Seven more countries have been added to Canada’s Student Direct Stream, which brings the total number in the SDS list to 14 countries. So, why is this decision by the Canadian government good news internationals students from Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago?
Understanding Student Direct Stream (SDS)
Depending from where you are applying, it can take up to three months for your study permit application to be processed and approved. Launched in 2018, SDS offers fast-track study permit processing for eligible students from specific countries.
When SDS was launched, it covered students from China, India, Philippines, and Vietnam only. This list was expanded in 2019 to include Pakistan, Morocco, and Senegal. With the latest addition, students from 14 countries have the option of applying through SDS and enjoying benefits of fast-track processing of their study permit applications.
Are You Eligible for SDS?
If you are a national of one of the 14 countries and are living in your country, then you are eligible for SDS if you have the following documents ready for submission.
Admission to a Study Program in Canada
You must have letter of acceptance from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Further, you must have paid the tuition fee for the first year of study and must have proof of the same.
Medical Exam Report
You must undergo upfront medical exam if required by your field of study or because you lived or travelled in designated countries for six months during the year of application. In other cases, medical exam report is not required to apply for SDS.
You must have the latest transcript of your most-recent secondary or post-secondary course ready for submission when completing your SDS application online.
Language Test Results
Only those with IELTS (English) score of 6.0 or higher or TEF (French) score of CLB 7 or higher are eligible to apply for SDS.
Further, your language test results should be dated within two years of your SDS application.
Guaranteed Investment Certificate
This is probably the most significant requirement to qualify for SDS. You must get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate for CAN $10,000 from any bank or institution that is insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation.
- Deposit CAN $10,000 with a Canadian bank.
- Bank will issue Letter of Attestation, GIC certificate, Investment Directions Confirmation or Investment Balance Confirmation.
- Submit the documents when completing your SDS application online.
- The funds will remain locked until you arrive in Canada and visit the bank and verify your identity.
- Once the bank confirms that you have come to Canada to study, then it will release an initial amount (normally CAN $2,000) and the balance is disbursed in monthly or bi-monthly installments over the next 10-12 months.
- The GIC serves as proof that you have enough liquid funds to provide for your stay in Canada. It is not an additional fee or charge and does not, in any way, increase the cost of your education in Canada.
It is like an advance deposit that you make into your Canadian bank account that is returned back to you over a period of 12 months. The CAN $10,000 will be returned to you in full by the end of your first year of your study program in Canada.
If you are eligible for SDS, then your study permit application will be processed must faster than a regular study permit application. Once your permit is approved, you can proceed to complete other visa formalities and seek entry into Canada.
And what if your SDS application is rejected? SDS rejection does not mean your study permit application is automatically rejected. SDS rejection means you won’t get the benefit of fast-track processing. Your application will be processed as a regular study permit application, which means you may have to wait up to three months to get the permit.
This means it’s better to have an immigration professional go through your profile to help you assess your eligibility for SDS. The last thing you want is to apply presuming you will qualify for fast-track processing only for your study permit application processing to run into months.