Applying for Canada Student Direct Stream (SDS)

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Studying in Canada has never been easier for certain international students looking at studying abroad. CIC launched the Canada Student Direct Stream (SDS) to expedite study permit application processes for international students who want to pursue higher education in the Country.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) established this program to support the rapid growth of international student applications. The main benefit of the Student Direct Stream for international students is that it offers more efficient study permit processing times. In other words, the program was developed to make the process of applying for a Canadian study permit faster and more efficient for international students.

Under the Student Direct Stream, students residing in China, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Morocco, or Senegal who demonstrate upfront that they have the financial ability and language skills to succeed academically in Canada benefit from faster processing times. IRCC’s standard for Student Direct Stream processing is twenty calendar days.

Student Direct Stream Countries

You can apply for Study Direct Stream if you are a legal resident in these countries:

  • China,
  • India,
  • Pakistan,
  • the Philippines,
  • Vietnam,
  • Morocco,
  • or Senegal.

If you reside in another country (even if you are a citizen of one of the above-listed countries), you have to apply via the regular study permit application process. IRCC will begin processing your application once you have lodged your biometrics and demonstrated that you meet all eligibility requirements.

Requirements for Student Direct Stream

In order to qualify for SDS, you must be a resident of the countries listed above and meet other additional requirements.

  • Acceptance letter from a government-approved institution in Canada
  • Upfront medical examination to confirmation document
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAD or more
  • Proof that tuition fees for the first academic year of study in Canada have been paid
  • Proof of graduation from a Canadian curriculum high school or its equivalent.
  • Proof of language test score of at least 6 in each area of the IELTS
  • Niveaux de compétence Linguistique canadiens (NCLC) score of at least 7 for French.

If you don’t have all of the necessary requirements listed above, you can still apply through the regular study permit application process, either online or at a Visa Application Centre. Applications that meet the regular study permit requirement will be processed according to the regular study permit criteria.

Student Direct Stream Processing Time

The SDS is a fast-track study permit application process for foreign students who want to pursue higher education in Canada.

Unlike the usual student visa processing that may take up to two to three months, Student Direct Stream allows you to get your visa within four weeks. If you meet the eligibility criteria and apply through SDS, your application will be processed within 20 calendar days.

However, there are some instances where applications may take longer than usual if you do not provide documents and or give biometrics. Moreso, applications are also received and treated on a first-come-serve basis. Hence you must prepare your documents upfront when you apply through the Student Direct Stream.

To find out how long a regular study permit application takes to process, use our Canadian immigration processing times tool.

How to Apply for Student Direct Stream

You must apply online for the Student Direct Stream. Alongside the electronic application, you need to submit the following documents:

  • A copy of your acceptance letter from a post-secondary DLI
  • A copy of your medical exam confirmation document (if required)
  • A police certificate
  • Proof that you have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAN
  • Proof that you have paid the tuition fees for their first year of study
  • A copy of your most recent educational transcript
  • Proof that you have completed a language test indicating either: A score of at least 6 for English on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or A score of at least 7 for French on the Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF).

For more information about the supporting documents required for the SDS, an application can be found on the IRCC website.

What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

A GIC is a Canadian investment that has an assured or guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time. Many banks in Canada offer GICs. The bank that offers you the GIC must:

  • confirm that you purchased a GIC by giving you one of the following:
  • a letter of attestation
  • a GIC certificate
  •  an Investment Directions confirmation or an Investment Balance Confirmation
  • hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you can’t access until you arrive in Canada
    confirm your identity before they release any funds to you

Once you arrive in Canada, you will receive a part of your GIC. The rest will be paid out to you over the next ten to twelve months.

If your GIC or bank doesn’t meet these criteria, you will not be able to apply through the Student Direct Stream.

Where can I get a GIC?

You can get a GIC from banks listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company website. Make sure the financial institution or bank you selected offers a GIC and meets the requirements for the Student Direct Stream.

The following financial institutions or banks offer GICs that meet the criteria:

  • Bank of Beijing
  • Bank of China
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Desjardins
  • Habib Canadian Bank
  • HSBC Bank of Canada
  • ICICI Bank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • SBI Canada Bank
  • Scotiabank

How To Get Canadian permanent residence through SDS Canada?

Canada makes it easy for foreign students to become permanent residents if they want to stay in the country.

The Post-Graduate Work Permit allows international students to stay in Canada and work for up to three years after graduation. After working in Canada for one year, international graduates may be qualified to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

FAQ for Student Direct Stream

Q. Which of the English proficiency tests are accepted under the SDS application?

A. Under the Student Direct Stream program, you will be required to show proof of your IELTS Exam, as other English Language proficiency tests are not accepted under the SDS category.

Q. Is anything new planned for the Student Direct Stream?

A. The federal government has planned to expand the Student Direct Stream over the next five years. This expansion will include a new application service system that aims to provide a single and streamlined experience to foreign students.

In short, you will be able to apply for a study permit, work permit, or temporary visa, for a co-op term, together in one place.

Q. Does the Student Direct Stream Replaces IRCC’s Regular Study Permit Stream?

A. The SDS does not in any way replacing IRCC’s regular study permit, but in simple terms, it’s just a fast-track or expedited stream. In case you apply for the SDS but don’t qualify, your application will be processed under regular processing procedures.

Q. Cost of applying through Canada’s Student Direct Stream?

A. International students applying through Student Direct Stream Canada need to show proof of full payment of the tuition for the first year of studies.

This might look like this: a receipt from the DLI/school, a receipt from a bank showing that tuition fees have been paid to the DLI, an official letter from the school confirming payment of tuition fees, Applicants must also lodge a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

Q. Can my family come with me through SDS Canada?

A. Yes. Your spouse, common-law partner, and dependent children may come with you when applying through SDS Canada!

They may also be qualified for faster processing times when lodging applications for work permits, study permits, or visitor visas.

All family members must complete and lodge their applications at the same time. When you apply online, signify that you have family members coming with you to Canada. This enables you to complete your application at the same time as yours.

Q. What Happens After You Apply?

A. After lodging your study permit application via the Student Direct Stream, you will have to book an appointment to provide your biometrics before the visa office can begin processing your application.

Q. What Happens When My SDS Application Is Approved?

A. If your application is approved, you will receive: An introduction letter, which you will present to a border officer upon landing at the airport in Canada; visitor visa, depending on your requirements.

Congratulations! With the confirmation of an approved study permit, you are now one step closer to pursuing your dream of studying abroad in Canada!

Q. What Happens When My SDS Application Is Refused?

A. If your application is refused or rejected by the visa officer, you will get a letter explaining the decision. You can forward any questions to the visa office.

Q. What are the benefits of Canada’s SDS?

A. Canada’s Student Direct Stream, sometimes commonly known as SDS Canada, helps fast-track and expedite the study permits processing for some international students. Most SDS applications are processed within twenty days.