Student Direct Stream (SDS) Canada

Canada is making it even easier for international students from certain Asian and African partner countries to become international students in Canada! 

Read on to find out if you are eligible to apply for a Canadian study permit through SDS Canada.

Student Assessment

The benefits of Canada’s Student Direct Stream

Canada’s Student Direct Stream, sometimes called SDS Canada, helps fast-track the processing of study permits for certain international students. Most SDS applications are processed within 20 days.

Who can apply through Canada’s Student Direct Stream?

If you live in one of the following countries in Africa or Asia, you may be eligible to apply for a Canadian study permit through the Student Direct Stream:

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

If a person is a resident of another country (even if they are a citizen of one of the countries listed above) then they must apply through the regular study permit application process.

The Canadian government will begin processing your application once you have submitted your biometrics and shown that you meet all eligibility requirements

How much does it cost to apply through Canada's Student Direct Stream?

International students applying through SDS Canada are required to show proof of full payment of the tuition for the first year of their studies. 

This might look like:

  • a receipt from the DLI
  • a receipt from a bank showing that tuition fees have been paid to the DLI
  • an official letter from the DLI confirming payment of tuition fees

Applicants must also submit a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

What are the requirements for SDS Canada?

In order to be eligible for SDS, the person must be a resident of one of the countries listed above. As well, the person must have the following required documents:

  • Acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada
  • Upfront medical exam confirmation document
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAD
  • Proof that tuition fees for the first year of study in Canada have been paid
  • Proof of graduation from a Canadian curriculum high school or a language test showing either:
    • Score of at least 6 in each category of the IELTS
    • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens score of at least 7 for French

What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

A GIC is a Canadian investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time. Many banks offer GICs. The bank that gives you the GIC must:

  • confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you 1 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 portion of your GIC. The rest will be paid out to you over the next 10 to 12 months.

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

Where can I get a GIC?

You can get a GIC from a financial institution listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company website. Make sure the financial institution you choose offers a GIC and meets the criteria for the Student Direct Stream.

The following financial institutions offer GICs that meet the criteria:

Click here to read more about the best GIC rates in Canada for 2020.

Can my family come with me through SDS Canada?

Yes. Your spouse, partner, and dependent children may come with you when you apply through SDS Canada! 

They may also be eligible for faster processing times when submitting applications for work permits, study permits, or visitor visas

All family members must complete and submit their applications at the same time. When you apply online, indicate that you have family members coming with you to Canada. This lets you complete their applications at the same time as yours. 


How to Apply to Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS)

The only way to apply for a study permit through SDS is online. This instruction guide can help you to fill out the necessary forms

You will also need:

  • A scanner or camera to submit electronic copies of your documents
  • A credit or debit card in order to make a payment

Remember, a study permit is NOT a visa. You may still need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) in order to enter Canada. This will be issued to do you by the federal government along with your study permit.

Click here and select the country or territory you’re applying from to get your local visa office instructions and to apply online

Can I get Canadian permanent residence through SDS Canada?

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

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

Click here to learn more about study pathways to Canadian permanent residency.

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