The student direct stream

# 3 min read 24/01/2024

The student direct stream (or SDS) is a way for for legal residents of an eligible country to obtain a Canadian Study Permit in a streamlined and expedited process.

Here’s a guide on expediting the application process for international students aspiring to study in Canada.

Canada is an ever popular destination for international students and each year, hundreds of thousands enter the country, with a record-breaking 550,000 calling Canada Home in 2022. 

However, the wait for a for a study permit to be approved can take months. That’s where the SDS can help legal residents of certain countries.

What is the student direct stream?

The SDS is a streamline and expedited application process aimed international students aiming to pursue post-secondary education in Canada

Eligible applicants can expect their permit within 20 calendar days under the SDS.

Eligible SDS countries:

This option is available to legal residents of 14 specific countries as follows:

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

It is important to note that applicants not only need to be a nation of one of the eligible countries but also need to be reisdent there.

SDS eligibility criteria and requirements

The main criteria for eligibility are:

  • having a letter of acceptance (LOA) from a designated learning institution DLI)
  • having proof that the first year of tuition fees have been paid 
  • having a  Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of C$20,635
  • having a medical exam
  • having a police clearance certificate
  • having a minimum language score
What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is a Canadian investment product that ensures a fixed rate of return over a specified time period. Various financial institutions provide different varieties of GICs.

Steps in the SDS process 

Once you have confirmed your eligibility, initiating the SDS application involves fulfilling the aforementioned requirements. This includes acquiring the Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), undergoing a language test and medical examination, and assembling the necessary documents. These documents should include the letter of acceptance from your educational institution, transcripts, and evidence of one year’s tuition payment.

In addition, your application must also include:

  • a duly completed study permit application form as well as any other relevant forms
  • a photocopy of the information and biographical data page of your passport
  • the application processing fee of $150 and an $85 biometric processing fee
  • translations of any documents not in English or French.
  • additional documents set out by your local visa office.
What happens to my GIC if my study permit application is refused?

In the event that your application via the Student Direct Stream is declined, it is necessary to reach out to the financial institution that issued your Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) to obtain the initial funds.

You will be required to provide the reasons for the rejection or proof of enrollment cancellation. 

The financial institution will then proceed to refund the funds to the originating account, although there might be applicable charges such as a handling fee or an international wire transfer fee.

How can Visa Positive assist under the SDS?
  • Assistance with completing a Letter of Explanation 
  • Obtain your LOA (letter of acceptance) 
  • Assistance with a full visa application by an RCIC
👉 Questions? Let's Talk