(Student Direct Stream & Regular Stream)
What is SDS?
Student Direct Stream enables students to apply for their study permits under a stream that allows faster processing of their applications. Only applications submitted electronically are eligible for SDS processing.
Unlike SDS applications, all paper applications are processed under the regular study permit application stream Though regular applications can also be submitted online, both paper and online applications are subject to standard processing times, which are often more lengthy.
Foreign nationals who are eligible for SDS processing are still subject to all other eligibility and admissibility requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).
SDS Eligibility criteria
The applicant must include the following documents to be eligible for SDS processing:
Proof of a valid language test result, completed within 2 years of the date the SDS application was received, showing either of the following:
- an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 or higher in each language skill: listening, reading, writing and speaking
Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000 or more from any bank insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or any bank listed on the IRCC SDS web page
The GIC must meet the following criteria:
- When the GIC has been purchased, the bank provides a letter of attestation, the GIC certificate, the Investment Directions Confirmation or the Investment Balance Confirmation to the applicant.
- The bank holds the funds in an investment account or a student account that is inaccessible for release to the applicant until the applicant’s arrival in Canada.
- Upon entry to Canada, the bank must validate the client’s identity before releasing funds to the study permit holder.
- The applicant receives an initial disbursement upon identifying themselves, and the remaining funds are disbursed in monthly or bimonthly installments over a period of 10 to 12 months.
Proof of full payment of tuition for the applicant’s first year of study
This may be in the form of the following:
- a receipt from the DLI
- an official letter from the DLI confirming payment of tuition fees
- a receipt from a bank showing that tuition fees have been paid to the DLI
- 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
Letter of acceptance from a post-secondary DLI ( Designated Learning Institute)
Most recent secondary or post-secondary educational transcript.
All previous education certificates and transcripts are required – 10th, 12th, graduation , or diploma.
Proof of completion of upfront medical examination from a panel physician for applicants
- who have lived or traveled for 6 months in designated countries or territories during the year before coming to Canada
- whose field of study requires upfront medical examination results
Passport. Students need valid passports.
Officers may also request additional documents from the applicant at any time in order to make a decision on their application.
Officers must be satisfied that the applicant is bona fide and will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.
What is Non-SDS (Regular Stream)❓
Non-SDS is a general stream to apply for a visa application to study in Canada. Students who do not meet the requirements of the Student Direct Stream get a chance to apply for a study visa under this Regular stream.
Non-SDS Eligibility criteria
1) Language Proficiency Test (IELTS Academic) The language requirements of the academic program must be met or an English pathway must be enrolled in.
2)Guaranteed Investment Certificate GIC is not mandatory for Regular Stream as long as they can provide sufficient evidence that they can meet the tuition fees and living expenses for the first year.
3)Passport Students need valid passports.
4)Tuition Fee Students can provide proof they have paid their initial tuition fee deposit and demonstrate their ability to pay the balance with their financial documents.
4)Letter of Acceptance Letter of Acceptance from a DLI (Designated Learning Institute) is required.
5)Educational Documents All previous education certificates are required – 10th, 12th, graduation/ diploma as applicable.
If you are looking to pursue higher education in Canada, you must know the difference between SDS and Non-SDS. It could save you a lot of time when waiting for a response on your Study Permit application.
Why Choose SDS over Non-SDS❓
Since, through this stream, the tuition fees are paid upfront, and a GIC in Canadian Dollars is provided to cover their living expenses, the applicant’s financial ability will not be scrutinized as heavily as in the regular stream. The proof of payment for the first year’s fees and a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAD $10,000 or more are significant supporting documents.
Apart from meeting the previously mentioned requirements, students must legally reside in one of the following 14 countries to be eligible for SDS.
🔻Antigua and Barbuda
🔻Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
🔻Trinidad and Tobago
If you are applying from any other countries, you can only submit your study permit application under Regular Stream.
Family members of study permit applicants under the SDS
Family members of principal applicants who are applying under the SDS are eligible for concurrent processing if they apply at the same time as the primary applicant.
Temporary residence applications (work permit, study permit and temporary resident visa applications) of the accompanying family members must be submitted online as part of a family grouping.
The processing of files is faster in comparison to Non-SDS. Remember, you also need to show some funds while filling out the visa application.
Under the Non-SDS category, a Guaranteed Investment Certificate is not compulsory.
Even if you apply without it, you will get your visa under the SDS category. But if you are skeptical about it, then attach one, and if you are confident about your profile, you might not need one.
The processing time for the SDS category is usually 20 days to 1 month.
Students must have secured at least 55% marks in class 12th/bachelor’s degree to be eligible for non-SDS Canadian colleges. Additionally, a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 for UG courses and 6.5 for PG courses is required.
IRCC reported a 40% success rate for non-SDS visa in 2021. At the same time, the SDS visa success rate was 71%.
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