Student Direct Stream (SDS) Canada (Explained)

Student Direct Stream (SDS) Canada (Explained)

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a fast & quick Canadian immigration program designed to lower & reduce the processing time of study permit applications for international students from select countries. The Student Direct Stream (SDS) program was introduced by the IRCC, which aims to provide faster and more efficient processing for eligible applicants, reducing the time it takes to obtain a study permit for an international student in Canada.

Benefits of Canada’s Student Direct Stream

  1. Quick Processing Time: Well, if we talk about the main benefit of the SDS, then this immigration program offers a significantly faster processing time for study permits for the students & their applications when we compare it to the other regular streams of immigration which is related to Canada, allowing eligible applicants to receive their permits more quickly.
  2. Simpler Application Process: The program has clear and specific eligibility criteria which are not quite complex like any other immigration program, including language proficiency, financial requirements, and acceptance into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  3. Streamlined Application Process: SDS streamlines & fastens up the overall application process, reducing unnecessary delays and uncertainties or any kind of difficulties for international students.
  4. Enhanced Student Experience: By facilitating quicker processing times and offering a more predictable application process, SDS contributes to an improved overall experience for international students.
  5. Supports Canada’s Educational Goals: SDS aligns with Canada’s objectives of attracting and retaining international talent, promoting cultural diversity, and establishing the country as a top destination for high-quality education.
  6. Accessibility and Efficiency: The program aims to make the immigration process more accessible and efficient for eligible students from select countries, aligning with Canada’s commitment to fostering international education and collaboration

Who can apply through Canada’s Student Direct Stream?

Student Direct Stream is available for all applicants who live in one of these countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

However, individuals from countries not listed above, even if they are citizens of the mentioned nations, must follow the standard study permit application process.

Note: Upon submission of your biometrics and confirmation of meeting all eligibility criteria, the Canadian government will initiate the processing of your application.

Eligibility Requirements for Student Direct Stream

1. Country of Residence: Applicants must be residents of one of the specified countries in Africa or Asia.

2. Acceptance into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI): Applicants must have an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.

3. Tuition Payment: Applicants need to provide proof of payment for the tuition fees for the first year of study at the designated institution.

  • Demonstrate coverage of travel expenses.
  • Show proof of payment for the first-year tuition fees

4. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC): Some applicants may be required to purchase a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from a participating Canadian financial institution to demonstrate financial stability for living expenses.

Provide evidence of securing a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) amounting to CAD 20,635.

5. Language Proficiency: Applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English or French through a recognized language test, such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or an equivalent.

  • A minimum score of 6.0 is required in each language skill level (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
  • Alternatively, a minimum score of CLB 7 is accepted for CELPIP General.
  • CAEL requires a minimum score of 60, while both Pearson Test of English (PTE).
  • Academic and Educational Testing Service (ETS) TOEFL iBT Test requires a minimum score of 60 and 83, respectively









6. Undergo a Medical Examination: Depending on the country of residence & from where the applicant is coming, some applicants may need to undergo a medical examination to ensure they meet the health requirements for studying in Canada.

7. Purchase of Specialized Student GIC (if applicable): In addition to the regular GIC, students from certain countries may need to purchase a Specialized Student GIC, which includes funds specifically allocated for living expenses for the international studetns.

  • Verification of your GIC purchase will be confirmed through one of the following:
    • A letter of attestation
    • A GIC certificate
    • An Investment Directions Confirmation
    • An Investment Balance Confirmation
  • The GIC must be held in an investment account or a student account inaccessible until your arrival in Canada.
  • Identity confirmation is required before any funds are released to you

8. Biometrics Submission: Applicants are required to submit biometric information, including fingerprints and a photo, as part of the application process

Documents Required for SDS Visa Canada

  • Proof of language proficiency
  • Application form for a study permit outside of Canada
  • Application for a Temporary Resident visa form
  • Marriage license or marriage certificate if applicable
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Representative form
  • Identity proof
  • Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) or letter of approval from the University of Quebec, if applicable
  • Receipt of the application fee for the Study Direct Stream process
  • Any other documents of valid evidence as requested by Visa officers
  • A copy of the acceptance letter from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • A copy of the upfront medical exam confirmation document, if required
  • Police certificate, if required
  • Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) with a minimum of CAD $10,000
  • Proof of payment of tuition fees for the first year of study
  • Copies of educational transcripts

Banks Which Can Give You GIC?

Obtain a GIC from a financial institution listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company website, ensuring that the chosen institution offers a GIC and aligns with the Student Direct Stream criteria.

  • The following financial institutions provide 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

Application Process for SDS Canada Visa

  1. Visit the Immigration Refugee Citizenship (IRCC) Website: Well, you need to go to the IRCC site & complete the SDS application form IMM 1294.
  2. Upload Required Documents: Scan and upload the necessary documents as part of your application & in the SDS immigration program in which you’re applying.
  3. Payment of Fees: Pay the prescribed fees, which are categorized into application fees (CAD 150 per person) and biometrics fees (CAD 85).
  4. Receive Biometrics Request Letter: After fee payment will be done, you will receive a link to your biometrics request letter, and you must provide biometric information, including fingerprints and a photo, to initiate application processing.
  5. Undergo Medical Exams and Background Verification (if required): Following the acceptance of your biometrics, you may be required to undergo medical examinations and background verification.
  6. Approval and Documentation: Upon approval of your SDS visa application, you will receive a letter of introduction, an electronic travel authorization (eTA), or a temporary resident visa. These documents allow you to enter Canada as an international student

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why opt for SDS instead of non-SDS?

Choosing SDS offers a significantly expedited or say less processing time compared to non-SDS student visa applications. SDS applications undergo priority processing, ensuring a quicker visa decision, and allowing you to commence your studies in Canada sooner.

What factors can potentially delay SDS processing time?

Several factors may contribute to delays in Student Direct Stream Visa processing:

  1. Unclear photocopies of documents
  2. Verification processes for information and documents
  3. Medical conditions requiring additional tests or consultations
  4. Criminal or security issues
  5. Consultations with other offices in Canada and abroad.

Can SDS lead to Canadian permanent residence?

Yes, Canada facilitates the path to permanent residency for international students. The Post-Graduate Work Permit enables graduates to work in Canada for up to three years. After a year of work in Canada, international graduates may be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Is an SOP required for SDS applications?

Certainly, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) is typically a requirement for students applying for a student visa through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program.

What does the SDS category entail in Canada?

Under specific eligibility criteria, international students can apply for their student visa through the SDS category in Canada. This streamlined process offers greater ease and convenience compared to the regular visa application procedure in the country


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