IELTS for Student Visa Canada

Most Canadian education facilities offer training in the English language. Consequently, you must know English to understand the topics. You also usually need a study permit and, most likely, a visa to study in Canada. However, do you need to take IELTS for a student visa in Canada?

Study permit vs. student visa

Before discussing IELTS, let’s briefly define a student visa. Unless you are exempt, you need a study permit to study in Canada. So what is a student visa, then? A student visa is technically a sticker in your passport that allows you to travel to Canada. However, a study permit is a piece of paper that allows remaining in Canada and study. Therefore, these are two related but different things. So let’s recap:

  • A student visa in Canada is a sticker that IRCC attaches to your passport. It resembles a regular visa. Nonetheless, the category code is S-1 instead of V-1. If you are visa-exempt, then you won’t receive a student visa. Of course, you may still need an eTA to travel to Canada.
  • A study permit is a standalone document. It allows you to remain in Canada and study. However, make sure to obey all the limitations on the study permit document. A study permit does not entitle you to travel to Canada.

Other jurisdictions may only use a student visa and not a study permit. That’s why the use of the term student visa is more common than a study permit. Of course, in Canada, you concurrently apply for both a study permit and a student visa. Therefore, these terms at the time of application could be interchangeable.

Types of student visa and permit applications

You may apply for a study permit in Canada with three different approaches.

  • Study Direct Stream (SDS)This option is available to the residents of 14 countries. When applying under the SDS option, IRCC expedites the processing of your student visa and permit application.
  • Regular application process: Regardless of your nationality, you may choose to use the standard path. However, the processing time could be longer than SDS.
  • Application at the port of entry: If you meet any of the following citizenship/residency requirements, you may apply for a study permit at a port of entry. Of course, this option is the fastest way to receive a study permit.
    • A US citizen,
    • Permanent Resident of the United States or rather a Green Card holder,
    • A person who the US authorities have admitted them as a lawful permanent resident of the United States,
    • A resident of St. Pierre and Miquelon, or
    • A resident of Green Land. (Source: section 214 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations)

Is IELTS the only acceptable language test?

Canada has two official languages: French and English. Almost all educational institutions teach in one or both of these languages. However, if you want to prove your mastery of the English or French languages to IRCC, you may only take one of the following tests.

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program  (Only CELPIP General is acceptable. Don’t take General-LS)
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System! For student visas and permits, you may take either IELTS General or IELTS Academic.
  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
  • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

Keep in mind the school may accept other tests such as Duolingo. However, IRCC does not recognize those tests.

Is IELTS or other language tests mandatory for a student visa?

The answer to this question depends on the application option. You need to take at least one official language test if you are applying under the SDS route. However, IELTS is not mandatory if you apply under the regular path or at the port of entry. Of course, you must meet the school’s language requirements to receive a Letter of Admission (LOA).

Let us help!

If you intend to study in Canada, whether you have taken the IELTS test for the student visa or not, fill out the following form. Of course, you may alternatively book a consultation session with me.

    How old is the student (required)

    Has the student taken an English or French test?

    How knowledgeable the student is in English or French languages (one language is enough)

    Has the student evaluated their educational credentials in Canada?

    How much money the student has to support their living expenses and tuition in Canada for the first year of studies in Canada?

    At which level do you wish to study?

    Does the student have accompanying family members?

    Do you have a letter of acceptance from a Canadian educational institute?

    Additional information (optional but helpful)

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Disclaimer:
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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches immigration courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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