Over the past decade, Canadian universities and colleges have observed a huge influx in international student enrollment. India, China, the Philippines and Vietnam have been identified as the four largest Asian markets that send students to study in Canada. This has resulted because of the IRCC’s continuous efforts to promote Canada as a destination of choice for international students. The Student Partner Program (SPP) was a part of this great initiative until early 2018.

In June 2018, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the launch of the Student Direct Stream (SDS). Effective as of June, this new program replaces the Student Partner Program and promises to ensure consistency and efficiency in the student visa application process. Students from India, China, the Philippines and Vietnam can now benefit from faster visa processing times provided that they submit upfront proof of funds and the required level of English language proficiency. If you are a legal resident of any of these countries, then SchoolApply can guide you through the new Student Direct Stream application process.

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Now that it is clear what the Student Direct Stream is, let’s get into the details of how this new student visa program benefits international students.

Faster Visa Processing

Student Direct Stream  study permit

International students applying from these four Asian countries through the Student Direct Stream now have an edge over other applicants applying through the regular stream. How? Under this new system, students with the required level of English language proficiency and proof of funds will benefit from faster visa processing times. A study permit under the SDS system gets processed within 45 days, as opposed to 60 days under the regular stream.

More School and Course Options

Previously, the SPP system allowed students to apply to only about 47 community colleges in Canada, which meant that students had a limited number of schools and courses to choose from. Now, with the launch of the SDS, students have the option to apply to Canadian colleges as well as universities. Every college and university with a unique Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number comes directly under the SDS system, which gives international students a range of higher education options to choose from. SchoolApply has partnerships with a number of institutes that are classified as SDS schools. Here are a few of them:

At SchoolApply, we help the students with the SDS application process from start to finish

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Less Financial Documentation

Students applying through the regular process need to submit up to eight documents of finance as proof of funds when applying to study in Canada. This has been reduced to just two financial documents under the SDS system.

Path to Immigration

Lastly, but most importantly, it is essential to note that the Student Direct Stream complements the Express Entry System. This means that students who successfully complete their studies in Canada through the SDS process will be on the path to permanent residence and Canadian citizenship.

After getting to know these benefits, the next step would be to determine whether you are eligible to apply through the SDS process.

Who Can Apply for the Student Direct Stream?

Student Direct Stream  Who can apply

Before applying to study in Canada through the Student Direct Stream, it is important that you know some ground rules. To apply you must:

  • Be a legal resident of either India, China, Vietnam or the Philippines
  • Have an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada
  • Have the required English language proficiency and proof of funds

At this point, you may certainly want to get know the detailed specific documents required to apply through the Student Direct Stream. We understand your concern, and for your convenience we have put together the list of documents that you will need to apply.

What Documents are Required to Apply for the Student Direct Stream?

Student Direct Stream  document checklist

You must have the following documents ready to start your application:

  • A letter of acceptance (LOA) from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.
  • Payment receipt of the tuition fees for one year of study
  • Purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
  • Completion of an upfront medical examination
  • A qualifying score of at least 6 in each module and an overall score of 6 on the IELTS

As an international student applying to Canada for the first time, it is possible that you may not be aware of some of the abbreviations that are mentioned above. Let’s understand what these acronyms stand for:

  1. Letter of Acceptance (LOA): A letter of acceptance is a document  issued to inform an applicant that he/she has been offered a place to study at an higher education institution.
  2. Designated Learning Institution (DLI): A designated learning institution is a school, college or university approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students.
  3. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC): This is an investment account that offers a guaranteed interest rate over a fixed period of time. It is offered by most Canadian financial Institutions such as Scotia Bank. It is an important document that can help you pay for living expenses while you’re studying in Canada.
  4. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS): An international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers.

Should you have any questions regarding the SDS application process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. SchoolApply’s dedicated Education Advisors will help you with your application to study in Canada.

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About the Author: Mustafa Sutarwala is an all-round creative marketing graduate from Amity University Dubai, and is currently working in Dubai. He's inclined to digital marketing communications and works as the Creative Ninja for SchoolApply.