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Immigration Library™

Student Direct Stream (SDS)

International Experience Canada


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If you’re a legal resident of one of the following countries and applying for a post-secondary program, you may be able to get your study permit (➨Page) faster (usually within 20 calendar days) by applying online through the Student Direct Stream (➨

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

Ready to take the next step towards your Canadian immigration journey? Fill out the form below and embark on your path to new opportunities.



1- Proof of Acceptance

You must first obtain an acceptance letter from a post-secondary Designated Canadian educational institution (DLI) before applying for a Canadian study permit.

Note: It is important to note that not all programs of study qualify for post-graduation work permits (PGWP) (➨Page). Before applying, make sure that your program is eligible for a PGWP.

Exceptions: You do not need a letter of acceptance if you are a family member of someone who has a study permit or work permit application that has been approved in writing before coming to Canada.

2- Residence

You must live outside of Canada when you apply for a study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

3- Language Ability

You must provide valid test results taken within two (2) years and have obtained a minimum score of one of the following in all four language abilities (speaking, listening, reading and writing).

  • CAEL: overall score of 60
  • CELPIP General: CLB 7 for each ability
  • IELTS Academic: overall score of at least 6
  • IELTS General: CLB 7 for each ability
  • TCF Canada: CLB 7 for each ability
  • TCF Tout public: overall score of 400
  • TEF Canada: CLB 7 for each ability
  • TEF 5 épreuves: overall score of 400 (“Lexique/Structure” is not required for SDS)
  • TOEFL iBTL: overall score of at least 83
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic: overall score of 60

Note: Language exams must be taken in-person in order to be accepted for the SDS; online remotely-proctored examinations will not be accepted.

4- Financial Support - proof of a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC)

You must present evidence of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) amounting to $20,635 CAD or more, obtained from an approved bank that offers GIC.

The GIC must meet the following criteria:

  • Upon purchasing the GIC, the bank issues a letter of attestation, the GIC certificate, the confirmation of investment directions, or the confirmation of investment balance to the applicant.
  • The bank securely holds the funds within an investment account or a student account, with no accessibility for release to the applicant until their arrival in Canada.
  • Upon the applicant's entry into Canada, the bank is required to validate the client's identity before disbursing funds to the study permit holder.
  • The applicant is entitled to an initial disbursement once the bank has duly verified their identity. It is advisable for the remaining funds to be disbursed in monthly or bimonthly installments spread over a period of 10 to 12 months.

If you have family members accompanying you, you also need to prove that you meet the study permit financial requirements for each additional person (➨Appendix 9).

If you intend to study in Quebec, you must have an SDS-eligible GIC that meets the financial requirements outlined by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration for each person aged 18 and over (➨Appendix 9).

5- Payment of first year’s Tuition

Unless you plan to study in Quebec, you must pay and show proof of full payment of tuition for your first year of study. This evidence may come in the form of a receipt from the DLI, an official tuition payment confirmation letter from the DLI, a bank receipt confirming tuition fee payment to the DLI, or proof of funds deposited into a designated account at the DLI for future tuition bill settlement.

5- Previous Studies

You must provide educational transcripts for your most recent secondary or post-secondary education

6- Letter of Explanation

A letter of explanation or Statement of Purpose helps the visa officer to understand you and your goals. It explains why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student.

If the visa officer thinks you are just taking any program for the chance to come to Canada, they can refuse the application. A study permit is a temporary document. Temporary entry means you're in Canada for a limited time. If an officer believes you won't leave Canada at the end of your temporary stay, your application can be refused. Even if you plan to apply for your PGWP and PR in the future, your application should only address the current permit you are applying.

It's crucial to show that you have a plan and concrete ties to your home country that will enable you to return. You can demonstrate your intention to return in the following ways:

  • Proof of property ownership
  • Family members who depend on you for support
  • Community ties
  • Financial obligations
  • Job offer or letters of support from employers indicating you will return to work.

Indicate in your letter clearly if your intention is to remain in Canada and apply for PGWP and PR. Remember that the PGWP is not a guarantee, so at this point you can say that you'll apply for the PGWP after finishing your program, and if it's approved, you'll look for employment in your field to gain more experience to advance your career.

7- Quebec Acceptance Certificate (study in Quebec)

If you intend to study in Quebec for a period of time longer than six (6) months, you require a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) issued by the Gouvernement du Québec. You can apply for your study permit when your CAQ is approved. an Attestation of issuance of your CAQ for studies will be uploaded to your online file. You must use this document to submit your study permit application to the federal government

Ready to take the next step towards your Canadian immigration journey? Fill out the form below and embark on your path to new opportunities.



Step 1: Apply to School

The first thing you need to do to get a letter of acceptance is to submit a complete application to the post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) of your choice.

To be approved you must meet general admission requirements for the program you are applying to. In addition you may need to prove specific subject prerequisites, or submit a personal profile or statement of interest as part of an application to study at a post-secondary institution.

Once you choose a college or university, you must apply to go there. Every school has different rules on how to apply.

Contact the school where you want to study to learn how to apply. Visit their website and complete an application form. It is often the case that an institution’s website will direct you to the appropriate form depending on your situation. Most institutions have a separate application form for international students.

They’ll give you the list of all the documents you need to send them, the cost to apply, tuition fees, health insurance, rent and how much it costs to live in Canada, language tests, etc.

If the school admits you as a student, they will send you an acceptance letter. You need this letter to apply for a study permit.

Prerequisite courses

Students undergoing a prerequisite course or bridging program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) before commencing their primary program can potentially qualify for SDS, assuming they satisfy all the program's eligibility criteria.

Step 2: Get Quebec Acceptance Certificate (for Study in Quebec)

Studying in Quebec (for more than 6 months) requires an additional step in the process. You will have to apply for a “Certificat d'Acceptation du Quebec (CAQ)” (➨ It is only after approval of your CAQ that you can apply for the Study Permit.

To obtain a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies, you must submit an application for temporary selection for studies online. (➨

CAQ Application
Apply Online:
Official Program Guide:
Quebec Application Fee:
Main applicant: $128
Processing Time:
Document Checklist:

Tel: 514-864-9191

Fax: 514-864-8158 questions)

Step 3: Apply for a Study Permit

If you’re a legal resident of one of the following countries and applying for a post-secondary program, you may be able to get your study permit faster by applying online through the Student Direct Stream.

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

With your acceptance letter in hand, you are now ready to apply for your study permit. You should apply for a study permit before coming to Canada from one of the countries listed above. There’s no paper application for the Student Direct Stream.

Note: For post-secondary students applying from outside Canada, starting December 1, 2023, your educational institution will be required to authenticate the legitimacy of your letter of acceptance. Prior to submitting your application, ensure your school respond to IRCC and confirms the validation of your letter of acceptance. If your school fail to respond within the stipulated time, your application will be returned.

Validity of Study Permit

A study permit is usually valid for the length of your study program, plus an extra 90 days.

If you have conditional acceptance, your study permit will be valid for the length of the prerequisite courses, plus 1 year. When you get accepted into the main program, you must then apply to extend your stay as a student (➨

If you don’t finish your courses before the date on your permit, you must apply to extend your stay as a student.

If you don’t, you’ll need to stop studying and leave Canada. If you finish your studies early, your permit will stop being valid 90 days after you complete your studies, no matter what day is printed on the study permit.

Study Permit
Submit Online Application
Official Program Guide:

In Canada:

Outside Canada:

IRCC Application Fees:
Applicant: $150
Biometrics: $85
Processing Time:
Document Checklist:

1-888-242-2100 (in Canada)

1-613-944-4000 (outside Canada)

Web Form:

Visa Office:

Step 4: Get your fingerprint and photo taken (Biometrics)

You and any members of your family between 14 and 79 years old need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics). You only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application for a visitor visa, work or study permit and they’re still valid, you don’t need to give them again.

You will be contacted to give your biometrics and you will have 30 days from the date on the letter to do it.
In order to give biometrics you need to go to an official biometrics collection service point. You must give your biometrics in person.

Before you go, check the location’s website for its services and fees at (➨

If you’re applying for your study permit, you will automatically be given a visa or eTA if you need one. If you already have a study permit, make sure that your visitor visa is still valid if you choose to leave Canada and re-enter. If you need an eTA and you’re flying to a Canadian airport, make sure you travel with the passport that’s electronically linked to your eTA. You must travel with your valid study permit, a valid passport and travel document.

If you’re eligible to study without a permit, you’re considered a visitor to Canada. You must meet the entry requirements for travelers from your country of citizenship.

Step 5: Arrival with Study Permit

If your application is approved, you’ll get a letter that says you’re allowed to study in Canada. Bring this letter with you when you travel to Canada. You’ll get your study permit when you arrive in Canada.

The study permit will outline:
  • If you’re allowed to work in Canada
  • If you’re allowed to travel within Canada
  • The specific date you must leave Canada
  • Where you can study (a specific DLI listed on your permit)
  • how long you can study in Canada

If you’re eligible to apply from within Canada, the study permit will be mailed to your Canadian address.

Ready to take the next step towards your Canadian immigration journey? Fill out the form below and embark on your path to new opportunities.






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