Are you considering pursuing your higher education in Canada and wish to apply for a Student Direct Stream (SDS) visa? Well, you’re in luck! On August 10, 2023, the IRCC approved four additional English proficiency tests for SDS visa applications. This development offers greater accessibility and convenience for international students aspiring to study in Canada. To secure your place in this educational journey, you must fulfill specific criteria and successfully pass one of the approved English language tests. This blog post is your guide to applying to study in Canada through SDS with the newly accepted English tests.
What is the Student Direct Stream (SDS)?
The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an accelerated study permit processing program designed for individuals seeking higher education at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. This program streamlines the application process for eligible candidates, making it faster and more efficient. For those who meet the specified requirements and are legal residents, SDS promises to process their applications within 20 calendar days.
New English Language Proficiency Tests for SDS
Until August 10, 2023, the only English language tests recognized by the IRCC for SDS were the IELTS Academic and General tests. However, the latest development allows applicants to submit results from four more English tests. This is excellent news for international students, as it provides increased flexibility when applying for the SDS study visa. The newly approved English tests include CAEL, CELPIP General, PTE Academic, and TOEFL iBT. Now, you have a wider range of choices, enabling you to select the test that best suits your strengths and preferences. It’s essential to remember that the chosen English test must be taken in its entirety; mixing sections from different tests is not permissible.
Eligibility Requirements for SDS
To successfully apply for the Student Direct Stream, you must meet specific eligibility criteria. Most importantly, all SDS-required language tests must be taken in person and assess all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This ensures that your proficiency in the English language is comprehensive.
For applications submitted before August 10, 2023, the language test results must be valid and not more than two years old. The same rule applies to applications received on or after August 10, 2023. It’s vital to plan your test-taking accordingly to ensure the results are within the required timeframe.
Only specific language tests listed on the IRCC SDS web page are considered valid for your application. Be sure to choose one of these approved tests to ensure your application’s eligibility.
Additionally, when applying for SDS, you need to provide proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of at least CAN$10,000. This certificate should be issued by a bank insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or a bank listed on the IRCC SDS web page. It serves as evidence of your financial capability to support yourself while studying in Canada.
To meet the GIC requirements for the SDS application, certain criteria must be met. The bank issuing the GIC must provide a letter of attestation, the GIC certificate, the investment directions confirmation, or the investment balance confirmation to the applicant. This verifies the availability of the required funds.
Furthermore, the bank must confirm the applicant’s identity before releasing the funds to the study permit holder, ensuring the transaction’s security and legitimacy.
Disbursing the remaining funds in monthly or bimonthly installments over 10 to 12 months aids effective financial management and guarantees a stable source of funding throughout the study period.
Regarding proof of full tuition payment for the first year of study, various acceptable forms include a receipt from the designated learning institution (DLI), an official letter from the DLI, a receipt from a bank confirming the transfer of the tuition fee amount to a repository account at the DLI, a letter of acceptance from a post-secondary DLI, the most recent secondary or post-secondary educational transcript, and proof of completion of the upfront medical examination from a panel physician.
If the applicant has undergone an upfront medical examination, including a copy of the IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report form or the information sheet printout from the eMedical system is necessary to ensure all required documentation is provided for the SDS application process.
When applying for SDS to study in Canada, additional requirements include:
- Inclusion of the Application for Study Permit Made Outside Canada form [IMM 1294], available on the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. This form is crucial for conveying essential information about your study plans in Canada.
- If applicable, submission of the Family Information form [IMM 5645], which provides details about your family members.
- If applying for a temporary resident visa, inclusion of the Schedule 1 – Application for a Temporary Resident Visa form [IMM 5257].
- For married or common-law applicants, providing a marriage license or certificate or the Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union form [IMM 5409] is essential to establish relationship status and eligibility for specific benefits.
- If you are using a representative for your application, you must include the Use of a Representative form [IMM 5476], granting them authorization to act on your behalf.
- For those destined to study in Quebec, inclusion of an attestation of the issuance of your Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) for studies from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI).
- Payment of the application processing fee and biometric processing fee, if applicable, is also required for application completion.
- Don’t forget to include proof of your identity, such as a valid passport or travel document.
By ensuring these additional requirements are met in your SDS application, you can be confident that it’s complete and adheres to the necessary criteria for studying in Canada.
How to Apply for SDS
When applying for the Student Direct Stream to study in Canada, follow these key steps:
- When asked if you have taken a language test within the past two years, select ‘Yes – IELTS’ on the application form, even if you have CAEL, PTE, CELPIP, or TOEFL results. This ensures the proper processing of your application.
- When asked if your test results were 6.0 or higher, answer ‘Yes,’ even if you have less than 6 in one or two modules of the IELTS Academic test. This will facilitate the smooth progression of your application.
- Upon completing the application form, upload your valid test results in the field labeled “Proof of IELTS Results.” This should include results from CAEL, PTE, CELPIP, or TOEFL tests. Remember that the IRCC only accepts in-person language examinations; online tests are not recognized.
- If you are submitting IELTS General test results, ensure you have a score of 6 in each module to qualify for an SDS study visa.
By adhering to these steps and providing the required documentation, you’ll be well on your way to applying for SDS and embarking on your educational journey in Canada.
Contact Visa Immigration Today
If you find the SDS application process overwhelming or have questions about the new English tests, eligibility criteria, GIC requirements, or any other aspect of the application, there’s no need to navigate this journey alone. Visa Immigration is here to assist you every step of the way.
Our team of experienced visa immigration consultants is well-versed in the SDS program and can provide expert guidance to ensure a successful application to help you apply for a study visa. We understand the nuances of the process, and we’re dedicated to providing personalized support tailored to your specific needs.
Don’t let the complexities of the application process deter you from pursuing your dreams of studying in Canada. Reach out to us today, and let us make your journey smooth and stress-free. Our friendly and knowledgeable consultants are ready to assist you and answer all your questions.
Trust Visa Immigration to handle the intricacies of the application process while you focus on preparing for your studies in Canada. Take the first step towards realizing your educational goals, and contact us now. Your dream of studying in Canada is within reach, and we’re here to make it a reality.