Student Direct Stream SDS

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Studying abroad is a transformative experience that opens doors to new cultures, knowledge, and personal growth. Among the diverse array of countries that welcome international students, Canada has emerged as a beacon of educational excellence and multiculturalism. For ambitious students seeking a streamlined pathway to pursue their academic aspirations in the Great White North, the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program stands as an opportunity.

The Student Direct Stream program is more than just an immigration pathway; it represents an efficient and well-structured approach for eligible students from select countries to embark on their educational journey in Canada. This program not only expedites the process of obtaining a study permit but also provides invaluable support, enabling students to focus on their studies and immerse themselves in the Canadian academic landscape.

What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program?

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) program is an innovative initiative by the Canadian government aimed at expediting the processing of study permit applications for international students from select countries. The program was introduced to provide a smooth and efficient application process, reducing processing times and ensuring a timely start to the academic journey.

Benefits of the SDS Program

  • Faster Processing Times: One of the most significant advantages of the SDS program is its expedited processing times. Compared to the standard study permit application process, SDS applications are typically processed within weeks, enabling students to plan their studies with greater certainty.
  • Simplified Application Requirements: SDS applicants must submit a reduced set of documents, simplifying the application process. This ensures that students can focus on meeting the essential requirements without excessive documentation.
  • Enhanced Support Services: SDS applicants receive enhanced support services, including pre-application guidance, which assists in ensuring that all necessary documents are in order before submission.
  • Work While Studying: Under the SDS program, students can work part-time during their studies, contributing to their financial independence and gaining valuable work experience.

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Eligibility Criteria for the SDS Program

To be eligible for the SDS program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Residency: Applicants must be legal residents of one of the eligible countries.
  • Admission: Applicants must have an acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada for a full-time study program.
  • Provide documentation verifying completion of the applicant’s initial medical examination.
  • Financial Proof: Applicants must Demonstrate ownership of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) amounting to $10,000.
  • Provide evidence of payment for the first-year tuition fees for the intended course of study.
  • Language Proficiency: Present valid language proficiency test results conducted within two years from the date of submission of the Study Direct Stream (SDS) application.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) accept the following English language assessments:

  1. IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training with a minimum score of 6.0 in each language skill category (reading, writing, listening, and speaking).

As of August 10, 2023, the IRCC has expanded its acceptance of English language tests to include the following:

  1. CELPIP General with a minimum score equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7.
  2. CAEL with a minimum score of 60.
  3. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic with a minimum score of 60.
  4. Educational Testing Service (ETS) TOEFL iBT Test with a minimum score of 83.

Upon approval of an application, the applicant will receive a letter of introduction, officially referred to as a Point of Entry letter of introduction, along with a temporary resident visa, granting them entry to Canada.

This letter of introduction, also known as the Point of Entry (POE) letter, is provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as evidence of study permit approval and must be presented to a visa officer upon arrival in Canada.

Which countries are eligible for SDS visa?

The Study Direct Stream (SDS) visa program is open to individuals from the following 14 countries:

  1. Antigua. Barbuda.
  2. Brazil.
  3. China.
  4. Colombia.
  5. Costa Rica.
  6. India.
  7. Morocco.
  8. Pakistan.
  9. Peru.
  10. The Philippines.
  11. Senegal.
  12. St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
  13. Trinidad.Tobago.
  14. Vietnam.

Application Process of Student Direct Stream

  1. Applying to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI): Before applying for a study permit through the SDS program, applicants must secure admission to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
  2. Obtaining a Letter of Acceptance: Once accepted by a DLI, applicants will receive a Letter of Acceptance, which is a crucial document for the visa application.
  3. Creating an Online Account: Applicants must create an online account on the official Canadian government website to start the application process.
  4. Submitting Documents: Applicants are required to upload all necessary documents, including the Letter of Acceptance, language test results, proof of funds, and GIC details.
  5. Biometrics and Visa Interview: Applicants may need to provide biometric information at a local Visa Application Center (VAC). Some applicants might also be required to attend an interview at the Canadian consulate or embassy.
  6. Visa Decision and Travel: A visa decision will be made after thoroughly reviewing the application, including the interview and biometric data. Successful applicants can proceed with travel arrangements to Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions about SDS Study Visa

The Study Direct Stream (SDS) visa program is open to individuals from the following 14 countries: Antigua, Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, The Philippines, Senegal, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad, Tobago, and Vietnam.

According to the IRCC, The Student Direct Stream takes 20 Calender days to be processed.

Non-SDS (Regular) Visa Process: The Non-SDS (Regular) Visa process is the conventional pathway for international students seeking to study in Canada. Unlike the streamlined SDS process, Non-SDS applicants must submit a comprehensive paper-based application, resulting in longer processing times.

Application Submission: International students opting for the Non-SDS route need to directly submit their application to the Canadian visa office in their home country.

Application Requirements: Essential application requirements for Non-SDS visa applicants encompass obtaining an official acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Additionally, candidates must demonstrate adequate financial resources to cover both tuition fees and day-to-day living expenses. And Proof of English language proficiency through recognized language test scores is also a requisite for Non-SDS visa applicants.

Processing Time: The processing period for Non-SDS visas varies based on the applicant’s country of origin. And It’s important to note that the Non-SDS application process typically takes a bit longer to complete.

Want to apply for a Canadian SDS visa? Click here to start the process with our help →