Student Direct Stream Could Save you Time – if your country qualifies
How does getting your study permit (which comes with your visitor visa) in 20 calendar days sound? That’s the stated goal of IRCC’s Student Direct Stream which allows legal residents of a growing list of countries to apply for fast-track processing of their study permit.
Remember, you have to be a resident of the following list of countries. If you don’t legally live in one of the following countries, you’ll have to apply by regular channels. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a citizen of one of the countries listed below. You have to be legally residing in one of them to qualify for SDS.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
You also need to meet the following conditions to be eligible:
- Have a Letter of Acceptance from a DLI
- Be living outside Canada (in one of these countries) when you apply
- Have proof of payment of tuition of your first year of studies.
- Invest in a GIC (Growth Investment Certificate) of the value of CAD$ 10,000. Proof of this includes:
- A Letter of Attestation from the bank, OR
- GIC Certificate, OR
- Investment Direction Confirmation, OR
- Investment Balance Confirmation.
- As well, you have to have a payments schedule with the bank where they release (upon presentation of ID on your part) a fixed amount when you arrive in Canada and then the remaining balance monthly or bi-monthly over the next 10-12 months.
- You can use one of the following banks:
- Bank of Beijing
- Bank of China
- Bank of Montreal
- Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
- Habib Canadian Bank
- ICICI Bank
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- RBC Royal Bank
- SBI Canada Bank
- Simplii Financial
- If studying in Quebec have a CAQ (Certificate of Acceptance)
- Depending on your country of residence or where you have travelled recently, you may be asked to provide a Medical Exam and/or a Police Certificate.
- Have an IELTS (General or Academic) test with a score of at least 6.0 or have a TEF (French language skill test) equivalent to a CLB level of 7.
- You may require other documentation depending on your country of residence.
How to apply
Let’s review the steps how to apply.
SDS – STEP 1: RESIDENCE
You must be a legal resident of one of the countries listed above. If you don’t legally reside in the countries listed above (Antigua and Barbuda through 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.
SDS – 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 hereto 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.
SDS – 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 hereto 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 1017Ewhich 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 1017Bif they work with a paper system OR
- Give you an information sheet printout if they work for
- 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
SDS – 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 Chinathere 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 herefor 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 herefor information on Scotiabank’s student GIC program.
- In Vietnam, you also must use a participating Canadian financial institution. Hereis a link to Scotiabank’s student GIC program for those from Vietnam.
- For the rest of the countries, go here and choose from the list which country you are a legal resident of. A list of instructions specific to that country will appear, including what financial institutions you can use to purchase your GIC.
SDS – 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.
SDS – STEP 6: PROVE YOU CAN SPEAK ENGLISH OR FRENCH
- You have to prove your having graduated from a Canadian curriculum high school, OR
- Show ascore 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.
SDS – STEP 7: APPLY FOR YOUR STUDY PERMIT
Fill out your application, either:
- By Paper, using Instruction Guide formIMM 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) formIMM 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.
SDS – STEP 8: PAY YOUR APPLICATION FEES
Pay your fees. Go here for more information on paying your fees.
SDS – 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 permitwill 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. Remember however that you can apply through regular channels if your SDS submission is rejected.
Now let’s take a closer look at the specific online process.
You have to apply online to Student Direct Stream as paper applications to SDS will not be processed. Go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see:
Remember to use Guide 5269 – Applying for a Study Permit Outside Canada. As well, you’ll need a scanner or camera to upload your supporting documents. And it is strongly suggested you pay your biometric fee at the same time as you apply.
You should choose the country you are residing in. In this case we’ve chosen India. PLEASE REMEMBER that this does not necessarily mean you have to be a citizen of India, only that you are a legal resident of India and are applying from India.
Clicking on the blue Continue button opens up the following additional instructions directly below:
The next step is to create an account with IRCC. As well, note the Visa office instructions link. Make sure you print this and then scan or take a photo to upload it. You must upload your checklist which is included. It also lists banks in India that are authorized to grant Education Loans. Here is the checklist part of the instructions. Remember to include this and to use it as a guide when you put together your application.
You also have to fill in sections on your study and work experience as well as information on your family and any representative you may have appointed.
The next step is to open your IRCC Secure Account. We’ve covered this extensively in previous tutorials so go here for more information.
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