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Canada Student Visa Requirements for Nigerians

Canada is one of the world’s most popular study destinations for international students, with an education system that is in the top five globally. In 2022, Canada issued more than 16,000 Study Permits to Nigerian citizens alone, a huge increase from the 95,000 issued in 2021. This number looks set to rise further.

For more information about getting a Canadian study visa as a Nigerian citizen, reach out to one of our Immigration Advice Service (IAS) legal advisers today. Call our team in Nigeria on +23413438882 or reach out to us on +44 (0) 3316300929. Want to speak to someone face-to-face? You can also book an appointment to visit our office in Lagos, Nigeria.


Looking Forward to Studying in Canada?

We have successfully helped numerous Nigerian students in securing their Canada student visas. If you’re looking to study in Canada and need guidance on where to begin, reach out to us for expert support. Our team of lawyers is here to address any questions you may have regarding your application.

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Overview of Canadian Student Visa Requirements for International Students

In 2022, over 800,000 international students travelled to Canada to study. Part of the draw is that Canada is an economically stable, democratic country with a well-educated citizenry, making it an appealing place to live and learn. Added to this, graduates from eligible courses will also have the opportunity to extend their stay in the country, with a view to becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

If you would like to study in Canada, then it’s important to note that Canada doesn’t officially issue ‘student visas’ as such. Instead, it issues Study Permits, which are designed for anyone who wants to do a course for at least six months. International students must then combine their Study Permit with a Canada Visitor Visa in order to study in the country. The good news is that you don’t have to apply for both separately — your Visitor Visa and Study Permit can be issued at the same time. Your Study Permit will be valid for the duration of your course and then a further 90 days after it ends.

Bear in mind that you can only get a Study Permit for a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) — in other words, an education provider approved by the provincial or territorial government of Canada. So it is very important to check that your chosen college or university is a Designated Learning Institution before applying.

Eligibility Requirements for Studying in Canada


You can study in Canada from Nigeria if you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are enrolled at a Designated Learning Institute (DLI).
  • You can prove that you have the funds to pay for your tuition fees.
  • You can prove that you have the funds to pay for your living expenses, living expenses of any family members that you bring with you, and return transportation expenses to Canada.
  • You can prove that you have no criminal record — including providing a police certificate (if requested).
  • You can prove that you are in good health — including getting a medical examination (if requested).
  • You can prove that you will leave Canada when your Study Permit expires (unless you are planning to apply for a Canadian Post-Graduate Work Permit).

Canadian Study Permits can take up to three months to process and it is advisable to plan for them to take even longer than this, in case of delays.

Your Responsibilities While Studying in Canada

While studying in Canada you must:

  • Make progress towards completing your programme of study.
  • Stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements.
  • Respect any conditions included on your Study Permit.

Conditions that might be included in your Study Permit, in certain cases:

  • Not being allowed to work in Canada.
  • Having restrictions on your travel within Canada.
  • Having to leave Canada on a specific date.
  • Having to have an Immigration Medical Examination.
  • The specific Designated Learning Institute where you can study. So if you want to change college or university, you will have to declare this to the Canadian government.

Documents Needed for a Canadian Study Permit

You will need the following to apply:

  • An acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI).
  • Proof of identity in the form of a valid Nigerian passport.
  • Your academic transcripts.
  • Proof of your English language proficiency via IELTS or TOEFL test results.
  • Proof of funds of $10,000 Canadian dollars living expenses per year (not including tuition fees) outside of Quebec. If you are studying in Quebec then the amount will be $13,134. Proof can be in the form of a MyBank Certificate.
  • Proof of funds of each family member that you bring. Outside of Quebec, this is $4,000 for the first family member and $3,000 for every additional family member. If you are studying in Quebec, then the system is different and it is advisable to check the Canadian government website for specifics.
  • Letter of Explanation.
  • In some cases, a biometric photo and fingerprints.
  • Any other supporting documents requested by the Canadian government. This could include a photocopy of your marriage licence, if you are planning to bring a partner with you.

What is the Canadian Study Permit Letter of Explanation?

Your Letter of Explanation should be included with your application. It gives the Canadian government a better insight into your plans and should include:

  • A statement of why you want to study in Canada.
  •  A section stating that you understand your responsibilities as a student.

English Language Requirements for a Canadian Study Permit

To be eligible for the NSE program, you must prove your English proficiency by taking an approved language test, such as IELTS or TOEFL. This includes your abilities in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English. Different colleges and universities each have their own language proficiency requirements that you must meet with your IELTS or TOEFL test results.

Our expert team is dedicated to supporting students like you in securing their Canada Student Visas.

What is the Nigeria Student Express Program?


The Nigeria Student Express is a special programme created to speed up the application process for Nigerian students wanting to study in Canada. The application processing time is stated as 20 days, yet be advised that it can sometimes take longer. Note that it requires you to prove that you have a higher amount of funds than would be required by the standard Canadian Study Permit application stream.

Who is eligible for the Nigeria Student Express Program?

To be eligible for the program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Nigerian citizen.
  • Be accepted on a course at an eligible Designated Learning Institution.
  • Have the required funds to support yourself while studying in Canada.
  • Meet the English language requirements.

Financial Requirements for the Nigeria Student Express Program

You will have to show proof that you have the funds to pay your tuition fees and support yourself for your first year of studying in Canada. Currently, this is the equivalent of $30,000 Canadian dollars ($10,000 for course fees and $20,000 for living expenses). However, if you are bringing family members then you will have to prove that you can cover their living costs too.

You can provide proof of funds in the form of a MyBank certificate. You don’t have to show proof that you have already paid your tuition fees.

Studying in Canada: A Pathway to Permanent Residency

If your goal is to make a life in Canada long term, then studying in Canada is a route to Permanent Residency and eventually, Canadian citizenship. Nigerians who have completed their courses of study can potentially extend their stay for up to three years with a Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Once your PGWP expires, you can then apply for Permanent Residency (PR) — but only if you have gained one year of work experience in a relevant occupation. After you have been a permanent resident for five years, you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Bear in mind that:

  • You will only be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit if you have completed a PGWP-eligible course of study.
  • If your course is for less than eight months, then you will not be eligible for a PGWP.

Can You Work While On a Study Visa in Canada?

If you have a Canadian Study Permit, then you are also permitted to work in Canada — as long as your Study Permit states this. Currently, there is no limit to the hours that you can work, although this will be reassessed on 31st December 2023 and may be reduced. If you plan to work while studying in Canada, then you are permitted to take both on and off-campus jobs.

You can also work during term breaks but you shouldn’t take on a job until your course has officially started.

How Can IAS Help

Applying for a student visa to Canada from Nigeria might seem like a daunting task, but with the help of the Immigration advice service, it doesn’t have to be. We are here to help you every step of the way, from explaining eligibility to filling out your forms. IAS can help you with all aspects of your Study Permit application, from start to finish. We can assess your eligibility, help you gather the required documents, and submit your application on your behalf.

Our Canadian immigration lawyers are trained in the country’s visa and immmigration processes, including Study Permit processes and regulations. We have an office in Lagos, Nigeria, so why not book an appointment to visit us in person? Alternatively, you can contact Immigration Advice Service (IAS) today and speak to one of our immigration professionals at our Lagos office on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You can get a Canadian Study Permit if you are enrolled at a Designated Learning Institute (DLI), have a good standard of English, and have the funds to pay for your course and support yourself (plus any family members that you are bringing) for your first year in Canada.

You can prove that you have the funds to cover your expenses in Canada by providing a MyBank certificate with your application.

No, you must first have been accepted onto an eligible course at a Designated Learning Institute before applying to study in Canada.

To study in Canada as an international student, you must be 18 years old.

There is no upper age limit to study in Canada from abroad.

If your course is less than six months then you don’t need a Study Permit but you will still need a Visitor Visa.

The length of your post-graduation work permit depends on the length of your course. If you are studying for less than six months, then you won’t be eligible for a PGWP. If you are studying for one year, then you will be eligible for a PGWP for that same amount of time. If you are studying for either two years or more on an undergraduate programme, or 16 months or more on a postgraduate programme, then you could be eligible for a three-year PGWP.

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