New language tests are now eligible for Canada’s Student Direct Stream

New language tests are now eligible for Canada’s Student Direct Stream

Manmeet Kaur Manmeet Kaur
[Published 11 Aug, 2023 | 04:07 AM]
About Author - 3 min read

Starting from August 10, 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be considering four additional English language tests for applicants of the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

The accepted English language tests are:

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based test (TOEFL iBT) 

The minimum score required to be eligible for SDS 

To qualify for Canada Student Visa under the Student Direct Stream (SDS), students need to demonstrate their proficiency in all four language skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing.

Language Test Minimum Score
Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General CLB 7
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) 60
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic 60
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT Test 83
Students need to take one of the authorized language tests in an in-person format, as results from online or remote tests will not be considered. Before this update, IRCC solely recognized language test results from IELTS and TEF.

In addition to these assessments, students have the option to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training or Academic tests. The changes to the IELTS requirements for the SDS will also take effect on August 10th.

  • Starting from August 10, 2023, applicants need to achieve an IELTS Academic overall band score of 6.0 for submissions. This score is taken from the average of scores in all individual skill sections.
  • For those who applied using IELTS Academic before August 10, 2023, a score of 6.0 is mandatory for each skill area, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • If you're applying with IELTS General Training, regardless of whether it's before or after August 10, 2023, you will still need a score of 6.0 in each skill section.

Eligibility Requirements for SDS

In order to fulfill the eligibility criteria for SDS applicants, students are required to:

  • Qualify as a lawful resident of the designated nations
  • Provide a copy of an acceptance letter from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • Submit verification of an initial medical examination
  • Hold or prove the possession of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) totaling $10,000
  • Verify payment of first-year tuition fees
  • Demonstrate language test results obtained within two years of application receipt, showcasing acceptable SDS scores
  • Submit their application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)

It is important to check your eligibility for Canada Study Visa to qualify for Student Direct Stream (SDS), which is an initiative designed to boost the handling of study permit applications for international students coming from designated countries. The goal of the program is to uphold a processing benchmark of 20 calendar days for qualifying study permit applications.

The countries eligible include Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.


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