The Student Direct Stream is a programme which is designed for fast-tracking the student permit process of candidates coming to Canada from certain countries for their higher studies. When students apply to universities under the Canada SDS programme, their Canada student permit process starts within a shorter span of time as compared to the regular study permit process of students coming from countries which are not included in the Canada SDS approved list of nations around the world. 

One of the best things about applying for a Canada study permit under the Canada SDS programme is that the processing time is significantly less. This article will tell you all about the Canada SDS process, its eligibility criteria, documents to be submitted by the students who wish to apply for a study permit under the SDS in Canada, SDS Canada requirements etc.

SDS Canada Requirements and Basic Details

The Student Direct Stream is a programme under which students from countries like India, Sri Lanka, China, the Philippines, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal and Vietnam can avail their Canada study permit within a short span of 20 days. Usually, the Canadian embassy or consulate takes close to 16 weeks to process a Canada study permit. This is one of the biggest advantages of students coming from the countries mentioned above. 

In order to be deemed eligible for a study permit under the SDS programme, students must also possess a letter from acceptance from any of the DLIs or Designated Learning Institutions which is a list of colleges and universities in Canada which offer legitimate, full-time courses to study in Canada, in addition to belonging to the above list of countries. Students who are originally from any of the countries mentioned in the list of eligible nations but stay elsewhere in the world are also not eligible to apply for a Canada study permit under the Canada SDS programme. Let us take a look at the various requirements which students have to fulfill in order to be able to apply under the SDS Canada.

Read about The Canada Work Permit Guide For Education Loan Applicants

Eligibility Criteria to Apply for Study Permit Under the SDS in Canada

Similar to the Canada student permit process, candidates must fulfil certain requirements in order to be deemed eligible for one under the Canada SDS programme. In addition to being a citizen of the countries mentioned in the previous paragraph, students must also fulfil certain other requirements to be able to apply for a study permit under the Canada SDS programme. 

  1. Students must be citizens of India, Morocco, the Philippines, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Senegal and Vietnam. They must have been residing within these countries at the time of applying for a Canada study permit under the study direct stream programme.
  2. Candidates must possess an acceptance letter from any of the designated learning institutions in Canada.
  3. They must be residing outside of Canada at the time of applying for a study permit under the Canada SDS programme.
  4. Students must possess proof of having paid their tuition fees for the first year of study from their respective universities.
  5. Students must have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN $10,000.
  6. If the candidates wish to study in Quebec, they must have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration.
  7. They must get a medical exam done before applying.
  8. Students must have their most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcripts.
  9. They must get a police certificate before applying for a study permit under the Canada SDS programme.
  10. They must have a language test result that shows:
  • a score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening) on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or
  • a Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) score that is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening)

It is important to note that a Canada student permit is not your student visa. Depending on the category under which their native country is listed, students get to avail either a Canada student visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. Let us move on to understanding the documents required from the candidates who wish to apply for a study permit under the Canada SDS programme. 

Documents to be Submitted for a Study Permit under the Canada SDS Programme

The documents required from students who are qualified to apply for a Canada study permit under the Canada SDS programme are more or less similar to those required for a study permit made available under the regular study permit programme. Some of the essential documents required from such students are listed below.

Proof of full payment of tuition for the applicant’s first year of study

This may be in the form of the following:

  1. a receipt from the DLI
  2. an official letter from the DLI confirming payment of tuition fees
  3. a receipt from a bank showing that tuition fees have been paid to the DLI
  4. proof that the tuition fee amount has been transferred into a repository account at the DLI to be applied to the tuition bill at a later date

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:

  1. confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you 1 of the following:
    1. a letter of attestation
    2. a GIC certificate
    3. an Investment Directions Confirmation or Investment Balance Confirmation
  2. hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you can’t access until you arrive in Canada
  3. make you confirm your identity before they release any funds to you
  4. release the funds to you by providing:
    1. an initial lump sum once you identify yourself upon arrival in Canada
    2.the remainder of the funds in monthly or bi-monthly instalments over 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.

Financial institutions that offer GICs

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:

  1. Bank of Beijing
  2. Bank of China
  3. Bank of Montreal
  4. Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
  5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  6. Desjardins
  7. Footnote
  8. Habib Canadian Bank
  9. HSBC Bank of Canada
  10. ICICI Bank
  11. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  12. RBC Royal Bank
  13. SBI Canada Bank
  14. Scotiabank

Indian students who are applying for a Canada study permit under SDS in Canada may apply for a GIC in the following banks:

1. ICICI Bank, Canada

2. SBI Bank, Canada

3. Scotiabank

For further guidance regarding how you can apply for a Canada study permit under the SDS scheme, watch episode 20 of Loanflix, which is a series of videos that explain the various aspects of an abroad education loan process in India. In order to get your funds disbursed in time by your lending bank, get in touch with the financial team of WeMakeScholars at the earliest.

Also, read about Canada GIC Process

Medical exams and police certificates

Depending on where you’re applying from, you may need to get a medical exam or police certificate. To get faster processing through the Student Direct Stream, you must include these with your application (if you need them). If you don’t, we won’t process your application faster.

Who needs a medical exam?
You may need to get a medical exam if

  • you lived or travelled in certain countries or territories for 6 or more months in the year before you come to Canada, or
  • you plan on studying or working in any of the following fields.
    1. the health field
    2. primary or secondary education, or
    3. child or elder care

To get a medical exam, you must see a doctor that has been approved by IRCC.

Who needs a police certificate?

Your visa office instructions will tell you if you need to get a police certificate. You’ll find these instructions when you select your country of residence below. Make sure you read these instructions before you apply, so you know if you need a police certificate or any other documents to apply.

SDS Canada: How to Apply for a Study Permit Under SDS Canada?

In order to apply for a study permit under the SDS Canada programme and to be able to get it on time, students must use the online application system. The government of Canada recommends different application process for students coming from different parts of the world. So, before beginning your application process, it is essential that you check on the rules and regulations laid down by the consulate for your country. For students who apply for a study permit under the Canada SDS programme, the very first step is to open an account online. This step significantly reduces the Canada student visa processing time for candidates. 

With the help of this account, they will be able to:

  1. Pay their fees 
  2. Submit their application
  3. Check the status of their application

When you apply, make sure you:

  • meet the eligibility for faster processing
  • include all the documents you need

The total cost of applying for a study permit under the SDS Canada programme is a total of CAD $150. It is important to understand that students must possess a GIC before beginning their application procedure. This is a compulsory requirement of the Canada study permit process.

Those who plan on borrowing an education loan to study in Canada should do so at least 1.5 months before they are expected to apply for a study permit. Most government banks take close to a month to release the necessary funds. Students who have applied through WeMakeScholars for an education loan got their funding within 12 days of applying for their student loan. So speak to our financial officers at the earliest to get your education loan on time.

What To Do Once You Have Submitted Your Online Application?

Once students submit their online application for a Canada study permit under the SDS programme, they will be required to submit their biometric information and photographs to the consulate/embassy after having taken an appointment for the same.

The study permit will be processed by the embassy. If it is rejected due to any reason, respective applicants will be intimated of the same and they would have to apply again. Once approved, students would either be issued an eTA or a student visa, depending on their country of residence.

On arriving in Canada, students are expected to keep their student visa/eTA and study permit documents handy as immigration authorities would be asking for the same in order to verify the incoming applicant's particulars. Once this procedure is completed, applicants are free to proceed to the destination of their higher studies in Canada.

Note: WeMakeScholars is an organization funded and supported by the Government of India that focuses on International Education finance. We are associated with 10+ public/Pvt banks/ NBFCs in India and help you get the best abroad education loan matching your profile. As this initiative is under the Digital India campaign, it’s at free of cost. The organization has vast experience dealing with students going to various abroad education destinations like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, China, France among others