• Hours of Working: 8 AM - 8 PM, Monday to Saturday

Canada SDS Application

What is SDS?

Student Direct Stream (SDS) program was launched by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada to fasten the visa process. This program has not just fastened the visa process but also made it more efficient and convenient. SDS enables applicants to receive their visas within 4-6 weeks. Also, if an eligible student applies through SDS, most likely the application will be completed within 20 days from the date of submission.

What is Non-SDS?

Non-SDS is the general visa process for studying, working, and living in Canada. Non-SDS or the general process applies to all countries. It’s a lengthy process and has more documentation SDS.

Difference between SDS and Non-SDS visa applications

It’s important to understand the difference between SDS and Non-SDS to make the right decision. Here’s how SDS is different from the Non-SDS visa process:

Difference SDS Non-SDS
Visa processing time
20 Calendar days*
6-8 Weeks approx.
Applicable in Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam
Applicable to all countries
Streamlined and efficient
Lengthy and confusing sometimes
Online (only accepted online)
Can be submitted offline
Success rate

Eligibility requirements

Be eligible for faster processing through the Student Direct Stream, you must:

  • be a legal resident living in 1 of the following countries:
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Brazil
    • China
    • Colombia
    • Costa Rica
    • India
    • Morocco
    • Pakistan
    • Peru
    • Philippines
    • Senegal
    • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Vietnam
  • have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution
  • live outside of Canada when you apply
  • have proof you have paid your tuition for your first year of study
  • have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000
  • have an attestation of issuance of your Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) from the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration
    • This is only if you’re planning to study in Quebec.
  • get a medical exam before you apply 
  • have your most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)
  • have a language test result that shows either:

We may ask you to give additional documents to support your application. In this case, your application will take longer to process.

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

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:

  • confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you 1 of the following:
    • a letter of attestation
    • a GIC certificate
    • an Investment Directions Confirmation or
    • an Investment Balance Confirmation
  • hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you can’t access until you arrive in Canada
  • make you 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 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

The following financial institutions offer GICs that meet the criteria:

  • Bank of Beijing
  • Bank of China
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • China Everbright Bank
  • Desjardins
  • Habib Canadian Bank
  • HSBC Bank of Canada
  • ICICI Bank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • SBI Canada Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • Simplii Financial
  • TD Canada Trust

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.

Language scores accepted for SDS visa applications

As per the latest update, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that they will start accepting additional English language tests for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) visa program, starting from August 10, 2023. IELTS has been accepted in the study permit program from the beginning, and the good news for IELTS test takers is that there is no change to the required band score of 6.

This means applicants who choose the IELTS Academic pathway require a minimum overall band score of 6.0, while applicants who sit the IELTS General Training test will need a minimum band score of 6.0 in each skill: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

The overall SDS permit score requirements set by the IRCC for academic tests are as follows:


According to Pearson*, a PTE Academic score of 60 is equivalent to an IELTS band score of 6.5 to 7.0, which is a full band higher than PTE. This makes IELTS the easiest and best option for all test takers.

Documents required for SDS visa application

Here’s the document list required by IRCC for the SDS application process:

  • Acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • Proof of payment for your first year of tuition fees
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) payment certificate or attestation letter
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Test Report Form (TRF) or Test d’evaluation de francais (TEF) scorecard
  • Medical examination report from an authorised panel of physicians
  • Comprehensive academic background and records
  • Additional requirement of a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) for students studying in Quebec.

Documents required for Non-SDS visa application

Here are the extensive documents required for a Non-SDS category:

  • Academic transcripts, including the 12th-grade report card, with a minimum aggregate score of 55% for undergraduate courses
  • Undergraduate degree or advanced diploma with a minimum grade of 50% for admission to postgraduate courses
  • English language proficiency test results, with a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 for undergraduate courses and 6.5 for postgraduate courses
  • Offer letter from a college participating in the Non-Student Direct Stream (SDS)
  • Evidence of prior work experience, including pay stubs for the last three months
  • Proof of financial support, such as bank savings, student loans, investments, etc
  • Income tax return documents or form 16 of the candidate or the sponsor
  • Receipt of tuition fee payment
  • Documentation of necessary medical tests
  • Visa application fee of $150 (approximately INR 11,000)

Why choose SDS over Non-SDS visa?

  1. Faster processing times: SDS aims to process study permit applications in just four weeks, compared to the regular processing time of several months for Non-SDS applicants.
  2. Eligibility: Only students from certain countries, including India, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Senegal, are eligible for the SDS program.
  3. Streamlined process: SDS provides a more streamlined process for applicants, with a focus on the efficient and timely processing of applications.
  4. Online process: SDS can only be applied online while Non-SDS is also available offline and is a lengthy process.

The decision to choose SDS over Non-SDS depends on whether you meet the eligibility criteria and are willing to provide the required documents and financial proof.
If you have any other queries regarding SDS or Non-SDS process, you can get in touch with our international education experts. They will help you understand both processes in detail.