Student Direct Stream Canada: SDS (SPP) Requirements for Student Visa


Sristy Sharma
Updated on Jun 12, 2023 10:22 PM IST

If you are an Indian International student to Canada then you have a special alternative of SDS or SPP Visa available for yopu. We have prepared a guide of all the requirements and documents you need to fulfill and submit in order to get the Student Visa under SDS or SPP scheme. Read below to find out in detail.

Student Direct Stream Canada: SDS (SPP) Requirements for Student Visa

SDS or SPP Requirements for Canada Student Visa: Aspiring for Canada's gateway to higher education? If you are an Indian student looking to study in Canada, the SDS (Student Direct Stream) or SPP (Student Partners Programme) is your ticket to a simplified and speedy visa application procedure. These programmes are specially designed to reduce the number of visa procedures for Indian students and provide a speedier path to studying in Canada.

The SDS or SPP requirements for Canada student visa include proof of admission from a designated learning institution (DLI), adequate means to cover tuition fees and living expenses, a valid passport, and English language ability. As part of the financial requirements, students must also produce proof of physical assessment and obtain a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

By meeting these conditions, you will not only have your visa application processed faster, but you will also have access to a world-class education system, intercultural experiences, and outstanding employment prospects. Prepare for an exciting academic journey in the company of renowned teachers, cutting-edge research facilities, and a thriving student community.

Begin your educational adventure with SDS or SPP and open the doors to a revolutionary learning experience that will change your future in extraordinary ways. Let us shed some more light on SDS or SSP requirements for Canadian student visa for international students in this article!

What is SDS Canada Visa Programme?

With the introduction of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada's Study Direct Stream (SDS) programme, Indian students who wish to enrol in Canadian colleges and universities may now anticipate expedited visa processing. Students from India can obtain their visas through SDS in 4-6 weeks, as opposed to the typical visa application procedure, which could take up to 2-3 months. Most applications submitted through SDS by students who match the requirements are processed in under 20 days. SDS is a substitute for the previous SPP programme and has more strict requirements to meet. However, it may be quite helpful for individuals who fit the requirements since it facilitates quick visa processing for SDS-eligible DLI institutions and necessitates less financial evidence.

Note: In India, the Student Partners Programme (SPP) has recently been superseded by the Student Direct Stream (SDS) programme.

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Before we move ahead in knowing about the SDS or SPP requirements for a Canada student visa, we need to understand a little about the Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). 

What is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)? 

To apply for a study permit, you must obtain an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution or DLI, which is a school that has been approved by a province or territory government to admit overseas students. Except for those excluded from the list, all of Canada's elementary and secondary schools are recognised learning institutions. If your present college’s DLI status is revoked while you are studying, you are authorised to continue until the expiration of your study permit. In some cases, though, you may need to apply to a new DLI.

SDS Canada Visa Programme Eligibility Criteria 

To apply for a study permit through SDS, you must meet specific requirements, such as:

  • Acceptance from a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI).

  • Tuition for your first year of study has been paid.

  • CAD10,000 GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate).

  • Minimum IELTS test score of 6 with no band less than 6 or TEF (Test d'évaluation de français - French language proficiency exam) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

SDS Canada Visa Programme Document Checklist Criteria

If you meet the SDS or SSP requirements for a Canada student visa, you must submit the following documents:

  • Acceptance letter from a DLI.

  • Proof of tuition payment for your first year of study.

  • Proof of payment for a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

  • TRF or TEF scorecard for IELTS.

  • A copy of your medical exam from an accredited panel of doctors.

  • Relevant academic background, including any academic documents.

  • CAQ is an additional prerequisite for students planning to study in Quebec.

SDS Visa application criteria are organised differently from SPP requirements, however, they are influenced solely by SPP requirements. The requirements under SDS can be divided into two categories:

  • Eligibility Documents 

  • Additional Documents 

The documents and other requirements have been described in the following sections in detail:

Eligibility Documents

Eligibility Documents are the one which needs to be satisfied as per the conditions set by the SDS supervisory authorities.


As is required the candidate applying for the SDS Visa is required to have a valid passport issued by their home nation as an authorizing and citizenship-proving document. Although having a valid passport might seem like obvious information, however, there is a certain technicality which governs the validity. Any passport shall be considered valid for the purposes of SDS Visa application when the expiry of the passport doesn't fall anytime during the course duration. The need to extend the passport must be completed before applying for an SDS Visa.

Acceptance Letter

Designated Learning Institute (DLI) are those institutions which have been authorized as a part of the collaborative effort of SDS to offer their Indian students an option to own SDS Visa. In order to be considered eligible to apply for SDS Visa only applying for DLIs is not enough, the Visa applicant also needs to own an acceptance letter from such DLI. This is due to the limited and special authorisation of the SDS Visa and therefore the compulsory pre-acceptance requirement of the candidate.

Language Proficiency Test Scores

Even though an Acceptance Letter from an applied DLI indicates that the candidate must have satisfied the English Language Proficiency Test Score requirements of that DLI for the chosen course program, however, to be considered eligible for SDS Visa there are additional requirements of immigration authorities and these need to be satisfied by the candidate.

  • The English Language Proficiency Test whose scores are being used for application must have been authorized under the SDS program.

  • IELTS Academic and IELTS General both are considered valid under the SDS program.

  • The minimum score in each section (Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening) must be 6.0 bands.

Tuition Fees

The course program for which the applicant has been accepted by the DLI needs to be funded for the first year fully. The holder of an SDS Visa enjoys certain privileges right from proving their eligibility to the expiry and in order to earn these the financial security of tuition fees is considered as mandatory. Hence, the first-year tuition fees need to be paid in full by the candidate before applying for SDS Visa.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

GIC is a deposit scheme, under which the SDS Visa applicant has to apply for the scheme with a bank offering and deposit a minimum amount of CAD 10,000. This amount is remitted to the student as they arrive in the country as CAD 2,000, and the rest over the period of 12 months in equal instalments (CAD 667).

The banks which provide GIC services are SBI, ICICI, NOVA SCOTIA and CIBC. The regularized amount helps in creating confidence and a feeling of security among the students.

Additional Documents

Additional Documents are those which have to be submitted by the candidate in the SDS Visa application but they do not have inherent eligibility conditions which are required to be met.

Academic Transcripts

All the academic transcripts up to proving the status of a candidate's qualification status up till getting accepted in DLI or applying for an SDS Visa, whichever is latest, have to be submitted by the applying candidate.

Even the documents for co-curricular diplomas or certificate courses are demanded and accepted by the immigration authorities.


SOP is a standard document when applying for the DLI or any foreign institutes for that matter, but a different SOP has to be filed along with Visa application documents. This is known as Visa SOP, and while it has to be filed irrespective of SDS or non-SDS Visa application.

Visa SOP is different from application SOP, the format and rules are the same, however, the representation is made in relation to immigratory intent and not academic intent.

Medical Examination

A full body checkup is required to be conducted on the applying candidate in order to ensure and detect the medical status of the candidate. Though the medical examination is conducted as a security and assurance, some cases might have implications on the security amount or GIC amount.

Digital Transcripts

The scanned copies of all the documents are required to be submitted and the digital transcripts of the following are required to be included in the application;

  • Digital Photograph with 35X45 dimensions and 80% zoom white background.

  • Digital Signature

SDS Application Process 

Now that we have a detailed list of SDS or SPP requirements for a Canada student visa, here are the steps involved in the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Canada application process that aspiring students need to follow:

  • Check Your Eligibility: First, make sure you satisfy the eligibility requirements for the SDS Canada programme. A legal resident of one of the qualified nations, which presently include China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, is required. You must also have an admission letter from a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI), confirmation of tuition payment, and a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

  • Gather Required Documents: Gather all of the required documents as listed above for your application. A valid passport, recent pictures, an admission letter from a DLI, evidence of tuition payment, a GIC certificate, language proficiency test results (such as IELTS or TOEFL), and a completed study visa application form are normally required.

  • Online Application Submission: For visa application submission, create an account on the official Government of Canada website. Fill out the study permit application form completely and properly, making sure that all information is valid.

  • Collection of Biometric Information: Make an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to give your biometric information, which includes fingerprints and a digital image. This stage is required for all candidates.

  • Medical Exam: In some situations, you may be required to get a medical examination. Check the official website to see if this is a necessity for you, and then follow the steps.

  • Pay the Fees: Pay the application fees, which usually include the study permit application fee and the biometrics charge. Payment can be done online or at the payment places stated in the application procedure.

  • Application Processing: Once you have filed your application, Canadian immigration officials will evaluate it. Because processing periods might vary, it is best to check the official website for the most up-to-date processing times.

  • Decision and Visa Issuance: After your application is processed, you will get a decision on your study permit. If your application is accepted, you will be given a letter of introduction, which you must submit when you arrive in Canada to secure your study visa.

  • Travel to Canada: Make travel plans to Canada, ensuring you have all relevant documentation, such as a valid passport, letter of introduction, and proof of financial means. Present these documents to the immigration officer who will grant your study permit when you arrive in Canada.

Note: It should be noted that the application procedure and requirements are subject to change. As a result, it is advised to visit the official Government of Canada website frequently or to speak to CollegeDekho counsellors for the most up-to-date information and assistance.

What is Non-SDS Canada Scheme for Indian Students? 

Non-Student Direct Stream Canada or Non-SDS Canada is an alternate method for Indian students to apply for a study permit in Canada. The Non-SDS scheme follows the usual study permit application procedure, as opposed to the SDS programme, which offers accelerated processing for eligible students.

Indian students are expected to submit their study permit applications through the usual routes under the Non-SDS Canada programme. This includes meeting the general requirements established by Canadian immigration authorities, such as providing proof of acceptance from a designated learning institution (DLI), demonstrating sufficient financial resources to cover tuition and living expenses, and demonstrating proficiency in English or French.

While processing periods for Non-SDS applications vary, this option allows students to apply without having to meet strict financial or linguistic requirements connected with SDS. However, satisfying the basic eligibility criteria and producing proper documents remain essential for a successful study visa application.

Based on their unique circumstances and interests, Indian students contemplating studying in Canada can select between the SDS and Non-SDS programmes. It is suggested that you thoroughly research the criteria and get personalised advice from the respective educational institutions or immigration counsellors.

Finally, Indian students who want to study in Canada might do so by meeting the SDS requirements for a Canada student visa. A world-class education in Canada awaits those who satisfy the qualifying criteria, acquire the appropriate documentation, and meticulously complete the application procedure. Accept the opportunity to immerse yourself in a multicultural atmosphere, learn vital skills, and pave the way for a bright future. Prepare to start on an exciting academic adventure that will shape the rest of your life.

We at Collegedekho are always ready to help you and hence you can register on our website or write to us

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Can I get Canadian permanent residence through the SDS programme?

If international students wish to stay in Canada, Canada makes it simple for them to become permanent citizens. The Post-Graduate Work Permit permits overseas students to stay and work in Canada for up to three years after they graduate. International graduates may be able to seek permanent residency (PR) after working in Canada for one year. 

How can I apply to Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS)?

SDS exclusively accepts online applications for study permits. This instruction manual might assist you in filling out the appropriate documents. 

You will also require:

  • To provide electronic copies of your papers, you will need a scanner or a camera.

  • To make a payment, you must use a credit or debit card.

Keep in mind that a study permit is NOT a visa. To enter Canada, you may still require a visiting visa or an electronic travel authorisation (eTA). The federal government will provide you with this together with your study visa.

Can my family come with me to Canada through the SDS programme?

Yes. When you apply via SDS Canada, you may bring your spouse, partner, and dependant children with you! They may also be eligible for expedited processing when applying for work permits, study permits, or guest visas. All members of the family must complete and submit their applications at the same time. Indicate that you will bring family members to Canada when you apply online. This allows you to finish their applications while still completing yours. 

What is the cost of applying to Canada's Student Direct Stream?

International students applying via SDS Canada must provide proof of full tuition payment for the first year of study. This might look like this:

  • A DLI receipt.
  • A document from a bank and DLI too, stating that tuition costs have been paid to the DLI.

  • An official letter from the DLI verifying payment of tuition payments.

  • In addition, applicants must produce a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).

Who can apply through Canada’s Student Direct Stream programme?

If you live in one of the African or Asian countries listed below, you may be able to apply for a Canadian study visa via the Student Direct Stream. If a person is a resident of another country (even if they are a citizen of one of the nations mentioned above), they must apply for a study permit through the standard process. Once you have submitted your biometrics and demonstrated that you fulfil all qualifying conditions, the Canadian government will begin processing your application. 

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