Students Direct Stream (SDS)

Students applying for study permits from and are citizens of any of these countries:

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

may qualify for faster processing within 20 days if they apply through the Student Direct Stream. If you intend to apply for study permit via the SDS route, you may also be able to apply (and have faster processing) for your spouse or partner, and children’s visitor visa, work permit and study permit if you complete and submit their applications at the same time as yours.

One major requirement to apply through the Student Direct Stream is submitting a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) that shows you have an investment account with a balance of CAD $10,000 or higher. These are some of the eligibility requirements to meet in order to qualify for SDS:

  • live outside of Canada when you apply
  • Have a letter of acceptance from a DLI post-secondary institution in Canada.
  • Pay first year tuition
  • Have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000 CAD or above
  • Submit secondary or post-secondary educational transcripts
  • Show English or French language proficiency at a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark Level 7
  • Medical exam and police certificates
  • Have a most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)

The Immigration department may ask you for more supporting documents, which in most case you will have 30 days to make it available. It is important that you already gather all your documents prior to applying to avoid last minute rush.

What is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

A risk-free investment instrument called a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is provided by banks and other financial institutions in Canada. The bank guarantees your investment when you buy a GIC and pays interest on your principal for a predetermined amount of time (the maturity period), which is typically between 30 days and ten years. Your initial deposit of up to $100,000 CAD is risk-free since it is covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CIDC) or a provincial insurance firm. You would need to get one of the following from the bank that gives you GIC as part of the Student Direct Stream study permit application:

  • Confirmation of buying (a letter of attestation, or a GIC certificate, or 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

Not all banks offer GIC in the above countries, hence it is up to you to find out and ensure your bank offers GIC before applying for SDS. The financial institutions that may be able to help you with GIC can be found on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company Website 

These financial institutions offer GICs that meet the criteria listed above and you may choose any for your GIC

  • Bank of Beijing
  • Bank of China
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • China Everbright Bank
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • SBI Canada Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • Simplii Financial
  • TD Canada Trust

To access your funds when you arrive in Canada, you must visit your bank branch to verify your identity, confirm details of the personal account into which you want to deposit your GIC payments, and provide payment instructions for deposits.


Using a Canadian Bank for your GIC and opening a student bank account with same bank may be able to give you seamless transfers of your monthly payouts to your account.