Student Direct Stream (SDS) Canada : Application Process

7 mins read1.1L Views 147 Comments
Aprant Agarwal
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jun 16, 2023 14:47 IST

SDS: New Student Visa Program of Canada

SDS Canada Visa: Indian students applying to Canadian universities can now expect a faster visa processing time, thanks to the newly launched student visa program (SDS Canada). With effect from June 8, 2018, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada has launched a new program namely Student Direct Stream (SDS) to make processing times faster for students from Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam. The SDS program is supposedly replacing SPP, the previous student visa program that also facilitated a faster visa process.

SDS Canada visa applications are usually processed within 20 calendar days, provided a student meets all the eligibility criteria. As per the newly introduced SDS program, students must meet a certain set of criteria, stricter than those compared to the erstwhile SPP. In this article, we will cover all the details of SDS Canada visa in the simplest of languages.

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Latest Update

SDS Canada Visa Eligibility Update: Students must note the latest update, with respect to the SDS Canada visa eligibility requirements, which will come into effect from August 10, 2023, onwards. From August 10, 2023, PTE Academic will be accepted in Canada for all Canada SDS applications. In early 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognised PTE Core as proof of English language proficiency for Canada PR. Students need to note that the PTE Academic exam taken before August 10, 2023, will be considered for a Canada SDS visa if: the scores are not expired and they are submitted after August 10, 2023. 

SDS Canada Visa Eligibility Requirements

  • Students are supposed to submit their SDS Canada visa applications electronically.
  • Candidates must have a language test result that shows either an IELTS academic or general training score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
  • Students must pay full tuition fees for the first year of study.
  • Students must buy a Guaranteed Investment of Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 from any bank insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or any bank listed on the IRCC SDS website (ICICI Canada and SBI Canada).
  • Colleges and institutions applied by the students must have a registered Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) number.
  • Have a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) from the Ministry of Immigration if you are planning to study in Quebec. 
  • Medical Examination 
  • Police Certificate 
  • Transcripts of the most recent secondary or post-secondary school.
  • Must have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institute. 
  • SDS Canada visa application fee of C$150.

Note: Depending upon where you are applying from more documents may be asked from you, In this situation, your application will take a longer time to process.  

Documents Required for SDS Canada Visa Application

  • Copy of your acceptance letter from the DLI.
  • Most recent secondary or post-secondary education transcript.
  • Copy of your upfront medical examination confirmation.
  • Proof of GIC payment of $10,000.
  • An official letter from DLI confirming payment of tuition fee.
  • Proof of English language requirements is an IELTS score of 6.0 in each module or the candidate must have graduated from a Canadian curriculum high school.
  • Identity proof.
  • Application for study permit made outside Canada.
  • Family information form (if required).
  • Temporary Resident Visa application form (if required).

Under this new program, all Canadian colleges and Institutions with a registered DLI number will come under SDS. Unlike SPP which allowed international students to apply to only about 45 odd PSI institutions, the SDS now is open to any college and university with a valid DLI number. The visa processing time for SDS student visa applications will be around 20 days. For non-SDS programs, the processing time will be the same as regular processing times which is around 7 weeks.

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Financial Institutions that offer GICs

The GIC can be obtained from any of the financial institutions listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company Website. Before choosing a financial institution you should make sure the financial institution you choose offers GICs and meets the criteria for Student Direct Stream. Below, we provide a list of financial institutions that meet the criteria for Student Direct Stream:

  • ICICI Bank 
  • SBI Canada Bank 
  • HSBC Canada Bank 
  • Bank of Beijing 
  • Bank of China 
  • RBC Royal Bank 
  • Scotia Bank

Who is not eligible for Student Direct Stream (SDS Canada)

  • If you live in one of the countries mentioned above, you are not eligible for SDS.
  • If you live in another country (even if you are a citizen of one of the countries mentioned above) 
  • If you do not meet the eligibility for faster processing of your visa 

However, you are still allowed to apply through the regular student permit process to study in Canada. 

Advantages of Applying Through SDS

  • Faster visa processing time: SDS applications are normally processed in about 20 calendar days. For faster processing, students are advised to give their biometrics as soon as possible and to meet all the eligibility criteria
  • Less financial documentation. 

Summing Up: Here are the Main Highlights:

  • The entire visa processing time is reduced to around 20 calendar days.
  • Every college and institution having a registered DLI comes under SDS increasing the options for students.
  • GIC payment of $10,000
  • Payment of full tuition for the first year
  • Medical examination.
  • Have an IELTS of 6.0 in each module.
  • The processing fee for SDS Canada visa is CAD 150,

The SDS program seems to be a breather for Indian students who can now hope for a faster visa, more options, and opportunities for jobs and PR. For help with university applications, students seeking to study abroad can contact our Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors. The comments section below allows candidates to contact us as well.

Also, read:

SDS Colleges in Ontario

SDS Colleges in British Columbia

What is SPP Program?

SPP Colleges in Canada

SDS Canada Visa FAQs

Q. What is SDS Canada Visa?

A. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the SDS (Student Direct Stream) programme. The programme is created to expedite the processing of study permits for specific overseas students (20 calendar days). It is accessible to certain overseas students from nations like India. It is available for students who wish to study at a DLI (designated learning institution).

Q. What are the requirements for SDS Canada visa?

A. Here are the requirements to qualify for the SDS Canada visa: Resident of a certain country (includes India) + acceptance letter from a DLI + applicant must be living outside of Canada at the time of application + proof of payment of first year tuition fee + Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of C$10,000 + medical examination + police clearance + IELTS score of at least 6.0 in each section + Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) (if applying to a DLI in Quebec).

Q. Is IELTS compulsory for SDS Canada?

A. In order to prove their foreign language proficiency, students may appear for IELTS or Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). However, from August 10, 2023, PTE Academic will also be accepted for Canada SDS applications. Moreover, the PTE Academic exam taken before August 10, 2023, will be considered for a Canada SDS visa if: the scores are not expired and they are submitted after August 10, 2023. In addition to this, when it comes to IELTS, students need to score at least 6.0 in each part of the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training Module. As for the TEF, students need to score at least 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).

Q. What are the foreign language requirements for SDS Canada?

A. Here are the foreign language requirements for SDS Canada visa:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): Minimum 6.0 in each section of the IELTS academic or IELTS general training module.
  • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF): TEF score must correspond to at least 7 Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score in all the sections.

Q. What is the processing time and application fee for SDS Canada visa?

A. If you meet all the eligibility requirements, it might take up to 20 calendar days for the processing of your SDS Canada visa. You must provide your biometrics and meet the eligibility requirements for faster processing of your application. The application fee for SDS Canada visa is C$150. For payment, the following credit and prepaid cards are accepted: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, and UnionPay. All Visa debit cards are also accepted.

Q. What are the benefits of SDS Canada?

A. Faster processing times—typically within 20 calendar days—are among the advantages of SDS (Student Direct Stream) for qualified overseas students seeking for study permits in Canada. For students from a few countries, this programme serves to simplify the application procedure for a study permit, making it simpler for them to continue their education in Canada. In order to increase their chances of getting the study visa authorised, students participating in the SDS programme must also provide proof of paying their first year's tuition in advance.

About the Author
Aprant Agarwal
Study Abroad Expert

Aprant has scored 700 on the GMAT and likes to write articles and blogs in his free time. He has considerable experience in the study abroad domain, especially in MBA admissions and wants to provide authentic guidan... Read Full Bio




Devinder Cheema

a month ago

Hii, I have two years gap after higher secondary, can I apply for may intake

Reply to Devinder Cheema


kanam shan

3 months ago

what about Sri Lanka?

Reply to kanam shan


Aprant AgarwalStudy Abroad Expert

3 months ago

SDS Canada programme is for the citizens of the following nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.



8 months ago

I completed my UG in the year 2018, and now I am applying for a PGDM course for 2023 in Canada. Do I need to provide any documents to fill my year gap? P.S: I don't have a proper work experience letter and a pay slip for my work experience. Someone, please give me some guidance.

Reply to AbdulRahman


Aprant AgarwalStudy Abroad Expert

7 months ago

Hi. Make sure that you have met all the eligibility requirements for the course that you are applying for. If your course does not require mandatory work experience, you can justify your gaps in your SOP or Letter of Motivation. Make sure to score well on all the entrance tests in order to compensat




a year ago

For 3 years of study in Canada under SDS do I have to show funds ?? I paid fees and gic

Reply to Varun


Aprant AgarwalStudy Abroad Expert

a year ago

Hi. Please go through the article once again to know about the documents required for SDS application.


Aastha Hooda

a year ago

I will be filing under SDS category so do I need to have my documents notarised

Reply to Aastha Hooda


Aprant AgarwalStudy Abroad Expert

a year ago

Notarization of documents depends on the type of documents that your providing. Certain documents such as self-declarations need to be notarized.

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