Have you always wanted to further your studies abroad or gain an internationally recognized qualification to help boost your career? Canada has the highest number of educated adults in the world, with universities ranked in the top global 100!
To study in Canada, however, you will need a Canadian study permit which can take up to seven weeks to process. But what if there was a faster way to get your study visa for Canada?
Well, there is and it’s a program called the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which processes visas in as little as three weeks.
Previously, only seven countries were eligible to apply through the program but, in a recent announcement by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), seven new countries were listed as eligible to apply through the SDS.
This is a part of Canada’s economic recovery plan, and now international students from the following South and Central American countries can apply for fast-tracked visa processing:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
“Our country’s diverse and inclusive society, high-quality educational institutions, and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world. The global pandemic has caused disruptions and distress for everyone, including international students. By expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we have great optimism that international education will recover, and indeed flourish, as Canada emerges from the pandemic.”
– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
Almost 16,000 Canada study permits were issued to international students from the seven new SDS eligible countries in 2019, and with faster processing now available, getting a study visa for Canada will take you half the time than applying through the regular student visa program would.
Keep reading to find out more about the program, its requirements, and how to start the application process.
What is the Student Direct Stream?
The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an initiative created by the Canadian Government in 2018 to help process student visa applications faster and help welcome more international students from all over the world. Its main aim is to help support the growth of the economy as well as those seeking new opportunities to not only study in Canada but stay and gain valuable work experience, possibly even permanent residency.
Who is Eligible for SDS?
To be considered eligible for fast-tracked processing via the Student Direct Stream, you first have to be a resident of one of the 14 countries listed below:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
You will also need to meet the following requirements:
- have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution
- live outside of Canada when you apply have proof you
- have paid your tuition for your first year of study eg. receipt from the DLI or your bank, an official letter from your DLI confirming payment
- have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000
- have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration
- This is only if you’re planning to study in Quebec
- get a medical exam before you apply (if you need one)
- get a police certificate before you apply (if you need one)
- have your most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)
- have a language test result that shows either:
- an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic or general training score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), or
- a Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) score that is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, and listening)
You may be asked to submit additional supporting documents depending on where you’re applying from.
When should I apply for SDS?
The sooner you apply the better. Canada is a popular destination among international students and spots are filling up fast. In the first quarter of 2021, IRCC issued 21,000 study permits alone, an impressive 44 percent increase, while the Post Graduate Worker Permit Program (PGWPP) saw a 160 percent increase, issuing 24,000 work permits to international graduate students in Canada.
How long does it take to get a Canada study permit under the SDS?
Most SDS study permits are processed in 20 calendar days, which could take longer if the IRCC is still waiting for your biometrics, supporting documents or there is an indication that you don't meet all the requirements. It’s best to make sure that you have all the required documents at hand when starting the application process.
How to Apply
Before you start the application process you need to be accepted to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). There are over 300 to choose from nationwide, each offering a wide variety of top academic programs.
Once you have been accepted to the DLI of your choice and have all the required supporting documentation in place, you can start with the online application process.
After you have submitted your application and paid the application fee, you will get a letter requesting that you submit your biometrics. You will have 30 days to submit them so it's best not to leave this to the last minute.
If your application is approved, you will receive a port of entry letter of introduction (you’ll need this when you arrive in Canada) as well as your Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) or visitors visa.
Ready to start studying in Canada?
As an international student in Canada, you’ll find that you’ll not only be able to gain a world-class education but you will meet people from all across the globe and will even have the opportunity to stay and work in Canada. With enough Candian work experience, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the CEC or various provincial graduate programs.
Not sure where to study in Canada? No problem. We work with experienced academic advisors who can not only help you find the best DLI for you but assist you with your motivation letter too.
If you are a resident of one of the 14 eligible countries and meet all the requirements of the SDS, now is your opportunity to take your future into your own hands.