Quality education in world-class universities and an excellent immigration system with a hundred different federal and provincial programs have made Canada one of the top destinations for foreign students from across the world.
The chaotic immigration policies of the US and the uncertainty surrounding the H1-B visa and OPT too has contributed to Canada’s popularity. If you are a student exploring study opportunities abroad, then Canada should definitely rank at the top of your list of potential study destinations.
And if you are considering studying in Canada, then you should find out whether your country is covered by the Student Direct Stream and the benefits of applying through SDS as compared to the non-SDS route.
SDS vs Non-SDS—Understanding the Difference
The SDS is a fast-track application system for study permits that is open to students from a select list of countries only. As compared to the normal three-month processing period for study permits, applications made through SDS are often processed and approved much faster.
The requirements of applying through SDS are almost the same as the non-SDS route. SDS application requires:
- Acceptance by a Designated Learning Institute and
- Submission of IELTS/TEF language tests, educational transcripts, and medical test reports (if required).
This would be required for non-SDS study permit applications as well.
What sets SDS apart is the requirement to get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate from a Canadian bank for an amount of CAN$10,000. Non-SDS applicants need to submit such a certificate, and this is probably the reason why SDS approval rates are often twice the approval rates of non-SDS applications.
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SDS vs Non-SDS—Financial Sufficiency is Key
All foreign students coming to Canada must submit proof that they have sufficient financial resources to study in the country. The Immigration Office adjudicating your application must be satisfied of your financial sufficiency based on the documents you have submitted.
Generally, financial sufficiency is proved by-
- Demonstrating enough funds to pay the annual tuition fee for the first year.
- Parents’ employment details and financial statements for funding future education.
- Details of scholarships awarded to the student.
Further, the Immigration Officer considers past instances of non-bona fide applications from your country or region and uses his/her discretion in deciding whether the proofs submitted are adequate or not.
If there have been instances of false or fraudulent submissions from your country or region, then the Office may require more details or may simply reject your application. This is perhaps why non-SDS applications from India have an approval rate of around 40 percent as compared to 80 percent approval rates for SDS applications from India.
SDS—Financial Sufficiency Guaranteed
The key condition to apply through SDS is to submit a $10,000 GIC along with your application. The GIC is like an advance payment of the student’s living expenses that is deposited with a Canadian bank. If your SDS application is approved and you come to Canada to study, then this amount will be repaid in periodic installments through the first year of your education.
An applicant who can afford to $10,000 and wait for eight to ten months to get it back in full will obviously have enough financial resources to study in Canada. The GIC combined with income details of the applicant and his/her parents should be more than enough to settle the financial sufficiency question.
And this is probably why approval rates for SDS applications are higher than non-SDS applications.
If you are serious about studying in Canada, then the smartest and obvious thing to do is to choose an application route with minimum risk of rejection. The last thing you would want is to have your study permit application rejected after you have been accepted by a DLI in Canada.
So, if you have the option of applying through SDS, then it makes very little sense to choose the non-SDS route instead. Depositing $10,000 at once may be tough but this will virtually reduce chances of rejection of your study permit application on grounds of doubts about financial sufficiency.
The best part is that this money belongs to you and can be used to pay for your living expenses in Canada. So, the one-time refundable deposit is a small price to pay considering the fantastic advantages and benefits of studying and settling in Canada.