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Student Direct Stream (SDS), Canada - A Complete Overview

Jun 10, 2021

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Canada, is that your dream study abroad destination? Are you keen on getting an admit in a Canadian University or college to fulfil your study abroad dreams? If your answer is yes and if you keenly aspire to study in Canada, then this article will surely be beneficial for you. 

In this article, we will be focussing on an important aspect of processing student visas under Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS) which has a great advantage for international students from select countries. So, let’s proceed by understanding what this program is, where and for whom is it applicable, what are the requirements and how is it beneficial? 


What is Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program? 

Canada had launched the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program on 7th June 2018. This is a government program that allows eligible international students from a select few countries to expedite the processing of their Canadian study permit. 


Which Countries is this applicable for? 

Students from countries like India, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Morocco, and Senegal, can avail the benefit of this program. Initially India, Vietnam, China, and Philippines were introduced as a part of the program in 2018 with the other countries being added in 2019. 


How is it beneficial for students? 

Through this SDS program for Canada, international students from these countries can get their Canada study permit approved within a short span of 20 calendar days as compared to the regular processing time of a Canada study permit, which may take between 6-8 weeks. 

Major advantages of applying under SDS:

  • Streamlined Visa Process 
  • Minimal Financial Documentation 
  • Faster Visa Processing and results with standard turnaround time of 20 working days or less after the submission of complete visa application and biometrics. 

So, as we see, the SDS Program acts as one of the biggest advantages for the students from the countries mentioned above aspiring to study in Canada. As we have got an idea of what SDS program is and how is it beneficial, let us proceed to check SDS Canada program requirements. 


SDS Program Requirements 

Students applying for a program under SDS are supposed to meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • An admit to a full-time program at a University, College, Institute or CEGEP which is a Designated Learning Institution. 
  • An IELTS score of 6 overall with a minimum band of 6 each for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The scores need to be of a test taken within past two years. 
  • Purchase of a special Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD$ 10,000 which is required to cover living expenses for the student’s first year of stay in Canada. 
  • Proof of payment for one year tuition fee. 
  • Upfront medical examination at least one week before submission of the Canada Student Visa Application. 
  • All visa applications have to be filed online only. 

*Students who do not meet the requirements of SDS may file their visa under General Category. The processing time for General Category visas ranges from 6 - 8 weeks.


Application Process 

Students applying for a study permit through the Student Direct Stream need to do the process online. There is no paper application process for this program. 

Steps to follow: 

  • Applicants need to review the instruction guide and fill in the online forms 
  • They need to create electronic copies of their documents 
  • They can pay the application fee through a credit or debit card 



Payment: Applicants have to provide the biometrics for completing the application process. For this they should pay the fee along with their online application. If they require any help for providing biometrics or submitting their passport, they can visit the visa application centre (VAC). 

Booking an appointment: Once they submit the application for their study permit through the Student Direct Stream, the applicants will have to book an appointment to provide their biometrics. 

Providing your Biometrics: Once the applicant pays the application and biometrics fees (if applicable), he/she will receive an instruction letter with details on where and how to provide the biometrics, which have to be done within 30 days. They have to carry that letter, along with their valid passport to the centre. 

The application will not commence being processed until the biometrics is provided. 


Processing by Visa Office 

The visa office processes most applications within 20 calendar days once they receive the biometrics of the applicant. 


What happens when the Application is Approved? 

The applicants will receive:

  • An approval letter which they have to present to a border officer upon arriving in Canada 
  • Visa stamping on passport. 

So, without waiting further consult KC’s Canada Experts to get complete details of the SDS Canada Program. 

If you are eligible and you get a study permit, then you can land in your dream study destination in no time. 

So go ahead and start the process.

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