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An Overview of the Student Direct Stream for Studying in Canada

Austin Campbell



overview of Student Direct Stream

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a program that expedites the process of obtaining a study permit in Canada for eligible international post-secondary students. Currently, the program is only available to citizens of 14 countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must reside in their home country at the time of application and meet certain requirements, including achieving an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French, providing a copy of their acceptance letter from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution, presenting their most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s), providing proof of payment for tuition fees for the first year of study, presenting a confirmation document for an upfront medical exam, obtaining a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000, presenting a police certificate, and, if planning to study in Quebec, presenting a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration.

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Applicants must submit their applications to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) and may require varying documentation for visa application processing depending on their country of residence. The Canadian government’s website provides detailed information on the eligibility criteria and visa office instructions for 11 of the 14 SDS-eligible countries.

The Canadian government aims to process all SDS applications in approximately 20 days, but this may take longer if additional support documents are required. Once an application is approved, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will issue a Port of Entry (POE) letter as proof of approval for a study permit, accompanied by either a temporary resident/visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) if necessary.

It is important to note that SDS program permits do not, by themselves, allow applicants to travel to or enter Canada. Applicants must also obtain a travel visa in addition to their study permit. Only then will their study permit take effect and allow them to continue their post-secondary education in Canada.


The SDS program provides a streamlined process for eligible international post-secondary students to obtain a study permit in Canada. However, applicants should carefully review the eligibility criteria and visa office instructions for their country of residence before submitting their application to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

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