Higher Education Guidance & Counselling

Canadian Student Direct Stream (SDS) 2023 Applications Open: With Admission Instructions


The Student Direct Stream (SDS-Canada) 2023 is now accepting applications from seven countries for admissions into top Canadian Universities on self-funded and fully funded Canadian Scholarship programs.

With the increasing number of students aspiring to study in Canadian institutes to continue their higher education, it is becoming difficult for students, especially those belonging to Asia and Africa to acquire study permits. But the good news is that the Canadian Government is making it easier than ever for international students to get study permits for achieving their goals of studying in a top-notch institute in Canada. 

One such initiative of the Canadian government towards making the visa acquiring procedures easier for international students is the Canada Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program.

What is the Canada Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program?

The Canada Student Direct Stream, commonly known as the Canada SDS is a program designed to grant international students from seven countries with an accelerated route to get their student permits sanctioned to study in a Canadian university.

The following seven countries are eligible for the Canadian SDS Program:

  • Pakistan.
  • China.
  • Colombia.
  • Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Morocco.
  • Brazil.
  • India.

How does the Canada SDS Program Work?

When students from countries outside of those specified in the Canada SDS’s list of approved nations apply for their study permits, the process takes a longer time to initiate. However, when students apply to Canadian universities under the Canada SDS Program, their study permit processes start in a comparatively shorter time frame.

However, it is important to note that a study permit acquired under the Canada SDS Program is not a student visa. Apart from the study permit, students also acquire either a Canadian student visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization depending on the category under which their home countries are listed.

Benefits of the Canada SDS Program

The same factor counts as the major benefit of the Canada SDS Program in that it makes the study permit processing time significantly less. 

Thus, students applying to get their study permits through the Canada SDS Program get their permits in a time slot as short as 20 days as compared to students acquiring study permits through the regular channels (Canadian embassy or consulate) which takes a minimum of 16 weeks.

Now that you know what the Canada SDS Program is and how it benefits students, you must be wondering what the eligibility criteria are for the program and how to apply for a study permit under the Canada SDS program. Fret not, because you will find all this information and more in this very transcript. So, read on till the last and get to know all that is important to fast-track the procedure of getting your permit to study in a Canadian university.

Which Countries are on the Canada SDS Program’s List of Approved Countries?

Now, the foremost requirement of applying for a study permit under the Canada Student Direct Stream Program is to be a permanent resident of the selected countries. Out of these countries 7 top most are mentioned in the above section and rest with all includes:

  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Columbia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal 
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam.

Note: Students who are residents of any country other than these, despite being citizens of any of the above-listed countries, will not be eligible to utilize the Canada SDS Program and will have to apply for their study permits through the Canadian Embassy or Consulate.

Eligibility Criteria to Apply for a Study Permit under the Canada SDS Program

Just like applying for a study permit through the Canadian embassy, the students opting for the Canada SDS route will also have to abide by certain requirements in order to be considered eligible for the study permit. 

The eligibility criteria for applying to a study permit under Canada is mentioned below as follows:


  • Students must be permanent residents of any of the eligible countries at the time of applying for a Canada study permit under the Student Direct Stream program.

Educational requirements

  • Students must have completed their secondary or post-secondary education and must possess transcripts of the said.

Documents requirements for SDS Canadian Application:

  • The candidates must have an acceptance letter from any of the Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in Canada.
  • Students applying to a DLI in Quebec must possess a Certificat d’acception du Quebec (CAQ) from the Ministere de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Immigration.
  • They must possess proof of submitting their tuition fee for the first year of study from their respected universities. The proof of payment can be in the following forms:
    1. A receipt from the DLI
    2. A receipt from the bank showing that the tuition fee has been paid to the DLI
    3. An official letter from the DLI confirming that the tuition fees have been paid for the first year.
  • Students must have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) worth 10,000 CAD.
  • Students must have a medical exam. This document is only for those students who:
    1. Lived in or traveled to certain countries for a minimum of 6 months in the year previous to their anticipated arrival in Canada.
    2. Plan to study or work in the fields of health, primary or secondary education, or child or elder care.
  • All the candidates must acquire a police certificate before applying for a study permit under the Canada SDS Program. This document is also mandatory for some students who will be instructed to get one by their respective visa offices.

Language Test Score requirements

  • All the students must have passed either an English language exam or a French-language exam having secured the following scores:
    1. A minimum score of 6.0 in each skill in the IELTS exams
    2. A Test devaluation de francais (TEF) score equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill.

What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

Another important document that determines your eligibility for the Canada SDS Program is a GIC. It is a document confirming a Canadian investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time. 

In Canada, GICs are issued by many banks. You can get a GCI for applying to a study permit under the Canada SDS Program from any bank, provided that the bank stands up to the following requirements:

  1. Confirms your GIC purchase by issuing you any one of the following as proof:
    • A letter of attestation
    • A GIC certificate
    • An Investment Directions Confirmation
    • An Investment Balance Confirmation.
  2. Secures the GIC in either an investment account or a student account that is inaccessible to you until your arrival in Canada.
  3. Confirms your identity before releasing any funds to you.
  4. Releases the funds to you by providing:
  • A portion of your GIC upon your arrival in Canada
  • The rest of the amount after regular intervals in a course of 10 to 12 months.

Do note that a GIC issued from a bank that does not abide by the above-mentioned criteria is not appropriate for the Canada SDS Program.

Which Banks Follow the Criteria of the Canada SDS Program for Issuing a GIC?

A GIC can generally be issued by any bank listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company’s official website. However, not all of those banks follow the criteria set by the Canada SDS Program.

The banks and financial institutions which follow the criteria of the Canada SDS Program for issuing a GIC are listed below as follows:

  • Bank of Beijing
  • Bank of china
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
  •  Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Desjardins
  • Footnote
  • Habib Canadian Bank
  • HSBC Bank of Canada
  • ICICI Bank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • SBI Canada Bank
  • Scotiabank.

3 Steps to Apply for a Study Permit under the Canada SDS Program

The document and form submission for a study permit under the Canada SDS Program is to be done by means of an online application portal. 

However, the application procedure laid down by the Canadian government for the Canada SDS Program differs from country to country. So make sure to check the rules and regulations and procedures recommended by the consulate of your country.

Step 1:

The one-step that remains the same for all students irrespective of their nationalities is to set up an account on the portal. This account will help them to:

  • Pay their fee online
  • Upload their documents
  • Submit their application
  • Keep track of the status of their application.

Step 2:

After submitting their applications, students will have to make an appointment at the Canadian Embassy to submit their biometric information and photographs. At this step, the application will either be approved or rejected.

Step 3:

After approval of the study permit, students will be issued either an ETA or a student visa to continue their higher education in Canada. These documents will later be demanded by the immigration authorities from the students to verify their identities and by the bank for releasing the funds from the GIC.

How much does it cost to apply for a Study Permit under the Canada SDS Program?

The total cost of applying for a study permit under the Canada SDS Program is divided into two parts; the actual application cost which is a total of 150 CAD and the GIC cost which must be worth 10,000 CAD.

Thus, the total cost likely to be incurred is 10,150 CAD.

Good luck with your Canadian SDS Application:

Now that you know how to apply for a study permit under the Canada SDS Program, it is now time to start applying for one. This study permit can lead to you getting a permanent residency in Canada after getting professional experience for up to 3 years after graduating.

Also, if you plan to get a student loan to fund your education, we suggest that you apply for one a month before applying for your study permit to manage your time in an efficient way.

Good luck!

Yousaf Saeed

I'm Dr. Engr. Yousaf Saeed, founder of the AScholarship Education Portal. My academic path includes 3 prestigious international scholarships — Australia Awards, CSC, and HKPFS — for my higher studies. I am also an IChemE affiliate whereas I've also worked for companies like Aramco and BYCO oil refinery as an production engineer at the start of my career. I completed MS, and PhD with major research publications in leading SCI journals (details on my Researchgate Profile). This aScholarship.com reflects my commitment to educating and therefore i started it for the purpose to guide aspiring international students for find scholarships for their higher education dream. As an experienced educator and mentor, I specialize in navigating the intricacies of research and patent and write useful articles on these topics too.