Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have introduced a new service standard wherein overseas students applying through Student Direct Stream (SDS) will get their study permit processed in 20 calendar days. 

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a program specifically designed for lawful residents of India, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Under the SDS program, eligible students seeking higher-education opportunities in Canada will benefit from the accelerated study permit process.

The SDS program is a part of an initiative taken by the Canadian government and IRCC; they have undertaken the initiative to improve the process of study permit applications and attract overseas students seeking higher education in Canada.

In a statement issued on May 2, 2019, IRCC has stated that “reduction in the processing time will be applicable only for those candidates who submit their applications electronically, along with biometric details and all the required documentation.” Besides, IRCC has also stated that, along with the online application, the paper applications  will continue to process under Student Direct Stream (SDS) until May 15, 2019.

In order to be eligible to submit an application for a Canadian study permit under SDS, a prospective student must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

At first, the students must possess an acceptance letter from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Students are required to provide proof of Tuition Fees submission for the first year of the study program. The requirements include:

  • The candidates at the time applying through SDS are required to live outside Canada.
  • Hold a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000.
  • A language proficiency score of 6.0 or higher in each skill – Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Or, a Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) score which is equivalent to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7 for French.
  • If required, the candidate must get the medical examination and police certification done.

If the applicant is planning to study in the Quebec province, they are required to have a Certificate of acceptance in Quebec from the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Students who are unable to fulfill the eligibility criteria for applying through SDS can still apply for a study permit through – Regular Study Permit Application Process. However, the applications that fulfill the regular study permit criteria will not benefit from the fast-track study-permit process, which is available only for the students applying through SDS.

Moreover, IRCC is working on expanding the Student Direct Stream (SDS) to Africa, with expansion options in Kenya and Senegal. Expansion to Senegal will help Canada to achieve its goal of attracting more French-speaking students to Canada.


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