Canada is increasingly popular with international students. Flexible Canadian immigration law as compared to the immigration laws in the US is the main reason for this. To be allowed a stay in Canada, a travel authorisation is required. For students, holding either just a valid eTA or a Canadian study visa (study permit) will do in most cases.
International students more likely to opt for Canada
In recent years, when compared to the United States of America, Canada has become more appealing to international students, according to a publication in Forbes magazine dated 9 August 2023. The number of international university students in the US over the 2020/2021 term, was at least 15% lower, when compared to the 2016/2017 numbers (a drop of 164.727 international students). Meanwhile, the number of international students in Canadian universities and colleges increased by 46% (an absolute increase in international students of 117.037).
Quality and multicultural education
Studying in Canada has many advantages. One is that Canadian education is both available in English and French. Canada, moreover, has many different high-quality universities and colleges. Multiple Canadian universities rank highly in the annual QS Rankings, listing universities worldwide according to the quality of education and a number of other factors. The University of Toronto ranks highest of all Canadian universities (ranking at 21 out of a 1498), but Montreal’s McGill University and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver respectively take a high 30th en 34rd place in the ranking as well.
In order to be admitted to a study course minor or other study program with a Canadian university, a certain level of language fluency is required. The TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a language proficiency test used by many different universities to test the English language competency of international students. A decent test result shows the student has sufficient English language command. Please note, however, that French rather than English, is spoken in some parts of Canada. Prospective applicants for studies in Canada are therefore advised to check their language skill levels accordingly.
eTA for your stay in Canada
Using the eTA, it is possible to follow a minor or other kind of short study course in Canada up to a maximum duration of 6 months. Although the eTA has a validity period of up to a maximum of 5 years, you may use this travel authorisation for a stay of up to 6 months in Canada for each trip. When used correctly, an unlimited number of trips to Canada is allowed over the course of these 5 years.
The eTA application can quickly and easily be submitted through e-Visa.co.uk. The application procedure is swift and the eTA has an average delivery time of 3 days.
Minimum time period between two separate stays in Canada
In using the same eTA, no hard rules on the minimum duration of stay outside of Canada before returning to the country exist. In stead, this is assessed for each individual traveller by immigration service staff. Reusing the eTA in a matter of several days after a stay of 6 months might come across as suspicious behaviour. You are therefore advised to stay elsewhere for at least several weeks or months before you return to Canada.
eTA and study permit differences
If you want to stay in Canada for longer than 6 consecutive months for your studies, you need to apply for a study permit. This study permit, however, is not a stand-alone visa. Apart from a study permit, you will always need an eTA or visa. When the study permit is issued, at the same time an eTA or visa is also granted. Which of these two travel authorisations is issued, depends, in part, on the duration of study.
Staying in Canada for studies for less than 6 months does not require a study permit, as the eTA is sufficient for this, as long as the complete duration of your studies equally is no longer than the maximum total of 6 months. Please keep in mind that even so, you will need to meet all other eTA requirements for this. Less information is required to apply for an eTA, as for a study permit application. For Canadian study permit applications, you can be asked for your income and financial situation. For such applications, you can also be asked for any criminal record information, or be requested to pass a medical examination.
Another difference between an eTA and the study permit, is that a study permit can also be used for a limited number of hours a week in gainful employment. Working in Canadian gainful employment with the eTA, however, is not allowed.Apply for your eTA Canada here