Canadian colleges and universities attract thousands of foreign students from across the globe each year. In response to the growing demand for studying in Canada, "Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada" has revamped the Student Direct Stream (SDS), study permits can now be processed within 20 calendar days for eligible legal residents of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Vietnam. The introduction of the SDS is part of a wider initiative by the Canadian government to improve the processing of study permit applications and attract qualified and talented international students to choose Canada as a study destination.

What are the eligibility requirements for the SDS Canada program?

As part of the specific processing requirements for SDS international, students must submit their SDS applications online and must also provide the following documentation at the time of submitting their applications:

  1. A qualifying score of at least 6 for English (IELTS), or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens score of 7 for French (TEF);
  2. Purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) to the value of $10,000;
  3. A letter of acceptance from a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada;
  4. Tuition payment for the first year of study at a DLI in Canada;
  5. Evidence of medical examination must be provided upfront (if required); and
  6. Police clearance certificate (if required).

Applicants may also need to provide other documents, which may be specific to the visa office that processes their application.

Additionally, citizens of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Vietnam who reside in another country are not eligible to apply under SDS. Those who do not meet the eligibility criteria for SDS may still be eligible to have their applications referred to the regular study permit application process by the reviewing visa officer. In certain circumstances, if a visa officer receives an SDS application that does not meet SDS eligibility criteria, the officer has the discretion to request further information from the applicant so that the application can still be processed under the SDS processing times.

Moreover, dependents of principal applicants who are eligible for SDS may also be able to get faster processing for their visitor visas, work permits or study permits. However, all of the applications must be submitted online at the same time as part of a family group. If dependents' applications are submitted after the SDS study permit application, they will not be processed within the streamlined 20 day processing period.

Once the application is approved, a letter of introduction (LOI) and a temporary resident visa (TRV) is issued to the applicant. The applicant needs to show the LOI to a border services agent when they arrive in Canada to obtain their study permit and they must enter Canada before the expiry date on their TRV.

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