The Student Direct Stream, or SDS, is a new program designed to make the process of applying for a Canadian study permit faster and more efficient for some international students.

The SDS program currently serves residents of four countries: India, China, Philippines, and Vietnam.

The Government of Canada plans to extend the program to residents in Africa, specifically countries like Kenya and Senegal after evaluating the success of the program.

Eligibility requirements for Canada's Student Direct Stream

To submit an application for a Canadian study permit through the SDS program, prospective student applicants must:

  • provide a copy of a letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution;
  • present a confirmation document for the applicant’s upfront medical exam;
  • prove that they have obtained a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
  • prove that tuition fees for the first year of study are paid; and
  • show proof that they either completed studies at a Canadian curriculum high school or show proof of a language test results demonstrating an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French.
  • submit the application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

An application that is approved will be issued a letter of introduction, or what is officially known as a Point of Entry letter of introduction, and a temporary resident visa to enter Canada.

The letter of introduction, or Point of Entry (POE) letter, is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as proof of approval for a study permit and is presented to a visa officer upon arrival in Canada.

Citizens of one of the countries listed above cannot be residing in another country at the time of applying for a study permit through the SDS program.

Advantages of applying to study with Student Direct Stream 

Faster study permit processing times

IRCC says through the SDS program complete applications will be reviewed as soon as they are received.

If an application does not meet the requirements for the SDS program, IRCC will process the submission as a regular study permit application. Currently, processing times for Canadian study permit vary based on country of residence.

To find out how long a study permit application takes to process, use our dedicated Canadian immigration processing times tool.

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