SDS Visa: Streamlined Student Visa Process for Canada
PR & Visa

Your Go-To-Guide for Canada's Study Direct Stream Visa

Your Go-To-Guide for Canada's Study Direct Stream Visa

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The Canadian SDS visa, introduced for students of selected countries, allows for faster visa processing time and thus is increasingly being opted by students.

Aishwarya Bhatt
Updated on:  07 Mar 2024  | Reviewed By: 
| 14K | 5  min read

Studying in Canada has become easier with the introduction of the newly launched Study Direct Stream (SDS). Introduced in June 2018, the SDS visa was designed to allow for quicker processing times for qualified study permit applications. Let us discuss the Study direct stream in detail for all students aspiring to go to Canada for higher education.



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What is Study Direct Stream Program of Canada?

The Study direct stream program or the SDS program helps speed up the visa processing time for students who aspire to attend Canadian colleges and Universities for a Full-time degree. Currently aimed at students from India, Vietnam, China, and the Philippines, there are plans to extend the program to students from Kenya and Senegal as well. This program is meant for students who possess English or French language abilities.


Why Should You Apply for the SDS Visa?

Some of the benefits of applying for the SDS Visa are as follows:

  • list items The time taken to process the visa is considerably lesser.
  • list items The process of the SDS visa is streamlined and uniform for all participating institutes.
  • list items The number of financial documents required for this visa is less.
  • list items Students have a wider choice of Canadian universities and Institutions under the SDS visa program as all the major colleges/institutes are under the SDS visa Category.

What are the requirements for the SDS Visa for Canada?

  • list items Only students who are legal residents of the above countries can apply for this study visa for Canada. Students of these countries, who live abroad, are not eligible for this visa and can apply through the normal study permit program.
  • list items A letter of acceptance from a designated Canadian college or University
  • list items A score of at least 6 in IELTS for English or Niveaux de compétence Linguistique canadiens score of 7 for French (TEF)
  • list items Students applying for the SDS visa need to show proof that they have paid the tuition fees – to the college or university they have been accepted to - for the first academic year. Our education loans can help with that.
  • list items Before applying for the SDS visa, students also have to purchase a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000. Students can purchase these from Scotiabank, SBI Canada Bank, and ICICI Bank Canada. Our education loans can help with this too.
  • list items They also have to complete an upfront medical examination.
  • list items Submit other necessary forms and documents. The documents vary from country to country and depend on the country of residence.
  • list items According to the SDS rule, students who have scored more than 65% marks in 12th can apply for a student visa in Canada.

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What are the documents required for the Canada SDS Visa?

  • list items Copy of your acceptance letter from a college/institute/university
  • list items Copy of your upfront medical exam confirmation document
  • list items Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
  • list items Proof of the tuition fees paid for the first year of study
  • list items Proof of a score of the score of at least 6.0 in IELTS

How to apply for a Candian Student Visa through the Student Direct Stream?

There is no provision for paper applications for the Canada Student Direct Stream (SDS). Therefore, you must apply online for faster processing of the visa. Also include all the required documents along with your application.

Checklist Before Applying - 

  • list items Follow the visa officer instructions very carefully.
  • list items Have all the supporting documents with you.
  • list items You must be meeting the eligibility criteria before applying for the visa

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Some FAQs Related to SDS Visa

Q. If I apply to the SDS visa program, is it confirmed that I will get a Canadian study visa?
Ans. Well, the answer is No. Applying to the SDS visa does not mean that you are guaranteed to get a Canadian study visa. The SDS visa promises a faster processing time, and fewer documentation requirements for the study visa, but only if the student meets all the requirements mentioned above, will they be granted a visa.

Q. What if my SDS visa is declined?
Ans. In case your SDS visa is declined, you will be given a reason for it. Students can then address the reason and apply it through the regular-stream.

Q. Can I get the Canada student visa without IELTS under SDS?
Ans. No, the requirement of IELTS under Canada's SDS Program is a minimum of 6.0 with no band less than 6.0 in any of the modules.
Q. How long does a Canada study visa take in India?
Ans. Once you have the letter from the college, you must apply for the visa. There are several steps to apply for a Canadian visa. The visa application cycle might take around 3 to 4 weeks.
Q. Is there any age requirement Canada student visa SDS category?
Ans. No there is no upper age bar. You must be over 18 years old to apply for a Canadian SDS visa. 


Global Talent Stream

To give more teeth to the express entry program, the Canadian Government announced a GTS (Global Talent Stream) route in June 2017. This program is designed to provide an advantage to the job aspirants applying for Permanent Residency under the Express Entry Route (a points-based selection system for Canadian immigration). It will also help US-based Indians with STEM backgrounds for job opportunities. Now, the Canadian government plans to make the two-year project (GTS), a permanent scheme due to the labor force requirements and the calls made by the country’s burgeoning tech sector. GTS aims to speed up the application process and get it done within a matter of two weeks.

According to the statistics made available by the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, there has been an increase in the invites (41,000) issued to the Indians in 2018 with a 13 percent increase compared to 2017’s 36,310. The program aims to create 40, 000 new employment opportunities for the Canadian and Permanent Residents according to the reports. The strategy by companies to build diverse and innovative teams can be classified into two categories.

  • list items Category A indicates that a regional development agency should authenticate the sponsoring agency and must be looking to hire ‘unique and specialized talent.’
  • list items Category B requires the sponsoring agencies to illustrate their alacrity to fill the positions provided on the 'Global Talent Occupation List' and should hire highly-skilled international workers along with the specified wage requirements in both cases.


The SDS visa program is a great way to help aspiring students get their study visas processed faster. And now with GTS, the processing time will go down drastically. If you are a student aspiring to study at a Canadian institution and live in one of the eligible countries, do consider applying through the Study Direct Stream Visa - which is faster, easier, and more convenient.


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