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Student Direct Stream (SDS)

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a quick study permit processing program available to legal residents of India, China, Philippines and Vietnam. If you are wanting to study in Canada at a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI) and you meet specific requirements by providing upfront documentation.

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Depending on where you live, you may be able to get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream.

Student Direct Stream applications typically process within 20 calendar days. However, some applications may take longer.

To get this faster processing, you must:

  • give your biometrics as soon as possible
  • meet all the eligibility requirements

A study permit is not a visa. It does not, by itself, allow you to travel to or enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). If you do, we’ll issue it with your study permit.

Who can apply for Student Direct Stream

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

  • be a legal resident living in:
    • China
    • India
    • Pakistan
    • the Philippines or
    • Vietnam
  • have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution
  • prove that you’ve paid the tuition fees for your first year of study
  • live outside of Canada when you apply
  • have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000
  • have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion
    • This is only if you’re planning to study in Quebec
  • get a medical exam before you apply (if you need one)
  • get a police certificate before you apply (if you need one)
  • have your most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)
  • have a language test result that shows:
    • a score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening) on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Depending on where you’re applying from, you may also need to provide other documents. Make sure you include all the documents required by the visa office that processes your application.

Who isn’t eligible for the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

If you live anywhere other than one of the countries listed above (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), you must apply through the regular study permit application process.

If you live in another country (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), or if you don’t meet the eligibility for faster processing, you may still be eligible for a study permit through the regular study permit application process.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

A GIC is a Canadian investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time. The GIC is held in your name for you. 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.

You can get a GIC from a bank listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company website. Make sure the bank you choose offers a GIC and meets the criteria for the Student Direct Stream.

The following banks offer GICs that meet the criteria:

  • Bank of Beijing
  • Bank of China
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Habib Canadian Bank
  • HSBC Bank of Canada
  • ICICI Bank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • SBI Canada Bank
  • Scotiabank

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).

Medical Exam

You may need to get a medical exam if:

  • you lived or travelled in certain countries or territories for 6 or more months in the year before you come to Canada, or
  • you plan on studying or working in:
    • the health field
    • primary or secondary education, or
    • child or elder care

To get a medical exam, you must see a doctor that has been approved by IRCC.

Find out more about medical exams.

Police Certificate

Your visa office instructions will tell you if you need to get a police certificate. You’ll find these instructions when you select your country of residence below. Make sure you read these instructions before you apply, so you know if you need a police certificate or any other documents to apply.

Bringing your Spouse, Partner or Child with you to Canada

Your spouse, common-law partner and dependent children may also be able to get faster processing on a:

  • visitor visa
  • work permit
  • study permit

You must complete and submit their applications at the same time as your own. If you don’t, we won’t process their applications faster. When you apply online, select that you have family members coming with you to Canada. This will let you complete their applications with yours.

Application to the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

You must apply online to get faster processing on your study permit. There’s no paper application for the Student Direct Stream. Make sure you include all the documents required with your application.

Before you apply online, make sure you have:

  • the instruction guide to fill out your forms
  • a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents, and
  • a valid credit or debit card to pay with