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You will complete a Canada student visa interview as part of your visa application process. This is one of the final steps in your student visa application and you will be on your way to study in Canada soon after.
The Canada visa interview is solely designed to check the information on your application and that you’re a genuine student. It’s not intended to catch you out or trip you up at all. Whilst any interview can be scary, it is really nothing to worry about.
If you’re wondering how to prepare for your Canada visa interview, check out our complete guide on how to prepare and get through the day.
From organising all your documents to common questions and new rules for international students in Canada, here’s everything you need to successfully prepare and pass your Canada visa interview.
What is a Canada study permit visa interview?
Not every international student has to complete a study permit interview. After reviewing your application, the visa officer will decide if they want to arrange an interview before providing your Canadian study permit.
However, you will be informed in advance if you need to come in for the interview. Typically, the officer will ask you to explain a few things you mentioned in your study permit application. These questions will only be about your qualifications, study plans and finances.
How to prepare for the permit interview?
If you get invited to a permit interview, there is no need to panic. With a little preparation and practice, you can build confidence to get ready and answer any questions with ease.
Here, we guide the exact documents you will need on the day and things to focus on whilst preparing for your interview.
Submit your application
If you’re thinking of studying in Canada, submit your study permit application well in advance. Ideally, the best time to begin your application is straight after you get your university and course offer.
Starting your application is the first step toward getting your study visa. Today, all applications can be completed online quickly, as long as you have the correct documents available.
Before starting your permit application, check out our ultimate guide to applying for a Canadian study permit. It is important to start your visa application first, then you can return to your interview preparation later.
Work on your English skills
A common requirement for Canadian study permits is evidence that you can speak, listen and write in English, and sometimes French. If you’re selected for a Canada visa interview, the immigration official will assess your language skills.
A good starting place is to read English or French language blogs, magazines and books. In addition, speaking in English with family members and friends helps to improve fluency. Listening to English TV and radio shows is also a great way to listen to and understand the language.
Ultimately, with better language skills, your answers will be clearer and your studies will be easier too.
Organise your documents
As part of the Canada study permit application, you’ll have to provide lots of official documents. You are likely to have these available before starting your application. However, if you don't have these documents or some are out of date, give yourself plenty of time to prepare.
If you are invited to an interview, make sure you’ve got all documents organised. Keeping a physical folder with all the documents is helpful and having a digital copy of each item is also useful.
In the interview, you will be asked about why you are studying in Canada. As a result, having important permit documents is a good way to remind yourself of your key reasons for studying.
For instance, you will have strong reasons on your personal statement and letter of acceptance from your university. But, equally as important are your documents on finances and previous qualifications.
Top tips for passing the interview
If you receive an invitation for a permit interview, remember that it is not a bad thing. The interview is just to find out more about you and why you want to study in Canada.
As soon as you receive your interview invitation, you can start getting ready to succeed. Breaking down the preparation into two sections - before the interview and during the interview - can help split your focus.
As a result, we have provided some of our top tips below on how to practice leading up to the interview and how to be confident on the day.
Before the Interview
Getting fully prepared can make a huge difference when the interview day comes. Therefore, the tips below help you to think about the best way to get ready for interview day.
- Read through your application and be sure of all the information you have mentioned there.
- Research and have the necessary information about Canada, the city, the university, and the course of your choice.
- Go through your financial plans, budget, and estimated expenses.
- Work on your English language communication skills. You can start by talking to your friends and family in English and watching Canadian films/series.
- Practise. Try answering the sample questions mentioned above in front of a mirror. Notice your body language and work on it. Practice with mock interviews at home. Ask one of your family members to be the visa interviewer and answer their questions.
During the Interview
Once the day arrives, you will be well prepared and focused on answering any questions. However, some last-minute preparations can help you to feel more confident as the interview takes place.
- Dress to look neat and smart. Wear professional clothes to set a good impression.
- Be punctual. Many students like yourself will most likely have their interviews on the same day. If you are late, you will give a negative impression from the start, and your interview might be rushed.
- Walk in with confidence and greet the visa officer with a smile. This way, you can start the interview on a positive note.
- Pay attention to the questions and answer with brief and straightforward answers. This part will be easier if you practise in advance.
- Be honest. Remember that the purpose of the interview is just to check if your intentions to study abroad are genuine. You don’t have to lie if you do not know the answer to a question. Also, remember that the visa officer will have the experience to find out if you are lying.
The visa officer will ask questions clarifying the things you mentioned in your study permit application, the questions will typically be about your background and future plans. Sometimes, the officer might ask you to add to your response, so make sure you are fully prepared.
Overall, the questions are about you and your studies, so there is nothing to worry about during the interview.
To help get ready for the interview, we provide some example questions below. When practising, use these in a mock interview and think of how you will answer during the interview.
- Why do you want to study in Canada?
- Why and how did you choose this university?
- What is the specialisation of your degree, and how do you think this will help you?
- What are your future plans after finishing your degree?
- Do you plan to work while studying?
- Tell us about your educational qualifications.
- How good are your English language communication skills?
- What are your GRE/TOEFL scores? Are you satisfied with them?
- Do you have prior experience studying abroad? How will you handle assimilating to the new culture?
- Have you received a scholarship to study here?
Personal or financial
- What is your current source of income?
- What is the estimated cost of the course you plan to do in Canada?
- How are you going to support yourself financially while studying in Canada?
- Is your current employer sponsoring you to study?
- What do your parents do? What is their annual income?