Last week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) updated the Student Direct Stream (“SDS”) by adding seven new countries to the list of countries that are included as part of the stream. The new countries added to the stream are as follows:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Peru
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Other countries that were already part of the program include China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, and Vietnam. In order to be eligible to apply under this stream, you must be a legal resident of one of the listed countries.

What is the Student Direct Stream?

The SDS is an expedited processing stream for students who hail from the enumerated countries. It offers a way for prospective students to receive a study permit more quickly than they would through the normal study permit application process. The IRCC says that most SDS applications are processed within 20 calendar days of receipt of the application. However, they do concede that some applications may take longer than the 20 day period. If your application does not meet the SDS criteria, it will be reviewed as a regular study permit application.

In order to ensure faster processing, the IRCC recommends that you provide your biometric information as soon as possible and meet all the eligibility requirements for the application. The processing fee for the application is $150. The IRCC also reminds potential applicants that the SDS grants a study permit that is independent of a visa, and a study permit by itself does not permit the holder to enter Canada, as a would-be student may need a visitor visa or electronic travel authorization.

Eligibility for the Student Direct Stream

In order to be eligible for faster processing through the SDS, there are a number of requirements that applicants need to fulfill. You must:

  • be a legal resident of one of the countries listed above
  • have an acceptance letter from an accredited Canadian post-secondary designated learning institution
  • live outside of Canada when you apply
  • have proof you have paid your tuition for your first year of study (see more information below)
  • have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN $10,000 (see more information below)
  • have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (note this is only if you’re planning to study in Quebec)
  • get a medical exam before you apply (if required)
  • get a police certificate before you apply (if required)
  • have your most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)
  • successfully complete a language test demonstrating 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)

Depending on where you are applying from, the IRCC may request additional documents to supplement those required above. If additional documents are requested, such as a medical exam or police certificate, your application will take longer to process.

Proof of Tuition Payment

For proof of payment of tuition for the first year of study, the applicant can submit

  • A receipt from the Designated Learning Institution
  • An official letter from the Designated Learning Institution confirming payment of tuition fees
  • A receipt from a bank showing that tuition fees have been paid
  • proof that the tuition fee amount has been transferred into a repository account at the Designated Learning Institution to be applied to the tuition bill at a later date

Guaranteed Investment Certificate Requirement

In order to satisfy the GIC requirement, the bank that gives the GIC must:

  • confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you 1 of the following:
    • a letter of attestation
    • a GIC certificate
    • an Investment Directions Confirmation or
    • an Investment Balance Confirmation
  • hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you can’t access until you arrive in Canada
  • make you confirm your identity before they release any funds to you
  • release the funds to you by providing:
    • an initial lump sum once you identify yourself upon arrival in Canada
    • the remainder of the funds in monthly or bi-monthly installments over 10 to 12 months

If you complete all of these requirements, it will expedite the processing of your application. In order to apply under the SDS, you must apply online as there is no paper application. In addition to the $150 application fee, you should be prepared to pay the biometric fee if you are required to provide biometrics as part of your application. If you need to give biometrics, the IRCC will send you a letter detailing how to complete this process.

Overall, the expansion of the Student Direct Stream will make it easier for international students from diverse backgrounds to come to Canada to study. In the future, the stream could be expanded to include even more countries, so if you are not eligible right now, it is possible you will be in the future.

Contact Garson Immigration Law in Toronto for Experienced Legal Representation in Study Permit Applications

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application. 

The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about your potential classification as essential or about how you should comply with the changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

Contact Us

For all questions and inquiries, call or email us via our form below<

4950 Yonge St., # 302
Toronto, ON M2N 6K1

Fax: (416) 512-6107