“Can I apply for Canada’s Study Visa after 10 years gap?”
Yes, you can. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for the Canada study visa after 7 years, 10 years, or even 25 years. Although most universities allow a study gap of two years for undergraduate courses and five years for postgraduate courses. This does not mean that applicants with long educational gaps are unqualified.
Many people pursue higher education at later stages of their life due to special circumstances. Such individuals may be interested in studying at Colleges and Universities in Canada under a student visa. The Canadian student visa allows students to enter the country and study at one of the country’s prestigious educational institutions.
Let’s examine the challenges of applying for a Canadian student visa after a 5-25 years gap and possible solutions.
In Canada, there is no age limit for getting a student visa. Nevertheless, you must be accepted and enrolled in a recognized educational institution.
Does IRCC Reject Applicants With a Study Gap?
IRCC aims to attract the brightest international candidates to study at Canada’s educational institutions. For this reason, they tend to be incredibly strict about approving study permits and student visas that don’t meet their criteria. It is estimated that Canadian immigration officers reject 30% of the study permit applications they receive yearly.
Some of these rejections may be due to reasons such as the applicant possessing insufficient funds or failing to convince a visa officer they will leave Canada after completing their studies. Canadian visa officers may also reject applicants for having a study gap.
For example, someone applying for a Canada study visa after 10 years gap will be at a significantly higher risk of rejection than an applicant that has completed their high school education the same year.
Learn more: Canada Student Visa Rejection Reasons
Reasons to Justify your Long Study Gap
An individual may have a study gap in their history for a legitimate reason. Such reasons are important to note as they may be used to convince a Canadian visa officer to approve a study visa or study permit application.
Some of these legitimate reasons include:
Many people pause their studies to address significant medical issues they face. For example, someone who has been diagnosed with cancer may need to put off their studies for many years until they have completed treatment. Such individuals may not be able to travel abroad due to their condition and because treatment is more affordable in their home country.
Medical issues tend to be unavoidable, so it is considered a legitimate reason for a study gap. Such individuals can apply for a study permit or study visa once their health has returned to normal and they are fit to live abroad.
Someone may also halt their studies for family reasons. It’s not uncommon for people to be forced to put their academic pursuits on hold to take care of aging family members. This can be a common reason in cultures where retirement homes are uncommon.
Some of the other family reasons include marriage breakups and the legal issues they entail. Some family reasons may not be considered significant enough to count as legitimate reasons to halt your studies.
You will therefore need to specify how exactly the event disrupted your studies in your application.
Education and External Tests
Certain people may dream of pursuing higher education in Canada but may be unable to do so due to external tests. For example, you might have been interested in applying for a study permit in the past but scored poorly on your English language proficiency exam.
IRCC generally requires applicants to possess a minimum score of 6.0 on their IELTS to apply for a study permit for a Canadian undergraduate or diploma program. Applicants who scored below this requirement may have chosen to submit their application at a later time once they have managed to improve their language proficiency score.
In other cases, applicants may have delayed the process of applying for a student visa to take other educational tests. For example, they may have chosen to write their SAT, LSAT, or MDCAT after completing their high school education.
Such tests require many months or even years to prepare for. For these reasons, external tests may be considered a legitimate reason for a study gap.
Poor Financial Situation
A poor financial situation is one of the most common reasons for a study gap. Many people dream of pursuing their higher education in Canada but might not possess the funds required to start and complete an education program.
It’s not uncommon for the tuition fees for educational programs at Canadian Universities to exceed $30,000 CAD per year. Prospective international students must demonstrate that they can cover this amount plus their living expenses on their study permit application. Those who fail to demonstrate they possess enough funds are likely to be rejected.
For this reason, many prospective international students choose to work in their home country after completing high school. They then pursue higher education in Canada after they have saved up enough funds many years down the road.
Gaining Work Experience
Some students may put off their education abroad until they gain some work experience. This reason is considered valid because many graduate programs in Canada require students to possess a certain amount of work experience to be eligible for the program.
For example, prospective MBA students typically require two years of work experience to be eligible for a graduate-level program in Canada. Other types of degrees may have even longer work experience requirements for applicants.
Is a Long Study Gap Acceptable under Certain Circumstances?
You might be wondering if a study gap acceptable in Canada after 12th year after completing high school. This gap is considered quite long. However, it may be regarded as acceptable if it is explained using a legitimate reason.
Justify a Study Gap on a Canada Student Visa Application
There are many ways to address a study gap on a Canadian student visa or study permit application. This includes:
Choosing the Right Field of Study
Prospective study permit applications should ensure they choose the right field of study for their education in Canada. For example, if you have studied science in high school primarily, it is best to pursue a science-oriented degree or diploma in Canada.
It is vital to ensure your upcoming field of study aligns with your previous one as it demonstrates that you intend to continue building on your current educational history. Applicants who are pursuing a new field of study with no prior education or work history that aligns with it are likely to be rejected.
Providing a Good Explanation in Your Cover Letter
The most important method for addressing a study gap is to state the reason for the gap in the cover letter accompanying your application.
This cover letter is essentially a letter of explanation that describes your educational and professional history. It should also include your reason for coming to Canada and a declaration that you intend to leave after completing your studies. You can also use this cover letter to explain your study gap.
For example, you can state what you studied in high school and that you could not pursue higher education in Canada because you did not have enough funds. You can then discuss where you worked and how you managed to build up enough savings to attend a Canadian College or University finally.
Will my student visa be approved if I have a long gap?
There is no guarantee that your student visa application will be approved if you have a long study gap. As mentioned earlier, IRCC can be incredibly strict when it comes to approving applications from prospective international students.
Visa officers will keep an eye out for any potential red flags that indicate you aren’t being truthful about your intention to study in Canada and that you might use the study permit to enter the country and stay there. You can attempt to present a good case for yourself by including a detailed account of your history and reasons for coming to Canada.
For this reason, the cover letter is considered one of the most vital parts of your application. You can learn how to create the perfect cover letter in our special guide.
Need help with Study Visa after a Gap?
A number of senior students with long study gaps have sought our help with complex Canadian study visa cases. The oldest person who has successfully applied for a study permit with our guidance is more than 60 years old.
Our team is led by Keshav Sharma (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant). The entire process, including writing a cover letter, choosing the right field of study in Canada, applying for a study permit, and getting you to Canada, will be handled by us. You can contact our experts here to get started with your study visa.
Work with a team of Regulated Canadian immigration Consultants who understand the detailed ins and outs of the application process and can help you make a stronger application with a higher chance of being approved.