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Know everything about Study Direct Stream (SDS) Canada

The SDS program makes it possible for Indian students to obtain visas more swiftly. According to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada's Study Direct Stream (SDS) program, Indian students attending Canadian institutions and colleges can now expect speedier visa processing. In contrast to typical visa procedures, which can take up to 2-3 months, SDS allows Indian students to receive a visa in 4-6 weeks. When a student meets the prerequisites and applies through SDS, the majority of applications are processed within 20 calendar days.

The SDS program, which superseded the preceding SPP program, has stricter rules and restrictions to adhere to. However, for those who meet the criteria, it can be quite beneficial because it simplifies visa processing for SDS-eligible DLI institutions and necessitates less financial documentation.

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Canada Study Visa requirements and cost estimation under SDS scheme?

To be eligible to apply for a study permit via the SDS scheme, you need to show the acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI). Also, you’ll be required to pay your tuition fee in advance for your first year of study along with the GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) of CAD 10,000 (INR 6 lacs approx.).

A minimum score of 6 is required in IELTS, with no band less than 6 or a TEF (Test d’évaluation de français) for proficiency in the French language. It is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be required to submit the letter of acceptance, proof of payment of tuition fee and GIC, IELTS TRF or TEF scorecard, copy of your medical examination from an authorized panel of doctors, and academic documents.

An additional requirement of CAQ for students intending to study in Quebec is required.


The benefits of SDS Canada

The Student Direct Stream in Canada, often known as SDS Canada, expedites the processing of study permits for eligible overseas students. The majority of SDS applications are processed in less than 20 days.


What is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)?             

A DLI is a university, school, or college that has been approved by a provincial or territorial authority to accept international students. DLI includes all public universities, colleges, and significant private universities and colleges in Canada. So, if you are asking for a study permit, you'll need a letter of acceptance from a DLI.

You should be aware that only DLIs are permitted to recruit overseas students; non-DLIs are not permitted to admit international students.

Also, please keep in mind that DLI does not automatically qualify you for a post-study work permit.


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What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

A GIC is a Canadian investment that offers a fixed rate of return over a set length of time. To put it simply, if you are an Indian student interested in studying in Canada, you must open a Canadian bank account online with one of the recognized banks. Until your account is established, the bank will hold your GIC in a student or investment account that you will only be able to access once you arrive in Canada.

It will disburse your amount only after confirming your identity when you arrive in the country. While you can receive a lump sum payment when you arrive, the remainder is delivered monthly or bi-monthly for 10-12 months.

Remember that the bank from where you acquire your GIC must supply at least one of the documents verifying your purchase i.e., GIC certificate/letter of attestation, investment balance or directions confirmation.

Every GIC is verified by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada), removing the chance of financial document fraud. Under SDS, no extra financial documents are required to demonstrate to the IRCC, that the student has sufficient finances to cover their tuition and living expenses.

Banks that offer GIC in India are ICICI, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), SBI Canada, Scotiabank, and HSBC Bank of Canada.

Please keep in mind that all SDS applications must be filed online.


Can you apply with your family under SDS Canada?

Yes. When you apply through SDS Canada, you may bring your spouse, partner, and dependent children with you. They may also be eligible for expedited processing when applying for work permits, study permits, or guest visas. All members of the family must complete and submit their applications at the same time. 


How to Apply under SDS Canada?

SDS exclusively accepts online applications for study permits. Try to submit electronic copies with the help of a camera or scanner and make payments through a debit or credit card. 


It is important to note that a study permit is different from a Canada study visa. To enter Canada, you may still require a visiting visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). The federal government will provide you with this together with your study permit.


Acquiring Canadian permanent residence status through SDS Canada

If international students wish to stay in Canada, Canada makes it simple for them to become permanent citizens.

The Post-Graduate Work Permit allows overseas students to stay and work in Canada for up to three years after they graduate. International graduates may be eligible to seek Canadian permanent residency after working in Canada for one year.

Important points to keep in mind while planning your Canada study visa under the SDS scheme:

  • The SDS does not replace IRCC's ordinary study permit, but it is simply an expedited route. If a student applies for the SDS but does not qualify, their application will be processed in accordance with the standard procedure.
  • The administration aims to extend the SDS in the next five years. This expansion will include a new application service focused at offering a unified and streamlined experience for international students. In a nutshell, you will be able to apply for a study permit, a temporary resident visa, and a work permit for a co-op term all in one place.
  • Other English language competence exams are not recognized under the new SDS category, thus you must produce confirmation of your IELTS exam.


Learn more about Canadian permanent residence and Canada Study Visa by clicking here.