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Eh-MAZING Dreams Come True: Your Guide to Canada SDS Visa!


The student direct stream visa allows individuals from select countries to study in Canada if they meet the SDS IRCC requirements. It allows you to commit to a college more easily than if you were applying via the general category.

Since 2018, the approval rate for students applying via the general category has steadily declined. When you study the SDS IRCC requirements, you can see that the IRCC has been encouraging students to apply via the SDS visa category by improving its approval rate.

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The student direct stream visa allows individuals from select countries to study in Canada if they meet the SDS IRCC requirements. It allows you to commit to a college more easily than if you were applying via the general category.

Since 2018, the approval rate for students applying via the general category has steadily declined. When you study the SDS IRCC requirements, you can see that the IRCC has been encouraging students to apply via the SDS visa category by improving its approval rate.


If you’re a student looking to go abroad to study, you’ve probably thought of Canada more than once. Most people who go to Canada seem to want to settle there, and they’ve probably even told you that you should come too! Luckily, the SDS student visa allows you to take your studies there without much trouble.

Breathe easier with the Student Direct Stream Visa!

The SDS IRCC requirements have been more straightforward for those wishing to study in Canada. With an SDS visa success rate is much higher for students than the general visa, with around 60% of applications being approved through SDS immigration.

Here are some of the advantages of the student direct stream visa

So what makes the SDS visa better for students than other visas?

The SDS immigration process is applicable to students only and is not valid for working and/or living in Canada as a non-student. The application process is straightforward, and it is possible to attempt to change your status towards the end of your study period.

Non-SDS immigration visas, also called general category visas, allow you to study, work and live in Canada. The non-SDS visa requirements are more demanding, and the burden of documentation is higher.

Don’t miss out on your dream of studying in Canada! Secure your SDS Visa and kickstart your academic journey today.

Apply Here
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SDS Visa Requirements

Here is a list of documents and conditions that you need to comply with the IRCC’s SDS visa requirements.

  • Proof of an approved language proficiency test
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate for 10,000 Canadian Dollars
  • Proof of acceptance into a registered DLI
  • Proof of payment of first-year tuition fees with DLI
  • Post-secondary educational transcript
  • Medical Certificate (if required)
  • Police Certificate (if required)

  • Language proficiency testing
The new SDS IELTS requirement mandates a score of 6.0 on average across bands. This means that failing to achieve a 6.0 score in any one band no longer means you do not meet the SDS IELTS requirements. Additionally, the IELTS used to be the only accepted language exam in the SDS immigration process. Including more tests and the recent change to the SDS IELTS requirements, should boost the SDS visa success rate in the coming years. If you’ve been struggling to meet the SDS IELTS requirements, look into these newly approved tests you can take after August 10th, 2023 which might be more suited to your exam skills.
      • Pearson Test of English (PTE)
      • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
      • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
      • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)
The GIC is a secure investment certificate that is a part of the SDS IRCC requirements that shows that you can afford your stay in Canada and subsequent departure. It will be returned to you with a specified percentage of interest over the first year of your study in Canada. Several banks provide Canadian GICs as a service, which is crucial to meet your SDS visa requirements. Each bank also provides its fixed interest rate, and you can choose from different investment options to avail of the certificate.

  • First-Year Tuition Payment
Once you have been accepted into a college or university of your choice, you will need to make a payment for the first year of your education. Ensure you obtain a copy of the payment receipt from the institution, as this is a key part of your SDS immigration documents.

  • File a complete application with all proof
In most cases where an application is rejected, it is because an applicant has failed to meet the SDS visa requirements or fails to show proof for the same. There have also been many incidents of fraudulent documentation, which have dropped approval rates significantly.

  • Respect the conditions of your stay in Canada
Students have been deported, and their SDS visa renewals have been rejected for failing to meet the conditions of their stay in Canada. Breaking any rules, even accidentally, can mean the end of your Canadian experience

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Application Walkthrough: Preparing for and Submitting Your SDS Visa

1) Signing up to the IRCC portal

Visit and find the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Portal for designated learning institutions section of the website to enrol for an account and a GC key. This account will be the central point where you will send and receive communication from the IRCC.

You must answer the IRCC enrollment questionnaire question by question before submitting your enrollment application. You will also have to submit the required documents (ID proof) and electronically sign the application before submitting your application. You can also check what is SDS visa status on this portal while you wait for official communication.

2) Filing an SDS visa application

Once you have created the online account, you can apply for an SDS student visa through the portal dashboard. Along with submitting the required documents, you will have to pay the fee of C$150 (150 Canadian Dollars) for an SDS visa application. All the details of what is SDS visa and how to apply will also be available on the official portal.

3) Document submission

Ensure you have properly scanned copies of all relevant documents to upload them on the portal. If your documents are not in English or French, you must get them translated by a Canadian Certified Translator.Suppose it has been translated by someone other than a certified translator. In that case, they must provide a notarised affidavit that states they are qualified to translate and have accurately translated the document.

All documents must be validated as certified true copies by a government-approved notary public in your country.

Here is a list of applications that you will have to submit to the portals Integrated Management Module (IMM).

      1. Application For Study Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1294)
      2. Family Information (IMM 5707)
      3. Document Checklist (IMM 5483)
      4. Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409) – If your spouse/partner is coming with you
      5. Custodianship Declaration – In case a minor must be accompanied (IMM 5646)
      6. Use of a Representative (IMM 5476) – If someone is filing your applications for you
      7. Authorising form for a representative to release personal information (IMM 5475)

If a question is irrelevant to you, answer it with NA or not applicable unless it’s a middle or last name. Once you have submitted all relevant applications, you must wait for the student direct stream processing time.

Student Direct Stream Processing Time

There is a huge inflow of applications to the IRCC every year, impacting how long it takes to process your applications. Typically, the SDS visa is processed within 20 calendar days, but there can be differences based on seasonal factors.

This makes it all the more important to fill out your application carefully, as negligence can cause your application to be rejected since there may need more time to verify your application details thoroughly. Fill out the form clearly and submit clear, readable documents to ensure the application reviewer can easily cross-check all your documents.

To ensure you have not missed a mail from the IRCC, check the trash and spam folders regularly on your registered email account. You will receive a mail confirming the acceptance or rejection of your application.

Mastering the SDS Visa Interview

Once your application has been approved, you will have to take the SDS visa interview, determining whether your visa has been granted. In all immigration interviews based on a temporary visa, the most important factor the interviewer will attempt to verify is your intention to come back once the purpose of your visit is concluded. Your SDS visa is valid for up to 90 days after completing your study program. Here are a couple of questions you are likely to face in an interview and how you should go about answering them:

Q: Why do you want to study in Canada?

A: I have heard great things about Canada’s education system and believe it will set me on the right career path.

Q: How will you afford your living expenses in Canada?

A: My family will be supporting me, but I also plan to explore opportunities to work on and off campus as per the conditions of my stay in Canada. Even if you are looking for ways to stay in Canada long-term by transferring to the general category visas, refrain from mentioning this in your interview. You will have plenty of time to address this once you are in Canada. Demonstrating the intention to come back is crucial in the interview process.

Think you’re ready? Don’t waste any more time, then. Apply for your SDS Visa today!

Apply Here
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Key Takeaways

To summarise, here’s how the SDS visa makes your life as a student much easier.
  • Higher chance of approval
  • Student direct stream processing time is much lower
  • Visa also allows for some short-term work opportunities
  • Many reputed Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) to choose from
  • Opportunities to pursue PR and other long-term stay options post-education

Once you’ve made it to Canada and assimilated to the culture and way of life, you’ll be in a much better position to transition to a general category visa. The SDS visa lets you get there relatively hassle-free and plan your next move from ground zero.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is SDS Visa, and what are its benefits?
  2. The Student Direct Stream visa is an expedited student-only visa that allows residents of 14 different countries to study in any Designated Learning Institute (DLI) in Canada. The SDS visa success rate is much higher than other visas, and it is processed within 20 calendar days, with fewer financial documents required.

  3. What are the eligibility criteria for an SDS Visa?
  4. The SDS visa requirements are as follows:
    • Proof of a valid language test taken no more than 2 years before the date of the SDS application
    • Guaranteed Investment Certificate for 10,000 Canadian Dollars.
    • Letter of acceptance from DLI
    • Proof of full payment of first-year tuition with DLI
    • Medical examination certificate (if required)
    • Police certificate (if required)

  5. What are SDS and non-SDS visas?
  6. SDS visas or Student Direct Stream visas are expedited visas meant to make it easier for international students to pursue their higher studies in Canada. The SDS IIRC visa is only open to students from a pre-determined list of 14 countries. Non-SDS visas are for those who wish to study, work and live in Canada. The documentation requirements for this visa are more extensive, and it takes a long time to be processed and/or approved.

  7. What is the success rate for an SDS visa?
  8. According to a report from 2022, the SDS visa success rate was above 60%, much higher than non-SDS visas, which were just short of 20%. There is speculation that the approval rate is growing even higher since the majority of rejections tend to be because of poorly filed applications and fraudulent applications.

  9. Can I renew my SDS visa?
  10. The SDS visa is valid for the duration of your study term plus 90 days. If you wish to continue studying in Canada, you must apply for a new study permit. Suppose the duration of your SDS visa expires before you can apply. In that case, you will need to apply to restore your temporary residential status in Canada while meeting any prescribed conditions for your stay in Canada. Ensure you consider the student direct stream processing time when you are applying for renewal.
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