SDS and Non SDS Visa |

India’s Most Trusted Study Abroad Platform certified by

star star star star
  • hand-pickedHand Picked Courses
  • dollarGet Scholarship Assistance
  • offerGet Offer in 15 Days*
  • coinFinance/Loan Assistance
Book a FREE Session

SDS and Non SDS Visa Canada Visa Applications 2024

Planning to study in Canada? Then, you might come across the terms SDS and Non SDS when learning the visa application process. SDS stands for Student Direct Stream and is only applicable to certain countries like India, China, Brazil, etc. While, non-SDS is a general visa application process suitable for candidates looking for temporary residency in Canada.
Now that you might have gained basic details on SDS and non-SDS for Canada visa applications. To know more, read on this blog!

What Is an SDS Visa? Requirements, Fees and Process

The SDS, or Student Direct Stream, is an initiative by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada to make the study visa process more efficient for overseas learners. Under this approach, student visa applications are processed quickly and directly within 20 days from the date of submission.
Also, to apply for an SDS visa, you must fill out the application online. Hence, it enables applicants to get their visas within 4-6 weeks.

Let's learn more about the SDS visa requirements and the process to apply online through the following sub-sections.

Also Read: Diploma Courses in Canada

Eligibility Criteria for SDS Canada

Like every visa subclass, the SDS Canada visa also comes with a set of requirements to process the applications quickly. Thus, candidates who are likely to fulfil those conditions and submit documents on time make the immigration officer's work much easier. So, let us see the SDS visa requirements one by one:

Learn the Requirements of an SDS Visa

1. Language Proficiency Test

  • Overseas students must submit proof of English Language test results of their IELTS exam.
  • For study purposes, students must take the IELTS Academic test.
  • While you need to score a minimum of 6.0 (UG course) and 6.5 bands (PG course) in each module of the IELTS Test: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. So, this is the basic SDS IELTS requirement for international students.
  • Lastly, a minimum score of 7 in Test d'Evaluation de Français (TEF) is a must for learning French. Meanwhile, this test is equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)

Also Read: Different Entrance Exams for Studying Abroad

2. Passport

  • To apply for an SDS visa, you need a valid and updated passport to kick start your Canadian journey.
  • After successful passport verification, you become eligible for Study Permit, Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), and more.

3. Identification Proof

The candidate has to submit additional ID proofs along with their passport. So, it can be an Aadhar Card, PAN Card, Voter ID, or Driving License.

4. Family Information Form [IMM 5645]

  • It is a document that depicts your full name, date of birth, marital status, and relationship to you.
  • So, the Canadian immigration officers will verify the complete information and grant the study permit based on the details provided.
  • Moreover, this data will be collected under the control of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

5. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

  • A GIC is an investment made by the Canadian government for overseas students. It holds their money of CAD 10,000 to manage living expenses while staying in Canada.
  • While students can get their GIC amount from SBI, Canara, ICICI, CIBC, and Scotia Bank.
  • Also, make sure to get the following papers from the bank:

i.Attestation Letter
ii. A GIC Certificate
iii. An Investment Balance Confirmation

These are the primary documents a candidate should hold when applying for an SDS visa. Some more documents include:

  • Tuition Fee Receipt
  • Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
  • Educational Documents such as Academic Transcripts
  • Experience Letters
  • Medical Examination Report
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Digital Picture

Also Read: What is SDS? How to Apply for SDS in 4 Easy Steps?

Process for SDS Visa Application

Here's a step-by-step guide to applying for SDS Canadian visa:

1. Firstly, visit the Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and fill out the SDS Visa application form IMM 1294.
2. Upload the scanned copies of all the required documents as mentioned above.
3. Then, pay the final fees. The fee is divided into - Application and Biometric fees. The application costs CAD 150 per person, while the biometric charge is CAD 85.
4. After completing payment, you will receive a link to your biometric request letter. Then, you have to provide your biometrics (fingerprints and pictures) against your application to be processed.
5. Wait for your biometric request to be accepted. Once it's done, you might need to go through medical exams and background verification.
6. After approval of your SDS Canada visa, you will receive a letter of introduction, a temporary resident visa, and an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada as an overseas student.

Also Read: In-depth Guide to the Canada Student Visa Application

Also, it’s advised to get assistance from an overseas agent before applying for the visa to ensure a successful and hassle-free processing. Further, let us go through the visa application fees for SDS.

SDS Visa Application Fee

The SDS Canada visa application fees is C$150 (INR 11,000). While you need to pay C$85 extra to submit your biometric. Hence, you must provide your biometrics and meet the eligibility for faster processing of your visa application. Get an idea of the SDS visa operating time via the next section.

SDS Visa Processing Time

Unlike the other visa processing that take up to 2-3 months, Canada SDS visa processing time is typically less. It allows students to avail their visa in just 4-6 weeks. Also, if a student meet every eligibility criteria beforehand are more likely to get their visas within 20 days.

Hope you got an idea of what SDS is and how to begin its application process. There is another type of visa available that can provide temporary entry to Canada. Let's learn about it via the next section!


Kickstart Your Canada Journey with SDS or Non SDS Visa Today With Learn About Eligibility, Requirements, and Fees to Apply for the Visa.

Book a Free Session

What Is Non-SDS Visa? Requirements, Fees and Process

Non SDS (Student Direct Stream) is a general category Canada visa. It allows temporary residence, study and work in the nation, thus inviting students across the world. It is suitable for candidates who have missed a chance to apply for an SDS permit. Thus, they can opt for a Non SDS visa and submit the application with all supportive documents. Further, non-SDS visa requires more documentation than SDS and it’s a lengthy process.

Moreover, you can either apply online or offline, with the relevant application and biometric fees. Want to know about this visa type more? Scroll down and read the sub-section that covers eligibility and the process to apply for a Non-SDS visa.

Requirements of Non-SDS Visa

Looking for the non SDS visa requirement? Here, you will get updated details on the same. Keep reading!
Mainly, the requirements of both SDS and non-SDS visas are almost the same. So, the documents needed are:

1. Language Proficiency Test:

  • The candidate should submit a language proficiency test result to study in Canada.
  • To study, an IELTS or TOEFL score would be accepted.
  • But for immigration purposes, the immigration team would only accept IELTS scores. So, it’s necessary to fulfil basic non SDS IELTS requirement to get trouble-free entry to Canada.

2. Passport:

  • The candidate would need a valid and updated passport to apply for a non-SDS visa.
    In case of an expired passport, make sure to renew it before applying for the visa.

Also Read: How to Find Best Part-time Jobs in Canada for Students?

3. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

  • Unlike SDS, in the case of a non-SDS visa, the GIC certificate is not mandatory.
  • Under non-SDS, the candidate can show any liquid funds proof to avoid GIC.
  • For instance, Income Tax Returns, Form - 16, J-Forms, GPF, and the Bank Statement can be liquid funds to illustrate that you're financially stable.

4. Family Information Form [IMM 5645]

Just like SDS, the candidate needs to create a family information form as a part of the application process.

5. Tuition Fee

  • Under this visa class, the candidate should submit the tuition fee for the first six months of their course to the university in Canada.
  • After payment, the applicant must hold-

i.The bank's receipt shows the complete payment of tuition fees.
ii. An official letter drafted by the institution regarding payment confirmation.

These are the mandatory documents one should hold when applying for a Non SDS visa. Some additional papers include:

  • Letter of Acceptance (LOA) or an Offer Letter from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) in Canada.
  • Academic Documents, such as 10th, 12th, UG, PG degree(s), etc.
  • Experience Documents, like Appointment Letters, Payslips, Relieving Letters, etc.
  • Recently Taken Medical Examination Report
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP) should enclose your objective to pursue a particular course and relevant experience in 1000-1500 words.
  • Digital Passport Size Picture

Looking to Apply for SDS and Non SDS Visa Canada?

Look no Further than Talk to Their Experts Today and Get Your Doubts Cleared Regarding SDS or Non SDS Visa With Top Experts.

Book a Session Now!

Process for Non-SDS Visa Application

Here's a step-by-step guide to understanding the Non-SDS visa Canada application process:

STEP 1: On the official website of Canada Immigration, create your account and generate a GCKey user ID and password. Further, accept all the terms & conditions and fill in the application form.

STEP 2: Begin your application and enter your personal reference code. If you aren't aware of the code, determine your eligibility by answering a few questions. At last, save your responses and exit the questionnaire.

STEP 3: Post that, you will receive a pop-up message that shows whether you're eligible for a non SDS visa or not. If qualify, let's follow the next step straight away!

STEP 4: Review your answers finally.

STEP 5: Upload all the required documents and check to ensure that nothing is missing.

STEP 6: Submit your application at last.

Non-SDS Visa Application Fee

Even though a non-SDS permit is just for 6 months, the cost of a visa application is similar to SDS, i.e. C$150. While the biometric fee is C$85. For more insights, you can visit IRCC's official website.

Non-SDS Visa Processing Time

Unlike SDS, Canada non SDS visa processing time takes several months until a final reply. Hence, the operating time for this visa permit can 90 days or more depending on the application submitted by the students.

Thus, to give a clear picture of SDS and non-SDS visa and which should you opt for, we've curated the next section distinguishing both visas.

Difference Between SDS and Non-SDS Visa

It's important to learn the difference between an SDS and non-SDS visa, to make the right decision for yourself. Here's the chart that shows the contrast between these visas:

Learn the Difference Between SDS and Non SDS Visa

Let's explore the English language requirements in brief for both SDS and non SDS visa Canada to prevent visa rejection. Scroll down and read the next section!

Language Score Required for SDS Visa

As per the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announcement, other than the IELTS exam, additional English tests will be accepted under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) visa program. The IELTS test has been accepted in SDS from the initial, and the best part is there was no change to the min required IELTS band 6.
Meanwhile, the overall SDS visa Canada permit English score requirements for academic tests are as follows:

IELTS Academic 6.0
Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) 60
Pearson Test of English (PTE) 60

According to Pearson, a PTE score of 60 is identical to an IELTS band score of 6.5-7.0. Thus, a higher band than PTE.

With this, let's move on to the next section and learn about the SDS and non SDS visa success rate such that you can make an informed decision at the earliest.

Also Read: Know the Cheapest City in Canada for International Students

SDS and Non-SDS Visa Success Rate

Here's the comparison of both Canadian visas. Check the following points:

  • The success rate for non-SDS visa applications is considerably lower than SDS.
  • The reason is SDS demands fewer documents compared to non-SDS.
  • Meanwhile, the SDS visa success rate was 71% in 2021, whereas it was 40% in the case of non-SDS. Thus, make a right choice before applying for a visa to Canada.

 Learn About the Canada Visa Approval Rate, 2022-23

Choosing between both visas can be confusing. To help you make an informed decision, we have prepared a section that provides a brief overview of both options. Thus, scroll down and read the following section.

Benefits of Choosing SDS Over Non-SDS

SDS vs non SDS Canada, which one is better? By now, you must have figured out a little that opting for an SDS would be a better choice. So, we've prepared these points to give you a clear picture.

  • Quicker Processing Time: As we know, SDS aims to process the visa application in just 4 weeks, compared to the regular processing of several months in the case of a non-SDS visa.
  • Less Documentation: GIC is mandatory in SDS visa processing and covers most of the information as asked by IRCC Canada. Hence, it reduces the burden on the applicant's side.
  • Online Visa Application: SDS application can only be done online, which means zero chances of missing documents. In contrast, non-SDS applications can be filled offline and this is a long process as well.
  • Financial Stability: Because of GIC, candidates must hold a CAD 10,000 balance in their bank account to meet the daily expenses while living in Canada.

After every knowledge of SDS vs non SDS Canada visas, one thing is still left. Where will you study in Canada? No idea, right? That's why we've curated the next section covering the same. Thus, read on and shortlist a suitable college for yourself.

SDS and Non SDS Colleges in Canada

Below mentioned are the top SDS and non-SDS universities in Canada:

SDS Colleges in Canada

There are a number of universities and colleges that reserve their seats for SDS visa holders. Thus, the top ones include:

University of Toronto #21

Located in: Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Masters in Computer Science
  • Masters in Data Science
  • Master of Social Work
  • MBA
  • BSc in Nursing

Average Fees / Year: CAD 50,000 - CAD 130,000

University of Waterloo #112

Located in: Waterloo, Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Masters in Management Engineering
  • Masters in Data Science
  • Masters in Computer Science
  • BA in Communication Studies
  • Master of Management Science

Average Fee / Year: CAD 40,000 - CAD 90,000

Seneca College #1572

Located in: Waterloo,Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Masters in Management Engineering
  • Masters in Data Science
  • Masters in Computer Science
  • BA in Communication Studies
  • Master of Management Science

Average Fee / Year: CAD 40,000 - CAD 90,000

Vanier College #4058

Located in: Toronto, Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Diploma in Accounting
  • Business Analytics
  • Chemical Engineering Technology
  • Liberal Arts
  • Public Relations

Average Fees / Year: CAD 15,000 - CAD 20,000

Columbia College #23

Located in: Vancouver

Popular Courses:

  • Diploma in Business Administration
  • Communication Studies
  • General Arts
  • General Science
  • Applied Science

Average Fee / Year: CAD 16,500 - CAD 33,000

Non-SDS Colleges in Canada

Top non-SDS universities in Canada are listed below:

University Canada West #123

Located in: Vancouver

Popular Courses:

  • Master’s of Business Administration
  • Associate of Arts
  • University Access Program

Average Fee / Year: CAD 7,000 - CAD 20,000

University of Windsor #641-650

Located in: Windsor, Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Honours Certificate in Electrical Engineering
  • Honours Certificate in Civil Engineering
  • Certificate in Applied Information Technology

Average Fee / Year: CAD 19,500 - CAD 40,000

York University #353

Located in: Toronto, Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Accounting
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Business Administration
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in CloudOps
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security Operations

Average Fee / Year: CAD 16,000 - CAD 20,000

King’s University College

Located in: London, Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Advanced Course in Aviation Medicine
  • King’s Product Management Career Accelerator
  • King’s UX Design Career Accelerator

Average Fee / Year: CAD 4,000 - CAD 10,000

Brock University

Located in: Ontario

Popular Courses:

  • Entertainment
  • Academics
  • Business
  • Sports

Average Fee / Year: CAD 20,000 - CAD 30,000

Also Read: Complete Guide for Availing Study Loan for Canada

In conclusion, the decision to choose between an SDS and non SDS visa entirely depends on whether you meet the eligibility criteria and provide the financial proof on time. Also, if you have any other queries regarding these visas, you can get in touch with our overseas experts at They will help you understand both visa processes in detail.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Time Does the SDS Visa Processing Take?

It takes 4-5 weeks for the processing of an SDS visa. Mostly, it gets processed within 20 days if applicants fulfil all the eligibility criteria.

Which Is Better, an SDS or a Non-SDS Visa?

An SDS visa takes less processing time than a non-SDS visa. Also, the non-SDS visa is mainly designed for short-term courses.

Is GIC Needed in Non-SDS Visa?

In the case of a Non-SDS visa, a Guaranteed Investment Certificate is not compulsory.

Need a Scholarship and Want to Avoid Long Visa Queues?

Hire 1 counsellor to solve all your study abroad problems till you reach your dream country

Pick a Course You Want to Pursue from World’s Best Country!

Study in Canada
View all comments
Kartik Sharma

Thanks for keeping us informed about visa options in Canada!

Neil Kapoor

Do SDS applicants have a higher likelihood of visa approval compared to Non-SDS applicants?


SDS applicants generally have a higher likelihood of visa approval compared to Non-SDS applicants due to streamlined processing and stricter eligibility requirements.

Nandini Das

Great resource for anyone considering studying or immigrating to Canada!

Rudra Verma

Do SDS applicants have a higher likelihood of visa approval compared to Non-SDS applicants?


SDS applicants generally have a higher likelihood of visa approval compared to Non-SDS applicants due to streamlined processing and stricter eligibility requirements.

Rohan Khanna

Feeling more confident about applying for a Canadian visa after reading this!