Canada Student Visa Guide: SDS Category  

SDS Category

Canada Student Visa Guide: SDS Category  

Canada Student Visa Guide: SDS Category 

The quality of education and affordable tuition make Canada an attractive study destination for International Students. Canada is known for having a multicultural environment for international students. It is mandatory for all international students migrating to Canada to hold an approved Study Visa in hand.

The Student Direct Stream is a program designed to fast-track the student visa process of candidates coming to Canada from countries such as India, China, Pakistan, Srilanka for their higher studies. Usually, students applying for study visas under the SDS category receive their visas within 20days.

Only a student holding an acceptance letter from any of the DLIs or Designated Learning Institutions is deemed eligible to apply under the SDS category. Colleges and Universities in Canada which offer full-time legitimate courses to study are recognized as Designated Learning Institutions. The DLI’s list can be found here.


Step 1: Apply for Admissions at a Canadian University / College

To study in Canada one must hold a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada. Shortlist colleges or universities according to your requirements. Glance through the website of the colleges/universities in Canada and select appropriately based on the quality of education, ranking, curriculum and structure, tuition fee.

Now that you have shortlisted the Universities/colleges in Canada, go ahead and submit an application providing all the necessary details and documents (academic qualifications, passport copy, and proof of your English language proficiency) required by the institution for reviewing your profile. After submission, wait to receive your offer letter or LOA (Letter of Acceptance).

Step 2: Accept the offer and pay the tuition fee

After accepting your offer from the learning institute, pay the required tuition fee has stated in the offer letter within the deadline mentioned. Since the tuition fee made is made via international wire transfer, it advisable to pay the tuition fees at least 3 days before the deadline. The tuition fee payment made via international wire transfer may take up to a week to reflect in the college/university bank account.

On receiving the payment, a college/university receipt will be issued acknowledging the tuition fee payment. Note that this tuition fee payment receipt will be required for lodging your student visa application.

Step 3: GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate)

Once the tuition fee payment receipt is obtained by the student, he/she is required to purchase a guaranteed investment certificate from financial institutions which meet the criteria for the student direct stream.

The following are few financial institutions widely selected by many students:-

The GIC should be purchased for the amount of ten thousand Canadian dollars (CAD$10,000). The GIC is proof of funds for the first year of living expenses.

Step 4: Medical Examination

The candidate is required to undergo a medical examination by a Canadian government-approved doctor. The list of Empanelled doctors can be found by clicking here.

On the completion of your medical tests, you will be issued with an acknowledgment which will be required for lodging your student visa application.

Step 5: Submit your Student VISA application.

The following documents are required as per the SDS category checklist:

  • Main Visa Application Form IMM 1294E.

          The form can be downloaded from the link here.

  • Family Information Form IMM 5645E.

          The form can be downloaded from the link here.

  • Use of Representative Form (Optional).
  • Scanned copy of the first and last pages of the passport.
  • Digital Passport-sized photograph (Frame size 35mm width and 45mm height on a white background and 80% face visibility).
  • Valid Letter of acceptance from an institution having a DLI number showing planned start and end date of the program.
  • IELTS test results from within last 24 months and overall score at least 6.0 bands with no bands less than 6.0.
  • Recent Education Qualification along with all the individual mark sheets with provisional if not final degree certificate.
  • Tuition fee payment receipts issued by the Canadian educational institution. Pre-payment of first-year fees is mandatory.
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAD $ 10,000 (Mandatory).
  • Proof of upfront completion of medical examination from an empanelled doctor.
  • If a student is applying to study at an institution in Quebec, then a CAQ (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) will also be required for which a separate application online needs to be made.

The student visa application can be lodged by clicking here.

  • Click on ‘Continue to GC Key’
  • Click on ‘Sign Up’ > Click on ‘I accept’
  • Create a Unique Username for the student and click on ‘Continue’
  • Answer the questions as appropriate and click on ‘Next'
  • Upload required documents in the appropriate tabs as named for those files. All additional residual documents for which there is no specific tab may be uploaded under the tab ‘Client information’. Each file should not exceed 4Mb in size.
  • Enter the digital signature.
  • Click on ‘Transmit and Pay’ and make the visa application fee payment of CAD$ 150 and a Biometric fee of CAD$ 85 after which the application is submitted.

Step 6: Visa Outcome

Once you have submitted your visa application and only after completing the biometrics, your visa application will be reviewed. Once approved, the student will be issued a student visa.