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Everything You Need to Know About SDS Canada 2024 Updates

Canada is a great destination to study and tour. It is one of the most common choices for aspirants to study abroad. However, visa processing in Canada has become longer and tiring for students. SDS Canada is a measure to make visa processing easier for foreign students. This blog states who can and cannot apply for SDS. You will also learn what to do after applying for SDS.
You might wonder, "What is SDS?" Let us start by knowing about SDS and why it exists.

Introduction to SDS Canada

The SDS full form is the Student Direct Stream program. In 2018, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) launched SDS. It intends to help with the student visa process by making it less challenging for scholars. For every degree level, we have seen a rise in the number of applicants. SDS IELTS requirement is also not very burdensome.
The following are the countries where SDS in Canada is valid.

Countries Where SDS is Valid

Countries Where SDS Canada is Valid
These are the various nations where SDS Canada is valid. Now, let us talk about the benefits of SDS in Canada.

Benefits of SDS Canada

There are several advantages to getting a Canadian SDS visa. A few of them are in the list below:
1. Faster Visa Processing
2. Increased Success Rates

1. Faster Visa Processing

Firstly, the student visa process to study in Canada without SDS was very long. The regular Canadian study visa process takes months, while the SDS in Canada visa process takes only 20 days.

2. Increased Success Rates

Secondly, there is a significantly higher chance of selection with the SDS visa. However, the rejection rate as of now is higher than before and so is the number of applicants. The eligibility criteria of SDS filter out the students and reduce the rejection rate.

These are the two main benefits of applying for a study visa through SDS Canada. The next section will discuss the eligibility criteria for the same.


Wish to Apply for a Canadian Study Visa? has experts to advice you on every step of your study abroad journey. Be it interview scheduling, documentation or post arrival benefits. Book a FREE session with us NOW!

Eligibility Criteria for SDS Canada

SDS has a bit of strict eligibility criteria. The following pointers will explain to you what you need to apply for an SDS visa:

  • Firstly, you should belong to one of the countries mentioned in the list above.
  • Secondly, you must have an offer letter from a recognized university.
  • Thirdly, the SDS permit requires you to have paid the 1st year tuition fee.
  • Fourthly, get a certificate from a medical examiner and get a police verification done.
  • Fifthly, you must have all the academic records. These must be official and credible.
  • Lastly, you must have English language skills.

Language Requirements to Obtain SDS Canada Visa

Canadian language benchmarks (CLB) is a standard scale. TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, and other exam scores convert into CLB. It uses a scale of 1 to 12. Refer to the table for SDS Canada English language requirements: Prepare for IELTS to study in Canada.

These are the various requirements to get an SDS in Canada visa. Now, let us see how you can apply for an SDS. SDS IELTS requirement is not different for the general and academic category.
Suggested Read: Prepare for IELTS at Home!

How to Apply for SDS Canada?

The application process for studying abroad through SDS is similar to a regular visa. Take note of the steps below to get a better idea: Application process for SDS Canada 2024

1) Firstly, fill up the IMM 1294 form on the official website of IRCC.
2) Secondly, scan and upload your documents like academic records and ID proofs.
3) Thirdly, use an online payment method to pay the application fee. CAD 150 is for the application and CAD 85 is for the biometrics.
4) Furthermore, you will have to provide a fingerprint biometric and a recent photograph. Make sure you meet all the IRCC SDS requirements and then submit the application.
5) Lastly, get your medical examination certificates and receive your eTA. It stands for Electronic Travel Authorization.

Additional Points to Remember

1. If you wish to study in a college situated in the Quebec province, get CAQ. It stands for Certificate of Acceptance, Quebec. You can get it from the Ministry of Immigration.

2. Secondly, scholars must get a GIC of $10,000 from a Canadian bank. The GIC stands for Guaranteed Investment of Certificate. Make sure to choose a bank insured by CDIC or the one listed on the IRCC SDS website.
The next section sheds light on how you can get a GIC and where.

How to Get a Guaranteed Investment Certificate(GIC)?

It is a short-term investment offered by a Canadian bank. Showing proof of this investment during the SDS Canada application is compulsory. It works as a backup to fund your abroad studies. It is one of the main IRCC SDS requirements. The following are the financial institutions that offer GIC:
1) ICICI Bank
2) SBI Canada Bank
3) RBC Bank
4) Scotia Bank
5) Bank of China
6) Bank of Beijing
7) HSBC Bank
These are the details you need to know on GIC. Now, let us move onto the documents you would need to apply for a Canadian visa.

Documents Required for SDS Visa Application 2024

You would require the following documents to proceed with the application process:

  1. A copy of your offer letter from a DLI institute.
  2. Academic Records of the Previous Degree.
  3. Proof of GIC of CAD 10,000
  4. A copy of the medical certificate
  5. Get proof of paid tuition fee for one year.
  6. Proof of English Language skill test scores
  7. They might also ask for a family information form.

What to Do After Applying for SDS Canada?

The application has to meet the standards of SDS Canada. Only then, your study abroad visa application through SDS will be valid. These conditions are in the sections above. If your visa application gets approval, you will receive:
1. A letter of introduction. You have to show it at the port of entry while entering Canada.
2. Based on your application, you will either get an eTA or a visitor visa (as a temporary resident).
This is how the visa process is completed and you get to study in Canada. Read the next section to know the success rates of SDS in Canada. There is a significant difference between regular and SDS applications. Also, searching SDS full form is better during browsing to get apt results.

SDS Approval Rates By Study Level

The SDS in Canada was introduced in 2018. However, we saw an increase in the number of applicants through SDS in 2019 itself. The more the students became aware, the more they applied via SDS. More students started meeting the SDS Canada requirements In 2019, 57% of the total applications shifted to SDS. In 2021, the number reached 71%. It reached 80% in 2022.
Refer to the graph below to understand the equation of success rate of student direct stream by degree levels: SDS Canada Approval Rates by degree

The graph above shows how the visa approval rate of SDS visa applicants in 2020 was more than 60%! However, the regular visa approval rate was below that.
It is also because the SDS Canada visa is exclusively for students. The regular ones also include the number of workers and visitors.
These are the various figures on approval rates of SDS study visa applicants. Now, let us move forward and read about the differences between a regular visa and an SDS visa.

SDS Vs Non SDS Applications

There are many differences between these two types of visa applications. SDS is the one only for students who wish to study in Canada. The table below will help you learn about student direct stream vs regular stream better:

Only online applications are accepted.

IRCC requires 6 bands in each IELTS section. For both general and academic IELTS. The visa protocols do not mention any IELTS requirement. However, students need an offer letter.
Visa processing time is around 20 days for most of the cases. It takes at least 7 weeks to process a regular Canadian visa.
SDS applicants must have a medical certificate from a trained physician. Generally, no medical examination is required.
The SDS program is open for students of 14 different countries only. The regular visa applications allow citizens of all countries.
It is available only for study permit.  For visiting, working, and studying or immigration.
GIC of $10,000 or more is compulsory to have. It is not compulsory to have GIC.
Both online and offline applications are accepted.
The success rate is higher. The success rate is lower due to being a common ground for all applications.

These are the main differences between SDS and Non-SDS applications. Students of the SDS category get a lot of benefits. Take a look at the next section to learn about the updates. To read more about the differences and their impact on your Canada journey visit: SDS Vs Non SDS, which is better?

Recent Updates on SDS Canada Visa Application

In 2023, the most recent update about SDS in Canada was in the news. It was that there would be additional English tests accepted from August month of the same year. Moreover, these added tests were :
1) Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
2) Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Test
To sum up, these are all the details you need to know about SDS Canada. The above mentioned developments in 2023 are small but significant. However, do you know what else is as significant? To submit a visa application timely which is free of errors. can help you with documentation and applying for a visa. Moreover, you also get to prevent long visa queues as experts schedule your interview. A Canadian study visa can take you a long way. In addition to that, you can always connect for post arrival services with an expert. To confirm all your doubts regarding studying abroad, book a free session on their website, now!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the Student Direct Stream in Canada?

The student direct stream Canada is the Canadian student visa facility for 14 countries. It offers faster visa processing which is around 20 days in most cases. India, Pakistan, China, and Morocco are a few of those countries.

Q2. Does SDS Canada Require IELTS?

The student direct stream in Canada requires a student to know English. They can provide IELTS score or take any other test. The list of accepted tests is:

  • PTE
  • CAEL

Q3. Can SDS be Rejected?

SDS has a lower rejection rate as compared to regular visas in Canada. However, if the students do not meet the eligibility criteria in any way their application might get rejection.

View all comments
Saanvi Reddy

This update on SDS Canada is exactly what I needed to plan my study abroad journey!

Reyansh Gupta

Can students still apply for SDS Canada if they don't meet all the eligibility requirements?


No, students must meet all eligibility requirements to apply for SDS Canada.

Mehak Kapoor

Thank you for providing such a comprehensive overview of SDS Canada and its updates for 2024!