Great news awaits international students aspiring to study in Canada. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced significant updates to the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program, effective from August 10, 2023.
These changes bring a broader range of English proficiency test options for applicants, in addition to the previously accepted International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic and General tests.
Under the new guidelines, four additional English language test providers have been approved by the IRCC. These providers include:
The Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)
Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP General),
Pearson Test of English – Academic (PTE Academic),
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT).
It's important to note that all tests must be conducted in person, as online or remotely proctored exams are not eligible for SDS.
The expansion of accepted English language tests brings numerous advantages for students. Previously, the IELTS test was the only acceptable option, resulting in high demand, booking delays, and prolonged result processing times. With the inclusion of the new providers, students now have increased flexibility and a wider selection of preferred tests to showcase their English language proficiency.
The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a specialized program offered by the Canadian Government, designed to expedite study permit processing times for eligible students. If you are a legal resident of one of the designated countries, you can benefit from faster turnaround times for your study permit application. Currently, the standard processing time for SDS is 20 days, significantly shorter than the average processing time of 42 days in the regular study permit stream.
It's important to distinguish a Canadian study permit from a student visa. Once your study permit is approved, you will receive an electronic travel authorization (eTA), which allows you to travel to Canada.
To be eligible for the Student Direct Stream, you must currently be a legal resident of one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, or Vietnam.
If you reside in Canada or a country not included in the list, you must apply through the regular study permit application stream.
Furthermore, direct family members of SDS applicants, including spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children, may also have their visitor visa, work permit, or study permit applications processed faster if submitted at the same time as the SDS applicant.
When applying for the SDS, you will need to provide various documents depending on your study program and location. For instance, students planning to study in Quebec will require an attestation of issuance of their Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) from the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI). In certain circumstances, an IRCC-approved medical examination and a police certificate may also be necessary.
The general eligibility requirements for SDS include
An acceptance letter from a designated learning institution,
Proof of tuition payment for the first year of study,
A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of C$10,000,
Academic transcripts, and
Language test results meeting or exceeding the minimum scores.
Currently, the accepted language tests are IELTS Academic or General with a minimum score of 6.0 in each language skill, and Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) for French-language students with a score equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7 or higher in each skill.
After August 10, 2023, the additional accepted tests will be CAEL with a minimum score of 60, and CELPIP General with a score equal to a CLB score of 7 or higher.
Now isn`t it Breaking News that Canada is Expanding Student Direct Stream!