What is Canada’s Student Direct Stream?

by Kelly Acheson

Launched by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in June 2018, the Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an expedited study permit application stream for international students who want to pursue higher education in Canada. IRCC developed this program to support the rapid growth of international student applications. The main benefit of the SDS for applicants is that it offers more efficient study permit processing times.
Eligible applicants must meet specific criteria, however. These requirements are explained below. Keep reading to see if you qualify for the SDS!

Who Is Eligible for the SDS?


First, applicants must intend to study at a designated post-secondary learning institution (DLI) in Canada. You can find a complete list of Canadian DLIs here.
Second, applicants must meet certain language, medical, and financial criteria. Specifically, applicants must provide documentation upfront showing that they are able to succeed academically and support themselves financially while studying in Canada.
Furthermore, SDS applicants must legally reside in one of the following countries:
  • China
  • India
  • The Philippines
  • Vietnam
  • Pakistan
  • Morocco
  • Senegal
If a student is a citizen of one of the seven countries listed above, but they aren’t currently living there, they are not eligible for the SDS. To apply for the program, the student must also be residing in the country.

Does the SDS Replace IRCC’s Regular Study Permit Stream?

The SDS does not replace IRCC’s regular study permit program. It is simply an expedited stream. If a student applies for the SDS, but does not qualify, then their application is processed under regular processing procedures.

How to Apply for the SDS

International students must apply online for the SDS. Alongside their electronic application, students must submit the following documents:
  • A copy of their acceptance letter from a post-secondary DLI
  • A copy of their upfront medical exam confirmation document (if required)
  • A police certificate (if required)
  • Proof that they have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAN
  • Proof that they have paid the tuition fees for their first year of study
  • A copy of their most recent educational transcript
  • Proof that they have completed a language test showing either:
More information about the supporting documents necessary for the SDS application can be found on the IRCC website.

What’s Next for the SDS?

Plans are in the works to expand the SDS over the next five years. This expansion will include a new application service that will provide a single, streamlined experience for international students. This means students will be able to apply for a study permit, temporary resident visa, or work permit for a co-op term, all in one place. For more information about the SDS, and to find out whether you qualify, visit the IRCC website.
Source: WES

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