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News release

Faster study permit application option is now available in 7 Caribbean and Central and South American countries

July 9, 2021—Ottawa—As we emerge from the global pandemic in the months ahead, Canada’s International Student Program can play an important role in our economic recovery.

That is why, starting today, applicants will be able to apply for a study permit using the Student Direct Stream (SDS) if they live in:

  1. Antigua and Barbuda

  2. Brazil

  3. Colombia

  4. Costa Rica

  5. Peru

  6. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

  7. Trinidad and Tobago

The SDS was launched in 2018 as an option to support faster processing for eligible post-secondary students. Through the SDS, an applicant provides additional information up front, allowing officers to make a thorough assessment and final decision quickly.

With the additional countries announced today, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is now offering the SDS to students in a total of 14 countries. IRCC is committed to the continued expansion of the SDS in support of Canada’s International Education Strategy (2019–2024) and its goal of welcoming more international students from a broad range of source countries.

International students who are currently abroad and looking to begin or resume their studies in person soon will likely continue facing challenges in travelling to Canada, with ongoing reduced flight availability expected in the weeks and months ahead. Students must follow their designated learning institution’s COVID-19 readiness plan, including planning to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Students are required to submit quarantine and vaccination details using the ArriveCAN app before travelling to Canada. Those who meet Canada’s criteria as a fully vaccinated traveller can be exempted from the quarantine requirement by a border services officer upon entering Canada.


“Our country’s diverse and inclusive society, high quality educational institutions and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world. The global pandemic has caused disruptions and distress for everyone, including international students. By expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we have great optimism that international education will recover, and indeed flourish, as Canada emerges from the pandemic.” – The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

IRCC first launched the SDS for China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam in 2018; it was expanded to include Pakistan, Morocco and Senegal in 2019.

Nearly 16,000 study permits were issued in 2019 to applicants from the 7 new SDS countries, including about 10,000 from Brazil and 4,400 from Colombia.

Applicants who use the SDS provide results of English or French language tests, and proof that they have access to a student Guaranteed Investment Certificate with a minimum of $10,000 in it as additional evidence that they will be able to financially sustain themselves in Canada during their studies. They must also have completed an immigration medical exam and provided their biometrics before applying.

In 2018, international students accounted for more than $22 billion in spending in Canada, representing 17.4% of Canada’s total service exports that year.


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