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Is Canada’s Student Direct Stream right for you?

Studying in Canada has become an even more attractive proposition for residents of key partner countries, thanks to the Student Direct Stream.

Student Direct Stream applications are typically processed in less than one month.

Under Canada’s Student Direct Stream, students residing in the Philippines, China, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Morocco, or Senegal have benefitted from expedited processing of their applications to study in Canada. As of July 9, 2021, seven countries in the Americas have been added to the Student Direct Stream: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Students from these countries who demonstrate upfront that they have the financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada benefit from faster processing times. The service standard for Canada’s Student Direct Stream processing is 20 calendar days.

To qualify for the Student Direct Stream, applicants need to meet additional requirements, in particular language levels that are stricter than regular study permit requirements. In addition, a core component for acceptance through the Student Direct Stream is submitting a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) showing you have an investment account with a balance of CAD $10,000 or higher.

Students who do not have all of the additional information may still apply through the regular study permit application process, either online or at a Visa Application Centre. Applications that meet the regular study permit criteria but not the Student Direct Stream criteria may be processed according to the regular study permit criteria, but do receive the faster processing that is available under the Student Direct Stream (SDS Canada).

“IRCC recognizes the tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits that international students bring to Canada. We are committed to improving client service for all applicants, including students, as we continue to find new and efficient ways to reduce processing times,” stated Ahmed Hussed, Canada’s Minister of Immigration at the time of the SDS launch.

Do you prefer to learn by video? Check out this comprehensive webinar on studying in Canada which we produced in partnership with Doherty Fultz Immigration:

SDS Program Canada Eligibility

You may apply for Canada’s Study Direct Stream if you’re a legal resident in:

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

If you live in another country (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), you have to apply through the regular study permit application process.

You must include the following documents with your application:

A major requirement to apply for your study permit through the Study Direct Stream is submitting a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) showing you have an investment account with a balance of CAD $10,000 or higher. Check out our analysis on which bank is the best option for your GIC.

Your GIC account is an investment. You will get the money back from your GIC once you start your studies in Canada. Usually, students receive CAD $2000 when they first arrive in Canada, then the remaining $8000 is paid out in installments over the following year.

Transition to permanent residence from Canada’s Student Direct Stream

Entering 2020, there were approximately 700,000 international students in Canada, representing a huge increase since just a few years previously. In 2019 alone, over 404,000 international students activated their Canadian study permits. These figures are particularly significant in that they have surpassed Canada’s International Education Strategy goal of 450,000 international students in Canada by 2022, years ahead of schedule.

Students from India and China together make up more than half of Canada’s international student cohort. More than 100,000 Indian students arrived in 2018 alone.

One major reason why the SDS stream and Canada more broadly have been so successful in attracting record numbers of international students is the opportunity for students to remain in the country upon graduation. International students in Canada, whether they have availed of the study direct stream or not, can work both during and immediately after their studies, and may plot a path towards permanent residence from the get-go, mainly thanks to the advantages of the Express Entry immigration selection system.

Under Express Entry, graduates of Canadian institutions may obtain bonus points for the studies – more than candidates who studied outside Canada. A recent IRCC Express Entry report shows that nearly one-third of all invitations to apply for permanent residence issued in 2017 went to graduates of colleges and universities in Canada.

International students and graduates in Canada may also review their immigration options under the Provincial Nominee Programs, as many PNP streams aim to help students and graduates set down permanent roots in Canada.

International graduates in Canada are also in a strong position to transition eventually to permanent resident status.

Get help with your study permit application

If you need help applying for your Canadian study permit, we recommend booking a consultation with Doherty Fultz Immigration.

Doherty Fultz Immigration is a Canadian immigration consultancy founded by immigrants to Canada for immigrants to Canada. Led by Anthony Doherty (R#510956) and Cassandra Fultz (#514356), the team’s 40+ years of experience can empower you towards settling in Canada.