If you fulfil the conditions listed below, you may be eligible for what is called the Student Direct Stream, an accelerated process that lets you jump the queue and get a head start with your application for a Canadian study permit at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Sound interesting? Let’s see if you qualify.
Are you a legal resident of one of the following countries?
Are you considering studying in Canada? If you fulfill the conditions listed below, you may be eligible for what is called the Student Direct Stream, an accelerated process that lets you jump the queue and get a head start with your application for a Canadian study permit at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Sound interesting? Let’s see if you qualify.
Step 1: Residence
You must be a legal resident of one of the four countries listed above. If you don’t legally reside in China, India, the Philippines, or Vietnam, even if you are a citizen of one of these countries, you are not eligible for Student Direct Stream, and you should apply for your study permit through the regular application process.
Step 2: Acceptance Letter
You must have a letter of acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada in order to apply for the Student Direct Stream (or any study permit). To ensure that the post-secondary school in Canada you have been accepted at or that you are interested in applying to is a DLI you must:
- Go here to search for your school
- Choose the province or territory your school is located in
- Type in the name of your school or the city to find it
- Write down its designated learning institution number
- On your study permit application, write that number down in the section titled: Details of intended study in Canada.
Step 3: Medical Exam
Get an upfront medical exam confirmation document. An upfront medical exam is one you take before you apply to come to Canada. The confirmation document is what you must have your doctor fill out for you and which you must include with your application.
- The first part of getting your upfront medical exam is contacting what is called a panel physician. This is a doctor who has been approved by the IRCC to do medical exam for immigration purposes. Go here to find a panel physician in your country of residence.
- Bring the following to your medical exam with your panel physician:
- Photo ID like a passport, driver’s license, or National Identity Card
- Glasses or contact lenses if you wear them
- Any medical reports on any previous medical conditions you may have had or still have
- Medical report form IMM 1017E which the visa office will send to you
- 4 recent photographs if your doctor does not use eMedical
- Once you have taken your medical exam, your panel physician will either:
- Give you IMM 1017B if they work with a paper system OR
- Give you an information sheet printout if they work for eMedical.
- You must pay the fees for your exam. You will not be refunded should your application be rejected.
- Medical exams are valid for 12 months only.
Step 4: Purchase a GIC
Invest CAD$10,000 in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) and obtain a statement from your bank as proof of your investment.
- In India, for example, banks like ICIC’s Canadian subsidiary offer a Student GIC Program, through which you can invest in a Canadian-dollar-denominated GIC in order to qualify.
- In China there is a wide range of financial institutions to choose from:
- Bank of China – Canada
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Bank of Montreal
- Industrial & Commercial Bank of China – Canada
- Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
- Bank of X’ian – Canada
- Bank of Beijing – Canada
- HSBC Bank – Canada
- Go here for more information on branch addresses for China, and how to contact them for more information.
- In the Philippines, you will have to use a participating Canadian financial institution. For example, go here for information on Scotiabank’s student GIC program.
- In Vietnam, you also must use a participating Canadian financial institution. Here is a link to Scotiabank’s student GIC program for those from Vietnam.
Step 5: Pay Your Tuition
Unlike the regular study permit requirements, where you only have to proof you have sufficient funds to study and live in Canada for the duration of your study program, in the Student Direct Stream you must – in addition to investing in a GIC – also provide proof of prepayment of your 1st year of tuition at the Designated Learning Institution you will be attending in Canada.
Step 6: Prove You Can Speak English or French
- Your having graduated from a Canadian curriculum high school, OR
- A score of at least 6 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or a score of at least 7 under the TEF (French) test. The IELTS tests are held around the world at various locations. Go here for more information. You must pay for the tests out of your own pocket.
Step 7: Apply for Your Study Permit
Fill out your application, either:
- By Paper, using Instruction Guide form IMM 5269, complete the required forms. You should note that the required forms may vary slightly depending on what country you are a legal resident of. Go here and type in the country of your legal residence to see your required documents list. Go here for information on what documents you require when applying from the Philippines.
- Online, your forms also vary depending on your country of residence. For example, in China you will need to complete a Student Direct Stream (SDS) form IMM 5974, while in Vietnam the form is labelled IMM 5975.
- Remember, you must have a digital camera or a scanner to create electronic copies of your documents when you apply online.
- You must also have a valid credit card to pay your fees with. Do NOT forget to print a copy of your receipt for payment of fees.
Step 8: Pay Your Application Fees
Pay your fees. Go here for more information on paying your fees.
Step 9: Receive Your Decision
If your application is accepted you will receive:
- A Letter of Introduction: you must save this and show it to the immigration authorities at your Port of Entry (the airport in Canada at which you arrive).
- A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) which will be attached to your passport.
- Your study permit will be valid until the end of the study program for which it was issued.
If your application does not meet the Student Direct Stream requirements but is otherwise acceptable, your application will be processed as a normal study permit application with the normal wait times involved.
If your application is rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the rejection. Contact your local visa office if you have any questions.
Allard Keeley has been a published writer on immigration policy since 2013. Has written for publications like The Federalist. Fluent in Spanish and English. BA Honors Economics Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.