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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 that are not included in the Canada SDS approved list of nations around the world.
The Student Direct Stream is a program that is designed for the fast-tracking permit process of candidates going to Canada from certain countries for their higher studies. 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.
In the article below we are going to discuss the Canada SDS process, its eligibility criteria, and the documents required to submit to apply for a study permit under the SDS in Canada. Before that let us have clear segregation between the SDS vs Non-SDS visa process.
Difference between SDS and Non-SDS
The major difference between the SDS and Non-SDS visa is the time taken for processing the visa. The SDS is processed in an average of 20 days whereas the Non-SDS visa can take up to 90 days. The other differences are listed in the below table.
Basis of difference
Around 20 days
Takes up to 90 days
Application Success Rate
71% (according to IRCC)
40% (according to IRCC)
Reason to give Visa
SDS is given for study permits only
Non- SDS is a general visa and can be applied to study, work, or for migration.
Only nationals of certain countries
Nationals from any country can apply.
IELTS is mandatory
IELTS is not mandatory ( TOEFL or PTE will Work)
How to apply?
SDS can only be applied online.
Can be applied online or offline.
Mandatory to create GIC
GIC is not mandatory
Read More: IELTS preparation Tips
Read More: TOEFL vs IELTS
SDS Canada Requirements and Basic Details
The Student Direct Stream is a program under which students from countries like the following can avail of their Canadian study permit.
- Costa Rica
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
In order to be deemed eligible for a study permit under the SDS programme, students must also possess a letter of acceptance from any of the DLIs or Designated Learning Institutions. DLIs are a list of colleges and universities in Canada which offer legitimate, full-time courses for international students to study in Canada,
Students who are originally from the eligible countries to apply under SDS but are currently not staying in their country are not eligible to apply under the SDS scheme.
Read More: Education loan for Canada
Below we will take a look at the eligibility criteria to apply under the SDS scheme in Canada.
Eligibility Criteria to Apply for Study Permit Under the SDS in Canada
Students need to fulfill certain eligibility criteria requirements to be eligible to apply for the study permit under the SDS scheme of Canada, which are listed below.
- Students should be citizens of India, Morocco, the Philippines, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Senegal, and Vietnam. They must be residing in these countries at the time of applying for a Canada study permit under the study direct stream programme.
- Candidates must possess an acceptance letter from any of the designated learning institutions(DLI) in Canada.
- They should not be a citizen of Canada or should not be staying in Canada at the time of applying for a study permit under the SDS programme.
- Students should have paid their tuition fees for the first year of study from their respective universities and provide proof of it.
- Students must have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN $10,000 and provide proof of it.
- If the candidates wish to study in Quebec, they must have a certificate of acceptance of Quebec (CAQ) from the ministry of immigration, francization, and integration.
- They must get a medical exam done before applying for the study permit. Read the article till the end to know more about the medical exam for SDS.
- Students must provide their most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcripts.
- They must keep a police certificate ready before applying for a study permit under the Canada SDS programme. Read on to know if you need a police certificate before you apply for a student permit under the SDS program.
- They must have a language test result that shows:
- A score of 6.0 or higher in listening, reading, speaking, and writing in 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.
It is important to note that a Canadian student permit is not like a usual student visa and so the process also varies. Depending on the category under which their native country is listed, students get to avail either a Canadian student visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization.
Let us now understand 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 under the regular visa process.
Some of the essential documents required to apply for a student permit under the SDS program are
Proof of full payment of tuition for the applicant’s first year of study
Proof of full payment can be shown by:
- A receipt from the DLI
- An official letter from the DLI confirming payment of tuition fees
- A receipt from a bank that clearly shows that you have cleared the fee to the DLI.
- Proof that the tuition fee amount has been transferred into a depository 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 will:
- Confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you one of the following:
- Letter of attestation
- GIC certificate
- An Investment Directions Confirmation or
- An Investment Balance Confirmation
- Hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you cannot accessbe accessed until you go to Canada.
- Ask you to confirm your identity before they release any funds to you
- Release the funds to you by providing:
- an initial lump sum once you identify yourself upon arrival in Canada
- the remainder of the funds in monthly or bi-monthly installments 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.
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:
- Bank of Beijing
- Bank of China
- Bank of Montreal
- Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- Habib Canadian Bank
- HSBC Bank of Canada
- ICICI Bank
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- RBC Royal Bank
- SBI Canada Bank
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
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.
Read More: How to open GIC for Canada
Medical exams and Police Certificates for Canada SDS:
Depending on the location of the application, 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
For a medical exam to be valid, you must see a doctor that has been approved by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada(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?
Students must use the online application system to apply for a study permit. As the process is done online, it doesn’t take much time to process the visa application.
The application is not the same for all the applicants as it varies for students coming from different countries. So, before you begin your application process, do not forget to check on the rules and regulations laid down by the consulate for the country you are applying from.
Students planning to apply for the visa under SDS must first create their accounts. This step minimizes the processing time, as the students with the help of this account, will be able to:
- Pay their fees
- Submit their application
- Check the status of their application
When you apply, make sure you:
- meet the eligibility criteria, as you don’t want to lose time later if you are not eligible
- carefully see the list of required documents and include them with the application.
The total cost to apply for a study permit under the SDS Canada programme is CAD $150.
It is important to understand that students must create a GIC before starting their application procedure as it is a mandatory requirement of the Canadian study permit process.
Students who are planning on applying for education loans must do it in time, like at least two months earlier. Do not try to delay the loan process unless you are going with We make scholars, as we all know the speed at which they process the education loan.
Though We make scholars can get you funding for an education loan in as less as 12 days, you should not take that risk and so apply early through We make scholars. Most government banks take close to a month to release the necessary funds. So speak to our financial officers at the earliest to get your education loan on time. Those who plan on applying for 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.
What To Do Once You Have Submitted Your Online Application?
Once students submit their online application for a study permit under the SDS programme, they will be required to submit their information like biometrics and photographs to the consulate/embassy by making an appointment.
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 will have to apply again. Once approved, students would either be issued an eTA(electronic travel authorization) or a Canadian student visa, depending on their country of residence.
On reaching Canada, students need to keep their student visa/eTA and study permit documents handy. These will be asked by the immigration authorities to verify the incoming applicant's particulars. Once the procedure is completed, applicants are free to proceed to the destination of their higher studies in Canada.
Canada has some of the best universities in the world. However, the fee can be a little high. Also, you will need to create GIC before going through the process of a Visa. Banks may not agree on transferring the amount for GIC, but we at We make scholars will support you for the amount disbursal and talk on behalf of you to the lenders.
Do not delay much to begin your process of education loan as your wishes of studying at a Canadian University are waiting for you, do fulfill them with the help of an Education loan for Canada with the help of our team.