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Student direct stream (SDS) Canada

Student direct stream is a program created by Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada to enable a faster application process for eligible SDS study permit applicants.

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    About Student Direct Stream

    Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a study permit application program. It is a streamlined program that enables faster processing of the study permit application process for international students interested in pursuing post-secondary education in Canada.

    SDS Canada is streamlined to post-secondary designated learning institutions and citizens of certain countries.

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    What Are the Countries Eligible for Student Direct Stream (SDS)?

    The following countries are eligible for SDS Canada:

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

    Only citizens of the countries above are eligible to apply for Canada’s student direct stream. Eligible citizens must also reside in their home countries. If you are not a citizen of one of the eligible countries, you can apply for a study permit using the general visa application process. Also, SDS applications that do not satisfy the SDS requirements will go through the regular study permit processing procedures.

    Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

    Designated learning institutions are schools with government approval to admit international students. Post-secondary schools require provincial or territorial government approval to enroll international students in a study program. However, all primary and secondary schools are approved to admit international students.

    DLI varies by province or territory. Ensure to check for SDS colleges on the DLI list before applying.

    A number of students

    Eligibility Requirements for Student Direct Stream (SDS)

    The following documents are necessary to apply for the student direct stream:

    Language Test Result

    Applicants must be proficient in English or French language. You must provide proof of proficiency in the required language (English or French). To do so, you have to take a language test.

    The language test result must be ready before the SDS application. The result is only valid for two years from the date you received it.

    What is the acceptable type of test?

    There are two types of language proficiency tests that are acceptable:

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
    • Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF).

    What are the acceptable score limits?

    The score limit for the tests is:

    • IELTS score: at least 6.0 in each language skill: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
    • Equivalence of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 for each language skill:
      • Speaking: 310 or higher
      • Listening: 249 or higher
      • Reading: 207 or higher
      • Writing: 310 or higher

    Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

    You will need to provide proof that you have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) which is worth a minimum of CAN$10,000.

    Proof of Paid Tuition Fees

    You may be required to pay the tuition bill in full for the first year of study. Ensure to have proof of full payment handy. The evidence may be in the form of:

    • A receipt from the designated school.
    • An official letter from the DLI confirming payment of your tuition fees.
    • A receipt from a bank showing payment of tuition fees to the DLI.
    • A confirmation that the tuition fee amount has been sent to the DLI’s repository account for later use in paying the tuition bill.

    Letter of Acceptance

    A letter of acceptance to a course or study program verifies your admission into a designated school. The acceptance letter must have the following detail:

    • Basic biodata: full name, date of birth, and student’s mailing address.
    • Institution name and official contact information.
    • DLI number.
    • Institution’s contact information: DLI number, telephone, fax, website, and email address.
    • Type of institution: public or private. For publicly funded schools (that is not a university) – post-secondary colleges, a post-secondary community college, or a post-secondary technical college.
    • Academic status: full-time or part-time.
    • Field or program of study: general academic subject areas.
    • Level of study: primary, secondary, internship, university program, non-university certificate or diploma.
    • Type of training program: academic, professional, vocational, or other.
    • Estimation of tuition fee.
    • Financial aid: scholarship, teaching assistantship, or other financial aid.
    • Conditions of acceptance: TOEFL, partial fee payment, keeping required academic performance.
    • Length of program: start and completion date.
    • Letter of acceptance and registration expiry date.

    Academic Transcript

    You will need to provide your most recent secondary or post-secondary academic transcript. An academic transcript will verify your educational background and provide a detailed description of all the subjects you have studied and your grades.

    Medical Examination

    You may be required to do an upfront medical examination before departing your country for Canada if:

    • You lived or traveled for six months in SDS-recognized countries or territories the year before coming to Canada.
    • Your field of study needs upfront medical examination results.

    You will have to do your medical examination with an approved doctor for Canada’s immigration medical exam. Such doctors are called Panel Physicians.

    Additional Documents

    You also need to provide Quebec Acceptance Certificate, proof of identity, and additional documents upon request. Ensure to have all travel and supporting documents handy before applying.

    Student in front of scientific formulas.

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      What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?


      The Guaranteed Investment Certificate is a low-risk investment scheme similar to a savings account. It is a one-year investment scheme that enables international students to save for one year in a student account.

      Canada demands GIC as a requirement for the SDS program for the following reasons:

      • It assures the Canadian government that you have enough money to cover your living costs for a year in Canada.
      • It guarantees faster processing of a study permit or a Canadian visa. Candidates must provide valid proof of bank statements.

      International students applying for SDS Canada will need to provide evidence of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

      Where to Get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

      You can get a GIC from any financial institution certified by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). You can also use Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada IRCC-approved banks.

      The IRCC-approved banks are:

      • Bank of Beijing
      • Bank of China
      • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
      • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
      • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
      • China Everbright Bank
      • DesjardinsFootnote1
      • Habib Canadian Bank
      • HSBC Bank of Canada
      • ICICI Bank
      • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
      • RBC Royal Bank
      • SBI Canada Bank
      • Scotiabank
      • Simplii Financial
      • TD Canada Trust

      What Happens after You Purchase a GIC?

      After purchasing a GIC for the approved banks, the bank must take the following steps:

      • Deliver a letter of attestation, the GIC certificate, the Investment Directions Confirmation, or the Investment Balance Confirmation to you.
      • Retain the inaccessible funds in your student or investment account until you arrive in Canada.
      • Validate your identity before initial disbursement into your account upon entry to Canada. You will receive the remaining funds in a monthly or bimonthly installment plan for a duration of 10 to 12 months.
      Adult studying via book and tablet.

      How to Apply for the SDS Program

      The method of SDS Canada application is strictly online through the IRCC website. Here are the necessary steps to apply:

      Consult the Instruction Guide

      Ensure to read the instruction guide for SDS thoroughly. It has a comprehensive detail on the following:

      • Study permit – all the eligibility criteria and application.
      • Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
      • Family members – definition and how to apply
      • Work permit
      • Medical examination
      • Biometrics
      • Document checklist
      • SDS application guide

      Get All Required Documents Ready

      Gathering all the required documents may be time-consuming. Ensure to have them ready for immediate submission before starting your application. Since the application for SDS is strictly online, ensure to convert all your documents to soft copies with a scanner or camera.

      Fill Out All the Required Forms for Application

      Aside from the documents for eligibility requirements listed above, you need to fill and submit the following forms:

      • Application For Study Permit Made Outside of Canada
      • Authority to release personal information to a designated individual
      • Custodianship Declaration – Custodian for Minors Studying in Canada (if applicable)
      • Document Checklist Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (if applicable)
      • Family Information
      • Use of a Representative (if applicable)

      The list above is not exhaustive. The visa officer processing your application may request additional documents.

      Ensure to provide accurate answers and input “NA” in areas that do not apply to you. Upload the forms once you are through.

      Pay Required Fees

      You will need to pay the required fees to avoid processing delay. The required fees are:

      • Application processing fees.
      • Biometric fee.

      You will need the following for payment:

      • Valid email address.
      • Printer to print the receipt.
      • Credit card, Debit MasterCard, or Visa Debit card.

      Read the instruction guide thoroughly and follow the instructions to pay.

      Submit the Application

      As an SDS applicant, it is mandatory to submit your application online. Ensure you complete the required forms and submit them along with your application forms and supporting documents.

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        What Happens after Submission?

        After submitting your application, an officer will assess the application package. The officer will contact you if an interview is necessary.

        The officer will check your application for:

        • Completion and submission of all of the required application forms.
        • Payment processing fee.
        • Supporting documentation.

        The officer will return your documents, if application is found incomplete.

        If your application is denied, you will receive all your original documents with an explanation for denying your application. However, if the officer approves your application, you will get your identity documents with a letter of introduction as application approval.

        You will need to submit the letter of introduction at the port of entry once you arrive in Canada for your study permit.

        You may not get your documents back if an officer suspects a fraudulent act or document.

        How can IAS Help?

        Student Direct Stream requires guidance and assistance in accessing the document checklist and online application, filling visa application forms, tracking SDS applications, and tracking processing time.

        IAS has the experience and experts to assist in getting Canadian study permit, SDS visa, non-sds visa, and other related needs.

        Call us at +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

        Call us for further assistance with your SDS visa immigration matter. Contact Us

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