The Student Direct Stream (SDS) and the regular stream for study permit applications in Canada are two different pathways for international students who wish to study in Canada. The main differences between the two are related to the processing times, eligibility requirements, and the countries of residence of the applicants.
Who can apply?
You can apply if you are a legal resident living in one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam.
What are the eligibility requirements?
To be eligible for the SDS, you must:
- Have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary DLI.
- Live outside of Canada when you apply.
- Have proof you have paid your tuition for your first year of study.
- Have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000.
- Have an attestation of issuance of your Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) from the ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (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).
What happens after you apply?
After you apply, your application will be processed. If you meet all the requirements, you should receive a response within 20 calendar days. However, if additional documents are needed to support your application, the processing time may be longer.
Who isn’t eligible for the Student Direct Stream?
If you live anywhere other than one of the countries listed above (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), you must apply through the regular study permit application process.
Can you bring your spouse or partner and children with you to Canada?
Yes, your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children may also be able to get faster processing on a visitor visa, work permit, or study permit. You must complete and submit their applications at the same time as your own. If you don’t, their applications will not be processed faster.
- Processing Time: The processing time for the regular stream can be longer and varies depending on the country of residence of the applicant.
- Eligibility Requirements: The regular stream has less stringent requirements compared to the SDS. Applicants must demonstrate that they have been accepted to a designated learning institution in Canada, prove they have enough money to pay for tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation, and satisfy the officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay, among other requirements.
- Countries of Residence: The regular stream is open to all international students, regardless of their country of residence.
Here is a comparison table that outlines the differences between the Student Direct Stream (SDS) and the Regular Stream for study permit applications in Canada:
|Student Direct Stream (SDS)||Regular Stream|
|Processing Time||Most applications processed within 20 calendar days||Varies depending on the country of residence|
|Eligibility Requirements||More specific and stringent (e.g., proof of tuition payment for first year, GIC of CAN$10,000, language proficiency requirements)||Less stringent (e.g., proof of acceptance to a designated learning institution, proof of sufficient funds, intent to leave Canada at end of authorized stay)|
|Countries of Residence||Limited to residents of specific countries (e.g., India, China, Vietnam, Philippines, etc.)||Open to all international students|
Please note that while the SDS offers faster processing times, it has more stringent eligibility requirements and is only available to residents of specific countries. The Regular Stream, on the other hand, is open to all international students and has less stringent eligibility requirements, but the processing time can vary depending on the country of residence.