Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Canadian Student Visa Filing (Paper Application Process)

Hello all,
I have spent a lot of time hunting for all the documents and details for filing a student visa and i know this can be a very painful task and needs a lot of time and preparation to gather all the documents . So i decided to write this blog post entirely on the VISA Application Process.

I hope this post will cover most of your VISA related queries. 
In any case, if i have left out any information then please bring it to my notice as it will help the other students who stumble upon this article.

In case you have any questions , then please use the comment section below. If i find the question will be beneficial to the students at large, then i will separately include the answers in the FAQ section of this post.

PART I  : Application Forms 
  • Study Permit Application form IMM1294E
    • After filling up the form, click on the validate button. 
    • Once the form has been validated, you will notice that an extra page will be appended to the existing pdf consisting of 5 barcodes.
    • IMPORTANT : Please print this form using a LASER PRINTER ONLY !! because there might be problems reading the barcode in the VAC office if the colour distribution is uneven. The person filing her visa just ahead of me in line, had this issue with the barcode and had to redo the entire application form and come back another day.
    • Please donot leave any question/section blank . If that section does not apply to you, then consider writing N.A or Not Applicable
  • Medical Examination form
    • It is advisable to go for an upfront medical exam. This will considerably speed up your Visa Process.
    • If you have received an admission letter from the university then you can schedule the medical exam even 10 months before.  I had scheduled my medical exam 45 days prior to my visa filing. 
    • The medical test consists of some Basic tests like Blood Test, HIV , Chest X-Ray, and Urine test followed by a full body checkup by a physician.
  • Family Information Form - IMM5645E
    • Please don't leave any question/section blank . If that section does not apply to you, then consider writing N.A or Not Applicable
  • Study Permit Questionnaire Form - IMM 5957E ( for university Students / Differs for others ) 
    • Please don't leave any question/section blank . If that section does not apply to you, then consider writing N.A or Not Applicable
PART II  : Academic Documents
  • Admission Confirmation Letter to the Canadian University.
  • Photocopy of your TOEFL / IELTS Score
  • Academic Transcripts & Passing Certificates along with Degree Conformation Certificates; from your 10th Standard to Current Level of Education.
    • In some cases maybe you are awaiting results of your most recent degree or you haven't yet received the degree certificate from your current university. In such a situation, consider making a note of this on a Separate COVER LETTER(see the last Section)
PART III : Financials
These documents should make it clear to the VISA officer that your current financial standings are good enough and you can comfortably afford 2 years of Living Expenses(roughly 11000 CAD each year ) and your tuition fee mentioned in your college admission letter.

** if someone is sponsoring you then you need to provide his/her  ITR , PAYSLIPS , Statement of Support & Bank Statements in addition to the following documents **
  • Scholarship Letter 
  • Bank Statements - 6 months 
  • Income Tax Return Receipt 
  • Salary Slips of 3-4 Months 
  • Total Declaration of Finances by Chattered Accountant
    • Please Note that this is OPTIONAL , but getting all your financial documents certified by a chartered accountant speeds up your VISA processing time.
  • Certification from the bank 
  • Self Declaration of Gold / Ornaments - to be given to C.A for certification.
  • If you have paid a part of the tuition fee, then include the receipts as well and write about it in the Cover Letter
  • Affidavit of Support by yours sponsor/s on a 20 rupees Stamp Paper. 
Safe Amount to show = 2 years living expenses + Tuition Cost 
In All finance docuemtns , be it from bank or from your Chattered Accountant , request them to ALWAYS MENTION THE CAD EQUIVALENT of the amount you are showing.

PART IV : Other Documents
  • 4 Passport size Photographs 
  • Photocopy of your Passport 
    • Keep Sufficient Photocopies of your passport with you as you will need it while submitting your documents and for any other process regarding the application. 
  • Original Passport 
  • COVER LETTER : if there are any exceptions (like awaiting results / degree not yet conferred / etc )that you would like to bring to the notice of the VISA officer then draft a separate letter outlining the issues and attach it to your application.
FAQ Section :
When should you start filing your visa ?
If you have got multiple admission offers , then first zero down on the college which you want to attend. After you have the college finalised , start the visa process immediately.
Can we book flights before Visa?
Yes. We can.



I, <NAME OF SPONSOR>, F/o <NAME OF STUDENT>, R/o <ADDRESS>, do hereby solemnly affirm and sincerely state as follows:

  1. I undertake that i am ready to spend the entire cost of education, for my son <STUDENT>, aged about 22 years , who is applying for his <DEGREE AND COURSE> commencing from September 2016 at <NAME OF UNIVERSITY> in Canada.
  2. That the family has ample financial resources to provide necessary funds for the education and living expenses of my son till the completion of his studies in Canada.
  3. I declare that what all are stated is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

10 Must Do's : After receiving an Admission Offer

1.  Learn to Cook
First Things first. This is probably the most important tip. All these years perhaps you have never bothered to cook , but this tip is going to make a lot more sense when you actually start your life as a student. No one is asking you to cook like a chef or take special cooking classes. You are expected to know hook to cook the basic food items. Take time out weekly and learn the basic lunch and dinner food items from your mum , home cook, or just Youtube it. 


Trust me, this is going to help you to curb down on unnecessary expenses and will also keep you fit. As an add-on you will also get a feeling of self satisfaction, as it gives you a true sense of living independently. Eating out once in a while is fine, especially when you have exams, its totally okay to eat outside, but overall you are going to save a lot if you are cooking yourself.

2.  Book your Flights 
Richie Rich ? Never Mind; Saving money is always good.
Booking your flight late will seriously burn a hole in your pocket. It is advisable to book your flights just after you receive the admission offer. This way you can always save a considerable amount. 
Example : I had booked my flights nearly 100 days before my departure and paid a price of 57,500 INR . One friend booked 10 days before me and Paid 48,000 INR. Similarly another friend booked his tickets just a week after I had booked my tickets, he paid around 66,000 INR.

See the difference ? Such differences in fair prices approximately 100 days before departure. Now can you Imagine what the prices will be just 30-40 days before your departure ? The point to note is that , there is a lot of rush in booking your tickets since this is the peak time for student travel so ticket availability will also be a problem if you aren't early in queue. So do not delay. 

3.  Searching for your accommodation
This is a very difficult task as its very risky to book a room without actually having a look at it.
For this , some guidance from the seniors is needed. However be proactive and start your search immediately after you receive the admission letter. There will be plethora of websites where you can find housing . Usually the university hostels will be nearly twice as expensive as the ones available off campus. 
The best suggestion I can give is that you should talk to a senior first and see if temporary stay for 4-5 days could be managed. This would be enough time for you to search for good housing option. After having confirmation of the temporary housing, search the websites to find out rents close to the university campus of areas from where direct transport is available to the university. Contact the landlord and have a brief conversation with him regarding the advertisement for rent which you saw. If you are convinced then note down the particulars in a document . Do this for about 10-12 houses that you like from the advertisement. This is really important because you might have had a talk with the landlord now over phone that the room was vacant but the very next day it might be taken by some other student. You cant really expect the landlord to expect to wait for you , can you ? So for safety sake, keep your options open. 

4.  Prepare Baggage Checklist 
" Lighter the Luggage Smoother the Journey "
Don't leave your packing for the last minute. Again maintain a notepad for this. Have separate sections for clothing , medicines, gadgets , essentials , utensils. As and when you remember something , just jot it down in your notepad. This will save you a lot of time and in this way you wont miss out on any necessary item. 
Have the final list ready atleast 2-3 weeks before your departure. Now fianally scrutinise the list to see if you can do without certain items. You need to remember that you will be entitled to only 2 checkin bags (sometimes 3 due to student offers) of 23kgs each , so pack judiciously. 

5.  Scan upload all your documents / notes in the cloud 
This again is extremely important. Take a note of this. Be it dropbox, google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or BOX, just use any service and get all your documents backed up in the cloud. 
Well its even a better idea to keep the Softcopy-backup of these documents on a separate pendrive as well. 
Examples : 

  • Passport (front and back page )
  • Visa & Work Permit 
  • Admission Letter
  • Financial Documents 
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Resume 
Now coming to Books and Notes. Trust me, if you are considering of carrying many text-books from home, then you might as well want to reconsider. Carrying books is a nightmare, because those heavy volumes will make life tough for you to stay within the baggage restriction weight limits.

Pro Tip :  Carry at max 2-3 books (at MAX) better still if you can do without them. But sometimes, there are just certain chapters from a book or certain class-notes you think will help you revise better ; for this case just scan those notes into pdf's and upload it into your cloud storage as well. 
Trust me, you will need to this . 
TORRENTS are BANNED, so don't even think that you could download e-books easily there. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Unbiased Exhaustive Review of Xiaomi Mi5

At a glance
Price : 24999 INR (32GB , 3GB Ram Variant)


  • CPU : Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Quad-core Kyro 1.8Ghz(max)
  • Display : 5.15 inch  , 1920*1080 Full HD IPS Display
  • Camera : 16MP rear camera with OIS ( 4 axis optical image stabilisation ) , 4MP front camera with micron pixels . Dual-LED(Dual tone)flash 
  • Battery : 3000mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery (non-user removable)
  • OS : Android marshmallow( MIUI out of the box )
  • RAM : 3GB    
  • ROM : 32GB  ( ~ 24.9GB user accessible )

What’s Hot !! (Pros)
What’s NOT (Cons)
Great Design
  • Weighs just 129 grams
  • Curved Design makes it’s easy to hold
  • Corning Gorilla glass 4 back panel
USB Type C :
  • Due to the lack of devices using type C connectors , you have carry your charger everywhere . Not backwards compatible with regular micro USB.
  • IR Blaster : can operate TV / AC/ any other remote based device
  • Fingerprint Sensor : Works amazingly fast !! and it works in any orientation.
  • Bluetooth 4.2, Bluebooth HID
  • Full-feature NFC, supports reads/writes, card emulation and P2P
Fingerprint Sensor:
  • Though it is fast , i would personally like to have the sensor at the back like redmi Note 3 or Nexus 6P.  
  • To unlock the screen you have to touch the sensor as well as press it (not so cool !)
  • Rear camera : Amazingly fast shutter speed , captures true tones and details very well. Good bokeh effect for Macro shots. Dual-LED flash makes night photography capture real colours.

  • Front camera : BEST !! Large 2 micron pixel size reproduces excellent selfie.

  • Video Recordings : 4 axis OIS in rear camera , stabilizes the jerkiness in videos. There are options for 4k Video (at 30fps) and Slow motion capture (720p at 120fps)
  • The rear camera does not perform upto expectation in low light (without flash)> Though the pictures are good , but compared to the price paid , the images could have come out better.

  • In low light , good amount of noise can be easily spotted in the images. Xiaomi has confirmed that this would be fixed with the future software updates.
  • Though the on paper specs is only 3000mAh , but this battery simply outperforms any other phone in this segment. It lasts around 30 hours with moderate to heavy usage. (battery test pictures below)

  • Quick Charge 3.0

Overall / UI
  • A big thumbs up for this minimalistic and colourful UI. MIUI has a themes store , where you can heavily customise the way your phone looks.
  • MIUI has regular updates
  • Though there are 2 visible side firing speakers , only one of them is for the audio output . The second one is just there for symmetry. This is really not cool . At this price point , a dual speakers could have been used.

  • However the sound from the single speaker is pretty loud , and the quality is very nice.

Overall Value for Money : 7.5 / 10

Final Comments

This device is a clear winner in case of performance at it uses the latest flagship Snapdragon 820 Kyro processor and the rear camera with 4 axis OIS is the USP. Gaming experience is awesome, due to the 3GB RAM and Adreno 530 GPU. Though these extra elite features are a bang for its price , i believe this device would be a huge success if it was priced around the 18-20k segment , as there are other players who are entering this segment with similar features.
If you are looking for a superior camera and great overall experience , go for this device. 

Battery Performance

Rear Camera Samples

    Subject : Laughing Buddha clay statue
    Conditions of clicking
  •     Shot at night in low lighting conditions , no flash 
  •     Aperture : f/2.0
  •     Exposure time : 1/25
  •     ISO : 573

    Comment : Try zooming the picture to see the details 

    Subject : Mi Band 
    Conditions of clicking : Shot at night in low lighting conditions , no flash 
    Comment : Try zooming the picture to see the details 

    Subject : Retro night bulb holder 
    Conditions of clicking : Shot at 6:30 AM in the morning 
    Comment : Try zooming the picture to see the details

    Subject : Rusted knobs of water pipes  
    Conditions of clicking : Shot at 6:30 AM in the morning 
    Comment : Try zooming the picture to see the details on the turning knobs 

    Subject : Morning view from the terrace
    Conditions of clicking : Shot at 6:30 AM in the morning 

Front Camera Sample

    Subject : Morning Selfie
    Conditions of clicking
  •     Shot at 6:30 AM in the morning 
  •     Focal Length : 4.6mm
  •     Aperture : f/2.0
  •     Exposure Time : 1/434
  •     ISO : 100


Gaming Test ( Asphalt Nitro )
Screen Recording at 480p

Antutu Benchmark