What is the Student Direct Stream in Canada?

student direct stream canada

Canada is known for its quality of education and competitive entry requirements. A Canadian degree or diploma is recognized across the globe. It is home to globally ranked universities like the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Alberta. However, the visa application process can be a daunting task and quite a time-consuming one at that. International students can avoid waiting 2-3 months to get a study permit. The student direct stream Canada (SDS) makes the process of visa application streamlined and quick. 

International students who are applying to various Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) in Canada can expect an efficient study permit process with the Student Direct Stream program. It was launched by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The time taken for a normal visa or study permit takes more than 2 months. Whereas, the SDS Canada visa allows students to get their study permit within 6 weeks. The processing time and online hassle-free application process make it favorable for international students.

Read More: SDS vs Non-SDS visa applications

There are certain eligibility criteria that students need to meet to be eligible for the SDS Canada visa process. International students need to understand the Student Direct Stream Canada requirements.

The Student Direct Stream is applicable for students who have permanent residency in the following countries.

1. Antigua and Barbuda

2. Costa Rica

3. India

4. Morocco

5. Senegal

6. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

7. Trinidad and Tobago

8. China

9. Colombia

10. Pakistan 

11. Peru

12. Philippines

13. Vietnam

14. Brazil

About Study Direct Stream

Canada is making it even easier for international students to be a part of the Canadian education system with the help of SDS. Study permits are available easily within 20 calendar days with the Student Direct Stream process. The IRCC processes the application faster than the normal study permit process when the students meet the eligibility criteria. The applications that are submitted online will be eligible under SDS. The paperwork process will be under the normal study permit and not SDS. International students must meet the eligibility requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). 

Read More: Guide to study in Canada for free

Student direct stream Canada requirements

International students need to meet the standard eligibility as set by the IRCC. The list of eligibility criteria as set by the professional body is listed below: 

1. International students need to have an admission or acceptance letter or document from the Designated Learning institute. 

2. The tuition fees for the first year need to be paid. The receipt from DLI should be there, along with an official letter that confirms that the first-year fees were fully paid by the student. The students need to show the bank receipt too. That shows the amount of the transaction from the student’s account to the bank account.¬†

3. A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD 10,000 (Rs 6 lakh). It should be done from any bank that is listed on the IRCC SDS website, or from the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. When the students purchase the GIC, they should get a GIC certificate, a letter of attestation, confirmation from Investment Balance Confirmation, and an Investment Directions Confirmation. The banks need to keep the funds in an investment or student account till the student arrives in Canada. When the students arrive, the banks will validate their identity and release the study fund. Then, the students will receive the disbursement amount in various installments, like biweekly, monthly, or bimonthly as needed. 

4. The test scores that determine English language proficiency in non-native English speakers will be a deciding point for SDS. The minimum score of IELTS is 6, and the TEF score that is equivalent to the Canadian Language Benchmark should be more than 7, in all the areas like speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The tests should be completed within 2 years of the SDS application date. 

5. Students must have all the recent secondary or post-secondary education mark sheets and transcripts. All educational qualification degrees that are relevant need to be attached to the application. 

6. Proof of medical examination by any physician is also required. It is more important for students who have traveled or lived in any designated territory or country before arriving in Canada. There will be courses that will need an upfront medical examination result, so students taking admission to such courses will need to show medical examination proof. The medical examination proof can be a paper document or in PDF format. 

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A few other essential documents to be attached to the SDS application

1. Application form for a study permit outside of Canada 

2. The form has to have all the relevant family information

3. Application for Temporary Resident visa form

4. Marriage license or marriage certificate

5. Representative form

6. Identity proof

7. Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) or letter of approval from the University of Quebec (for example)

8. Receipt of application fee for the Study Direct Stream process

9. Photocopy of all the relevant documents, information, and biographic data page of the applicant’s passport

10. Statement of purpose where the officers should be satisfied that the students will leave Canada after the completion of studies

11. Any other documents of valid evidence as asked by the Visa officers

Read More: Degree or Diploma in Canada: Which is best fit for you?

Incomplete SDS application

An incomplete application form will be rejected straightaway. This will lead to a study permit denial. Incomplete application forms will also not be accepted by the visa officials. The application form contains all the information that is important for the officials to understand the students. If the students miss out on any relevant information or document the application will be denied. The competition is huge and a minor mistake may take away the chance of study permit approval. Also, if the processing fee of the application is not included or it is wrong, the application will be rejected. 

Family members of study permit applicants under the SDS

The family members of the applicants of the Student Direct Stream can be eligible for a concurrent process if they apply with the students at the same time. For more information or any queries, the students can refer to the family member subsection in R1. The temporary residence processes that include the study permit, work permit, or temporary resident visa of the family members traveling along with the students should be submitted online under the family grouping category. 

Courses and bridging programs under SDS

International students that are taking any type of prerequisite courses or any bridging diploma or degree before starting the main program are eligible to apply for a Study Direct Stream. The students must meet all the eligibility criteria as discussed above, with all the relevant evidence and documents attached to the application to initiate the process of SDS. 

More Resources to Read About Canada:


Canada makes immigration easier and more flexible for international students with SDS. It welcomes international students by initiating the SDS process to get into the process of obtaining a study permit within a short period. The SDS Canada visa processing time is only 20 days, where the normal process would take more than 2 months in general. For any other queries related to documents or eligibility, consult with the counselors of upGrad Abroad. 

Also Read:

TCF Canada Exam
Provincial Nominee Program Canada
Reasons for Canada Student Visa Rejection
Educational Credential Assessment Canada
Study in Canada Without IELTS

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