What is Canada's Student
Direct Stream?

For many years, Canada has remained one of the most popular destinations for international students looking to study abroad. Besides the country’s high standard of living and the quality of education, part of Canada’s appeal is down to the post-study work options and pathways to permanent residency available to international students.

Before an international student can begin a course of study in Canada, they must first apply for a study permit. If you are a legal resident in certain countries, you may be able to get your study permit faster by applying under the Student Direct Stream.

What is the Student Direct Stream?

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an expedited stream for those who are applying to study in Canada at a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI).

Legal residents from the following countries are eligible to apply under the SDS:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

The SDS allows eligible applicants to get a decision within 20 days instead of the regular 10 – 16 weeks.

Eligibility requirements

As well as being a legal resident living in one of the above listed countries, you must also:

  • 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:

Who is not eligible for the Student Direct Stream?

If you do not live in one of the countries listed above (even if you are a citizen of one of these countries), you must apply through the regular study permit application process.

If you live in another country (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), or if you don’t meet the eligibility for faster processing, you may still be eligible for a study permit through the regular study permit application process.

How to apply for the Student Direct Stream

You must apply online for the Student Direct Stream – there is no paper application option. You must include all the required documents with your application.

Before you apply, make sure you have the following:

  • Instruction guide to help you fill out the forms
  • Scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents
  • Valid credit or debit card to make payment.

In most cases, you will need to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph). You will need to pay the biometric fee when you submit your application online.

Most Student Direct Stream applications are processed within 20 calendar days after you have submitted your biometrics. If your application doesn’t meet the eligibility for the Student Direct Stream, it will be reviewed as regular study permit and you won’t get faster processing.

Arriving in Canada

If your application is approved, you will receive:

  • A port of entry letter of introduction which you will need to show when you arrive in Canada.
  • An electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor (temporary resident) visa, depending on which you need to enter Canada.

When you arrive at the port of entry, an officer will make sure you meet the requirements to enter Canada. If there are no problems, the officer will then print your study permit and give it to you. Make sure you have all the documents you need to enter Canada with you.

Your study permit is normally valid until the end of your school program. If your passport expires before the end of your study program, your permit will only be valid until your passport expiry date. If this happens, you’ll need to apply to extend your study permit once you have a new passport.

Help with your application

If you want to study in Canada and require advice with the immigration process, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our global immigration team can assess your eligibility for the Student Direct Stream and provide support with your application. To find out more, please contact us today.

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