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June 8, 2018 – Markham, ON – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is making great strides in promoting Canada as a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education by finding efficient ways to process applications.

To support the growth in study permit applications, IRCC today announces the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which is available to students applying for a study permit from China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. Students from those countries who demonstrate upfront that they have the financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada will benefit from faster processing times.

Similar programs have been in place in these 4 countries for a few years. We are aligning them together into 1 program to ensure consistency.

We are also working on expanding SDS to Africa and are looking at options in Kenya and Senegal. Expansion to Senegal would be in line with the department’s focus to attract more French-speaking students to Canada.

To qualify for SDS, applicants need to meet additional requirements, in particular language levels that are stricter than regular study permit requirements. Students who do not have all of the additional information required for SDS can apply through the regular study permit application process, either online or at a Visa Application Centre.

The SDS complements the Express Entry system as these students will be well placed to continue on the path to permanent residence and Canadian citizenship after completing their studies in Canada, if they wish to.

IRCC is committed to finding ways to improve its International Student Program by making its services faster, easier and more accessible. The success of the SDS program will be evaluated with the intention to expand the program in 2019.

Who can apply

You can apply if you’re a legal resident in:

  1. China

  2. India

  3. the Philippines, or

  4. Vietnam

If you live in another country (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), you have to apply through the regular study permit application process.

Documents you need for your application

You must include these documents with your application:

  1. a copy of your acceptance letter from a designated learning institution

  2. a copy of your upfront medical exam confirmation document

  3. proof that you have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000

  4. proof that you’ve paid the tuition fees for your first year of study, and

  5. proof that you graduated from a Canadian curriculum high school or a language test form showing a

  6. score of at least 6 for English (International English Language Testing System), or

  7. Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens score of at least 7 for French (Test d’évaluation de français)

After you apply

If your application is complete, we can start reviewing it right away.

If your application meets the regular study permit criteria but not the Student Direct Stream criteria, we’ll review your application as a regular study permit but you won’t get faster processing.

Find out how long it’ll take to process a regular study permit application.

If IRCC approves your application

IRCC will send you:

  1. You need to show this letter to the immigration official when you arrive in Canada. It is not your study permit.

  2. a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada

  3. The visa will be in your passport. You must enter Canada before it expires.

Your study permit is valid until the end of your school program.

If IRCC refuses your application

IRCC will send you a letter explaining why you were refused. If you have questions about why you were refused, contact the visa office that sent the refusal letter.


Please contact us to receive more information about Study Permits:

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