such as family members or organizations supporting you. 

Most Canadian immigration officers interpret "evidence of sufficient funds" to mean 4 months of bank statements, savings account passbook, bank drafts, or other proof that indicates you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of 1 year in Canada equivalent to:

  • Your first year of tuition fees as indicated on your letter of acceptance, and
  • A minimum of CAD$10,000 for your first year of living expenses (plus CAD$4000 for an accompanying family member and CAD$3000 per additional member)

Note: students studying for less than a year can provide proof of a minimum of CAD $833 per month for living expenses in Canada. For more details, please see Proof of Financial Support on IRCC’s website.

Below are examples of what you can submit as proof of financial support. Provide as many of them as apply to your situation.

  • Your bank statements from Canadian or overseas bank with a stamp
  • A letter from UBC that proves you are receiving financial aid/scholarship/award/teaching assistantship/research assistantship
  • Bank statements of your parents/sponsor from a Canadian or overseas bank with a stamp
  • Proof of employment for yourself/your parents/sponsor
  • Proof of business ownership/income for yourself/your parents/sponsor
  • Approval for an educational loan
  • Proof of ownership of properties for yourself/your parents/sponsor 
  • Proof of any other type of income, stock, dividend etc. for yourself/your parents/sponsor

If the balance(s) in any of the documentation above is in foreign currency, provide a screenshot of the Bank of Canada currency converter result (if your currency is not listed, use xe.com).

If the proof of funds is from another person’s bank account, such as a parent or family member who is sponsoring you, they must provide proof of where their funding is coming from.

Additionally, they must write a letter (preferably notarized) stating that they will support you during your studies in Canada. To write a letter of financial support, they can download our template (docx).

Include a summary or an index page of all the documents you are submitting for this section. This will also allow you to clarify or explain the connection between documents, if applicable. You can download a template for the summary (docx).

Passport

Provide a copy of the bio-data page (the page with your name, date of birth, passport number, expiration date, etc.) and a copy of every page of your passport that has stamps, visas, or markings from any country. Most visa offices require copies of your current passport and all expired passports that you have held; be sure to check your visa office instruction guide for the requirements you must meet.

Important: Your study permit will not expire after your passport's expiry date.

  • If you do not have a passport, apply immediately.

  • If your passport will expire soon, extend it before you apply for your study permit.

    • If this is not an option or passport processing time is too long, apply for a study permit with your current passport. After you arrive in Canada, extend your passport and study permit from within Canada.

Passport photo

Make sure your photo meets the specifications for the application method you're using.

  • Online: find digital photo specifications on the Your document checklist page by clicking on the question mark, in the "Instructions" column, for "Digital photo".

Documents specific to your visa office

Remember to check for any additional documents required by your country's visa office.

To get the full list of documents required by your country's visa office:

  1. Go to the IRCC website and select your country/territory from the drop-down menu (located in the "Apply on paper" section).
  2. Click "Get documents", and then select "Visa office instructions" (the second link). This will launch a PDF specifying requirements for your visa office.

If you're applying online:

  • To avoid delays or rejection, submit the required documents listed on the Your document checklist page in your IRCC secure account plus any visa office-specific documents.
  • Merge all visa office-specific documents into one file (such as a PDF) and upload the file in the "Client Information" section under Optional Documents in your online checklist. 

Biometrics

If you apply for a study permit from outside Canada, you will be required to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) in-person at a biometrics collection point outside of Canada. 

The time it takes to submit your biometrics is not included in the processing time for your study permit and your application will not be processed until biometrics are received by the visa office. You only need to give biometrics once every 10 years.

American citizens, those who have provided biometrics in the past 10 years, as well as certain individuals are exempt from providing biometrics. 

  1. Pay the biometrics fee at the same time you submit your study permit application for faster processing.
  2. Receive your biometrics instruction letter online. You will receive an electronic biometrics instruction letter within 24 hours. If you pay the biometrics fee, and do not receive the biometrics instruction letter within 5 business days of submitting your application, you should submit a webform on technical difficulties.
  3. Submit your biometrics within 30 days after receiving your biometrics instruction letter.

Find out where to submit biometrics

Note: If you do not have a biometrics collection point available in your home country, you may need to travel to another country to give biometrics.


Documents you might need

Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need one or more of the following documents. 

Letter of Explanation

A letter of explanation is a good way to describe additional factors or include additional documents to support your application. An important part of your application is to provide an explanation and supporting documents to satisfy the officer that you have ties to your home country and will leave Canada before the end of your authorized stay. See the guideline below on how to write a letter of explanation. 

Your letter of explanation could include:

  • Issues you would like to clarify or that the officer might find useful
  • Supporting documents, screenshots, or any other proof to support your explanation
  • Additional employment history if you have run out of space in your application
  • Additional documents required by your visa office which you have not provided elsewhere in your application

For further guidelines, check out the How to write a Letter of Explanation guide (pdf).

You may also use our template to write a letter of explanation (docx). Upload this document under "Client Information" in the Optional Documents section of your online checklist.

Study Plan

To address the purpose of your studies, write a detailed study plan that is concise, clear and genuine (see template below). This may be required by your visa office and include specific points to address.

For further guidelines, check out the How to write a Study Plan guide (pdf).

You may also use our template to write a study plan (docx). Upload this document under "Client Information" in the Optional Documents section of your online checklist if applying online.

Medical exam

You require a medical exam when applying for a study permit if you:

  1. Have lived in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months in the 12 months immediately before you apply. Canada is not a designated country or territory, so this does not apply to you if you have been in Canada for more than 6 months in the past year
  2. Would like to work in certain jobs in Canada which bring you into close contact with people, such as positions in elementary schools or hospitals. 

If the above scenario applies to you, you will need a medical exam conducted by an IRCC-approved Panel Physician. The doctor will send the full results to IRCC automatically. Ask the doctor for a copy of your medical exam report (referred to as your "e-medical").

You have two options:

  1. Take an upfront medical exam before submitting your initial study permit application, then include your e-medical report in your application. We recommend this option as it will save you time. 
  2. Alternatively, apply for your study permit first and wait for a visa officer to send you a medical exam request. This may delay the processing of your application. 

Family Information Form [IMM5707]

This form is required if it is included in your document checklist (see sample below) or if it is required by your visa office (upload under Client Information). You will need to fill out the form, print it, sign the form by hand, then scan and upload the form.

  • If you indicate that you don’t have a spouse or common-law partner, sign and date Section A.
  • If you indicate that you don’t have children, sign and date Section B.
  • Sign and date Section D.
Family information form image

Schedule 1: Application for Temporary Residence [IMM5257B]

This document is required only if you answer “Yes” to questions 3, 4, 5 or 6 in the "Background Information" section of the "Application for a Study Permit Made Outside of Canada" form [IMM1294].

Most students will not require Schedule 1. That is why it is listed in the "Optional Documents" section in your IRCC online account, if you are applying online.