To study abroad in Canada as an international student, you must show adequate proof of financial support. Your funds must cover both your studies and living expenses, plus a minimum amount for any family members who plan to come with you. While international students may often work part-time, most part-time salaries can’t cover all your costs.
As a result, immigration officials will evaluate your proof of financial support as part of your application. It’s important to get this right: Between 2019 and 2021, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shared that 10% of rejected student visa applications happened because IRCC wasn’t convinced the applicant had enough funds to pay for tuition. Don’t let this happen to you–learn how to prepare for this assessment below.
Check out our undergraduate and postgraduate guides to the full application process for international students in Canada.
What Does ‘Proof of Financial Support’ Mean?
Proof of Financial Support refers to your ability to support yourself while studying abroad. Immigration officials will be looking for enough money to cover at least your first year of tuition and living expenses in Canada, and for financial patterns which indicate that you (or the people supporting you, like your parents) have the necessary income. Planning to bring family members with you? You’ll need to prove you can support them financially as well.
In general, it helps to show sufficient funding for multiple years, if your program is longer than a year. Immigration officers are more likely to approve applicants who appear capable of financing the full term of their program. So, even if you don’t have all the money up front, showing that it’s likely you’ll have it in the future can help your application.
Curious about the cost of living in Canada? Learn more on our blog.
To prove your financial capacity in all Canadian provinces and territories except Quebec, you’ll need to show you have C$10,000 to cover living expenses for one person, plus the cost of your program’s tuition for one year. Want to bring a family member with you? You’ll need another C$4,000 per year for the first family member, and C$3,000 for each additional person.
If you’re planning to study in Quebec, the numbers are a little different. We’ve created a list breaking down the costs depending on your living situation.
- You’re under 18: C$6,569 in living expenses per year, plus the cost of tuition
- You’re over 18: C$13,134 in living expenses per year, plus the cost of tuition
- If there are 2 adults: C$19,264, plus the cost of tuition
- 2 adults and 1 minor child: C$21,579, plus the cost of tuition
- 2 adults and 2 children: C$23,290, plus the cost of tuition
Note: You are considered an adult in Quebec at the age of 18.
How Can I Show Proof of Financial Support?
Depending on where you choose to study and your personal circumstances, you can prove your capacity in different ways. Eligible financial documents include:
- Proof of a Canadian bank account in your name with the required amount in it
- Proof of a student or educational loan from a bank
- Bank statements from the past four months
- A bank draft that may be converted into local currency
- Proof that you’ve paid tuition and housing fees
- A letter from the person or school giving you money
- Proof of funding paid from within the destination country, if you have a scholarship or are in a government-funded educational program
Show Your Proof with a GIC
If you’re eligible for Canada’s Student Direct Stream visa process, you must provide proof of a C$10,000 Guaranteed Investment Certificate, or GIC, as your proof of financial support. Those applying through other visa streams may also choose to show their proof through a GIC.
GICs are an investment type that’s available in Canada, similar to a Certificate of Deposit in the United States. GICs guarantee the return of your initial investment, plus a specific rate of return on your investment over a pre-set amount of time. (Essentially, you’re lending the money to the bank, and you’re paid interest in return.)
Note: While they share acronyms and some properties, these Canadian investments aren’t the same as a Guaranteed Investment Contract, which is an agreement between an insurance company and an investor in the US.
You can use ApplyProof, ApplyBoard’s document verification platform, to strengthen your study permit application with the added trust and security of a digitally verifiable GIC provided by the Royal Bank of Canada.
Strategies for a Strong Application
Multiple Original Bank Statements
As noted above, a common form of proof is multiple original bank statements. This helps the team reviewing your application understand your financial history, or that of those who are supporting you.
Explanations for Large Transactions
If there are unusually large deposits or withdrawals, it’s a good idea to include a note explaining what the large transactions relate to. In general, it’s important to establish that the money needed wasn’t suddenly deposited for show.
Proof of Employment and Savings
If someone else (like your parents or a family member) is supporting you, include proof of their employment and savings as supporting documents. If they run a business, you should also include documents that show the business’ projected revenue, and proven revenue from the last couple of years. These help you to establish the business’ history and legitimacy. Supporting documents may include corporate reports, taxes, or financial statements.
These strategies can make your study abroad application convincing from a financial perspective. Best of luck on your student journey!
Considering a GIC for your Proof of Financial Support? ApplyBoard and RBC have partnered to offer a secure GIC option for international students.