Unlock Your Study in Canada Journey: SDS and Non-SDS Visa Applications
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Difference Between SDS and Non-SDS Visa Applications

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Why Study in Canada

The Canadian Immigration Authorities launched the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program, formerly known as the Students Partner Program (SPP), which allows students to apply for visas under the SDS category. In addition, the Non-SDS is also referred to as the General Category. It’s an additional way to apply to study in Canada.

The SDS or Student Direct Stream is specially designed to make the process of students receiving their study visa more efficiently through the Canada Study Permit Application. For SDS, only students from India and Brazil are eligible. However, the candidates would be required to fulfill certain requirements under this program set by the Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada to study in Canada.

SDS Visa Requirements

As far as the SDS visa requirements are concerned, A general visa application method called Non-SDS aids applicants who are unable to obtain a temporary employment and study in Canada. We now have a basic understanding of SDS vs Non-SDS in Canada. There are certain documents applicants need to provide to be eligible under the category.

1. Language Proficiency Test Results

  1. Applicants need to qualify for an English Proficiency Test, completed within two years from when the SDS application was received.
  2. Candidates can appear either for IELTS Academic or IELTS General.
  3. In each section, they would need to score a minimum of 6.0 bands or higher in each section – Reading, Speaking, Writing, and Listening.

2. Passport

Students willing to apply for a student visa in Canada must have a valid passport. If the date of the passport expires, the study permit, temporary resident visa (TRV), and any other document studying in Canada. Therefore, it is imperative for prospective students to ensure that their passports are valid throughout the intended period of study in Canada.

3. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

Students must deposit CAD 10000 or more as a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC). This money helps ensure that they are secured in Canada and even have additional resources to fund the extra expenses. The bank would hold the funds in an investment or student account, and the money would remain inaccessible until the applicant arrives in Canada. Some banks that offer GIC are insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), including NOVA SCOTIA, ICICI, CIBC, and SBI.

Students will receive a letter of attestation, the GIC certificate, the Investment Directions Confirmation, or the Investment Balance Confirmation upon purchasing a GIC certificate. Upon entry to Canada, before releasing the funds to the students, the bank must validate the client’s identity. Once the candidate arrives in Canada, upon identifying themselves, they will get around CAD 2,000 plus interest, which will be deposited in their student bank account. Every month you will receive around CAD 667 for the next 12 months.

4. Tuition Fee

Students have to make the full payment of the first-year tuition fee and provide proof of the same in the following form. 

  • A receipt from the Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • A confirmation of the payment by a DLI in the form of an official letter 
  • The bank’s receipt shows that tuition fees have been paid to the DLI
  • A proof of the transfer of the tuition fee amount into a repository account at the DLI 

5. Letter of Acceptance

The candidates receive a letter of acceptance from the Designated Learning Institute (DLI), where they apply for further education. Some colleges and universities are authorized as DLIs by the Canadian provincial and territorial governments.

6. Educational Documents

Students must submit all the previous academic certificates that are genuine and complete. The documents may include the 10th certificate, 12th certificate, diploma, and graduation certificate (if any). Moreover, the most recent secondary or post-secondary educational transcript is also required.

7. Medical Examination

Students would also need to submit an upfront medical confirmation document that will serve as proof of a medical examination by a panel physician. The check-up will include a full-body examination.

8. Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose (SOP) plays an important role in a student visa. Applicants have to write an SOP, whether it is for SDS or non-SDS. It is more like an essay where they have to mention why they are choosing a particular course in a college in Canada. It works as a clarification to the visa officer about the profile and interests of the candidate.

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List of SDS Colleges to Study in Canada

There are a lot of SDS colleges in Canada that have a Designated Learning Number (DLN). The list of colleges is as follows:

  • Sheridan College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
  • George Brown College
  • Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
  • Red River College of Applied Arts, Science & Technology
  • Niagara College
  • Parkland College
  • Fleming College
  • Loyalist College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Canadore College
  • Vancouver Island University
  • Northern Lights College
  • Columbia International College 
  • Lakeland College 
  • Northern Albe
  • Lakeland College
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Norquest College & many more.

What is Non-SDS?

For students wishing to study abroad in a country like Canada, knowing about SDS vs Non-SDS for Canada visa applications is very vital. Since we have already discussed SDS, let us now talk about Non-SDS. Students unable to fulfil the SDS requirements can apply for a student visa to study in Canada under the Non-SDS category. It is a standard visa application process for students to get temporary residency in Canada. The Non-SDS Canada requirements  are mentioned below:

1. Language Proficiency Test

As per the non-SDS Canada, candidates are required to clear a language proficiency test. They can appear for eligibility tests such as IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL to prove their language proficiency. 

2. Passport

As candidates intend to apply for a student visa in Canada, they need a valid passport. In case the passport has expired, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will not issue a temporary resident visa (TRV) or a study permit. They need to ensure that the permit has been extended before it expires, along with their study permit, and all the other applicable Canadian permits or visas.

3. Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

As a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), students would require depositing around $10000 (CAD) or more. The deposited money will further help them ensure they have extra sources to pay for the possible expenses in Canada. It is basically the amount they will get upon arriving in the country.

Some banks that offer GIC include NOVA SCOTIA, ICICI, CIBC, and SBI. As students arrive in Canada, they will get around 2,000 CAD plus any interest, which will be deposited into their account. For the next 12 months after arriving in the country, students will get approximately $667 CAD each month. However, a GIC is not mandatory and can be replaced with proof of liquid funds. 

4. Tuition Fee

Under non-SDS visa requirements, students must provide proof that they have deposited the tuition fees for six months for DLI. However, they need to make sure to portray financial stability and submit documents as proof of the same.

5. Medical Examination

Students have to submit a document of a full-body checkup as proof of medical examination.

6. Educational Documents

Students have to submit their genuine academic documents. The documents will include their previous education certificates such as 10th certificate, 12th certificate, graduation, or diploma certificates.

7. Digital Pictures

Students must submit their digital pictures with specifications like 35X45 and an 80% zoom-in white background.

8. Statement of Purpose

In either case of SDS or non-SDS, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) plays a vital role. It is more like an essay in which they have to mention the reason for choosing Canada as their education destination and the reason for choosing the specific course.

9. Financial Documents

Under non-SDS, students must submit financial documents that will help justify their financial stability. The documents include Proof of Income (Income Tax Returns, Form-16, J-Forms). Students can also add liquid assets in the form of GPF, Bank Statements, Fixed Deposits, and many more.

Why Choose SDS over Non-SDS?

SDS is always considered better than non-SDS. Here are some of the reasons: 

1. Lesser documents

One of the advantages of the SDS program over non-SDS is that candidates do not have to submit a lot of documents to prove their financial eligibility, while under non-SDS, the numbers of documents that have to be submitted are way too many. Two of the most important pieces of documentation that are required for the SDS program include an International English Language Testing System or IELTS score of 6.0 or higher and a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAD 10,000 or more.

2. Fast processing

SDS program makes the entire process streamlined and simpler. The whole processing takes around 20 days. However, students are required to meet all the requirements specified in the program. This is especially beneficial for students who want to move to their college or university at the earliest.

Success rates of both SDS and Non-SDS category

The non-SDS visa success rate is comparatively lower than that of the SDS category. This is because the number of documents is less in SDS than in non-SDS. Per the IRCC, the SDS success rate in 2021 was 71%, whereas, for the non-SDS applicants, it was 40%. 


Choosing between SDS and Non-SDS depends on the student’s circumstances and preferences. SDS offers a quicker processing route for eligible applicants, ensuring a faster transition into Canadian institutions. However, Non-SDS provides a traditional application process, allowing students to adhere to standard timelines.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

  1. Who is eligible for SDS when study in Canada?
    Eligibility for SDS varies by country. Generally, it includes requirements such as acceptance into a DLI and the upfront submission of comprehensive documentation.
  2. What advantages does SDS offer for studying in Canada?
    The primary advantage of SDS is expedited processing times, allowing students to receive study permits more quickly and facilitating timely entry into Canadian educational institutions.
  3. Can I switch from Non-SDS to SDS or vice versa during my study in Canada?
    Switching between application streams may not be straightforward and is subject to Canadian immigration policies. It is advisable to adhere to the initially chosen application stream.
  4. Do all countries have SDS programs for study in Canada?
    No, SDS is specific to certain countries. Prospective students should check the eligibility criteria based on their country of residence.

For more information, Visit or get in touch with our trusted study abroad consultants. International and avail our wide range of services for students on destinations like Study in UKStudy in USA, Study in New-ZealandStudy in Ireland and many other countries.