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Student Direct Stream

Student Direct Stream

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program was established by the Canadian government to attract international talent to Canada. Under the program, students from eligible countries can apply for fast-track visa processing. An SDS visa is often processed within as quick as 20 days and has a high success rate, making it a fast and reliable option for students in eligible countries.

Who can apply through the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program?

The core requirements for the SDS student permit are to be a legal resident living in one of the partner countries. The following is a list of Student Direct Stream countries:

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

International students living outside of these countries are not eligible to apply under the SDS pathway and should consider applying for a non-SDS study permit.

What are the SDS Visa Requirements?

Prior to applying it is important to consider the requirements and whether you can fulfill them. Use the list below to determine the Student Direct Stream eligibility criteria:

  • Students must have an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), depending on the province of choice.
  • Applicants should be living outside of Canada when applying.
  • Tuition must be paid for the first year of study and documents proving this transaction must be submitted as well.
  • A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) must be presented.
  • A Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ) is required only for students planning to study in Quebec.
  • A Medical Exam should be completed, if necessary.
  • A Police Certificate should be obtained, if necessary.
  • Students should be able to present their english language testing results.
  • Applicants must present their most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcripts.

More information regarding some of the eligibility criteria are as follows:

Language Proficiency

To be considered eligible to apply, students must achieve a designated level in English proficiency. To do so, there exist two options:

  • An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or higher is required overall in each of the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, or
  • A Test d’évaluation de Français (TEF) score equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7.0 or higher is required in each of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Proof of Tuition Fee

Students applying through the SDS program are required to show proof of tuition payment for the first year of study to their educational institution. This can be done through a variety of documents:

  • A receipt from your post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • A letter from the college of university confirming that your tuition has been paid.
  • A letter from your financial institution that shows that tuition fees have been paid in full to your post-secondary institution.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate

A GIC is a Canadian Investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time and it can be obtained through a bank. When you get a GIC from a bank they must:

  • Confirm the transaction by giving you any of the following:
    • A letter of attestation
    • A GIC certificate
    • An Investment Directions Confirmation or,
    • An Investment Balance Confirmation
  • Require a confirmation of identity prior to releasing the funds
  • Release your funds in the following manner:
    • An initial amount upon entry into Canada
    • The remaining amount is provided to you on a monthly or bi-monthly basis over a 10-12 month period.

SDS as a pathway to Immigration – Post Graduate Work Permit

Upon successful completion of your degree or diploma program at a college or university in Canada, you could become eligible to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). With Canadian education and relevant experience in the job market, foreign students can apply for permanent residency through various immigration programs such as Express Entry and Provincial Nomination Programs.