Visa Applications for SDS and Non-SDS

When applying for visas, students who want to pursue their higher education here could become perplexed by concepts like SDS and non-SDS. Let’s first clarify the similarities and contrasts between these two ideas.

The Canadian Immigration Authorities’ Student Direct Stream (SDS), formerly known as the Students Partner Program (SPP), allows students to apply for visas under the SDS area, while the Non-SDS category is sometimes referred to as the General Category. It is one more way to apply to study in Canada. Non-SDS is a general visa application procedure that enables applicants who are unable to fulfill visa standards to temporarily study and work in Canada. Let’s go further and learn more about the SDS vs. Non-SDS for Canada visa application notion now that we have a basic understanding of it.

Describe SDS.

Student Direct Stream, or SDS for short, is a program created specifically to speed up the Canada Study Permit Application process for students seeking student visas. Only Brazilian and Indian students are eligible for SDS. To study in Canada, however, the applicants would need to meet a number of criteria established by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

SDS Visa Conditions

There is specific documentation that candidates must submit in order to qualify under the SDS visa criteria

Results of the Language Proficiency Test

To be eligible, applicants must pass an English Proficiency Test within two years of submitting their SDS application.

IELTS Academic or IELTS General are the two tests that candidates may take.

They would have to get a minimum score of 6.0 bands or above in each of the four sections—Reading, Speaking, Writing, and Listening—in order to pass.


A current passport is required for students who want to obtain a student visa in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will not grant a study permit, a temporary residence visa (TRV), or any other sort of paperwork if the passport’s validity period has passed (IRCC).

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

Students must make a Guaranteed Investment Certificate investment of at least $10,000 Canadian (GIC). With the assistance of this money, individuals may feel comfortable in Canada and even have extra money to cover unforeseen costs. The money would be held by the bank in a student or investment account and would not be available until the applicant arrived in Canada. The Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insures some banks that provide GICs, including NOVA SCOTIA, ICICI, CIBC, and SBI.

After obtaining a GIC certificate, students will either get a statement of attestation, the GIC certificate, the Investment Directions Confirmation, or the Investment Balance Confirmation. Prior to disbursing the money to the students upon arrival in Canada, the bank is required to confirm the client’s identification after authenticating oneself upon arrival in Canada, the candidate will get around CAD 2,000 plus interest, which will be placed in your student bank account. For the following 12 months, you will get around CAD 667 every month.

School Fee

The first-year tuition fee must be paid in full by the student, and they must submit documentation in the form below as evidence.

  • A confirmation from the registered training facility (DLI)
  • A formal letter from a DLI serving as payment confirmation
  • The bank’s documentation demonstrates that the DLI has received the payment for tuition.
  • A confirmation of the deposit of the university tuition sum into the DLI’s repository account

Acceptance Letter

The Designated Learning Institute (DLI), in which the applicants submit their applications for higher study, issues a letter of approval to the candidates. The provincial and territorial governments of Canada have granted several institutions and universities DLI status.

Academic Textbooks

Students must present any previously earned academic certifications that are accurate and comprehensive. The records might contain a 10th-grade certificate, a 12th-grade certificate, a diploma, and a certificate of graduation (if any). The most current secondary or post-secondary academic transcript is further needed.

Medical Exam

Additionally, students would need to provide an early medical confirmation certificate that would serve as evidence of a physical exam by a panel doctor. An entire body check will be part of the assessment.

Purpose Statement

A student visa depends heavily on the Statement of Purpose (SOP). Whether they are applying for SDS or non-SDS, applicants must prepare an SOP. They must explain why they are selecting a certain subject at the Canadian institution; it is more akin to an essay. It helps the visa officer understand the candidate’s background and areas of interest.

The SOP created for the Canadian High Commission is different from the SOP created for Canadian institutions or universities. SOPs created for colleges place greater emphasis on the specific courses, the candidate’s history, and how interested the candidate is in the course.

A digital image

Another criterion is for the candidate to have digital photos. The image must be 35×45 inches and 80 percent zoomed on a white backdrop.

Canadian SDS Colleges List

In Canada, there are several SDS colleges with Designated Learning Numbers (DLN). The following is a list of colleges:

  • 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 Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Lasalle College
  • Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Sault College
  • Northern College
  • Mohawk College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Lawrence College
  • Dawson College
  • Alberta Bible College
  • Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Niagara College
  • Loyalist College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Lambton College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Georgian College of Arts & Technology
  • Fanshawe College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Durham College
  • Confederation College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Conestoga College
  • Clair College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Centennial College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Canadore College -North Bay, Ontario
  • Cambrian College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Algonquin College
  • Camosun College
  • College of New Caledonia
  • College of the Rockies
  • Columbia International College
  • Douglas College
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Langara College
  • North Island College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Okanagan College
  • Selkirk College
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Vancouver Island University
  • Bow Valley College, Calgary
  • Lakeland College
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Norquest College
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Assiniboine Community College
  • Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Winnipeg
  • Red River College of Applied Arts, Science & Technology
  • Parkland College
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • Lasalle College

Describe Non-SDS.

Understanding SDS versus Non-SDS for Canada visa applications is crucial for students who want to study abroad in a nation like Canada. Let’s talk about Non-SDS because we have previously covered SDS. Students who are unable to meet the SDS standards can apply for a student visa under the Non-SDS category to study in Canada. To get temporary residence in Canada, students must follow the usual visa application procedure.

Demands for Non-SDS Visas in 2022

The following is a list of the Non-SDS Canada requirements for 2022:

Test of Language Proficiency 1

The non-SDS Canada stipulates that applicants must pass a language competency exam. To demonstrate their language ability, they can take eligibility exams like the TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS.


Candidates must have a current passport in order to implement for a study permit in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will not provide a temporary residence visa (TRV) or a study permit if the passport has expired. They must make sure that the permission, their study permit, and any other necessary Canadian visas or permits have all been renewed before they expire.

Investment Certificate with a Guarantee (GIC)

The minimum deposit for a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) for students is $100,000 (CAD). The deposited funds will also assist them in ensuring that they have additional resources to cover any expenditures they may incur while in Canada. It is essentially the sum they will receive when they enter the nation.

The bank’s NOVA SCOTIA, ICICI, CIBC, and SBI are a few that provide GIC. Students will get around 2,000 CAD plus any interest as soon as they land in Canada, which will be placed into their accounts. Students will get around $667 CAD per month when they arrive in the nation for the following 12 months. A GIC is not necessary, though, and can be substituted with documentation of liquid assets.

School Fee

Students must provide documentation showing that they have paid their tuition for six months of DLI in accordance with non-SDS visa criteria. However, companies must be careful to convey their financial soundness and provide documentation to support this.

Medical Exam

Students are required to provide documentation of a comprehensive physical as verification of their medical evaluation.

Academic Textbooks

Students must produce authentic academic records. The papers will contain their prior academic transcripts, such as their tenth and twelfth grade, graduation, and diploma certificates.

Photographic Images

Students would have to submit digital photos that met requirements like 35×45 and an 80% zoom-in on a white backdrop.

Statement of Intention

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is essential for both SDS and non-SDS cases. It is more akin to an article in which they must explain why they decided to pursue their education in Canada as well as why they selected the particular subject.

Accounting Records

Students enrolled in non-SDS courses are required to provide financial documentation to support their claim of financial stability. The records show evidence of income (Income Tax Returns, Form-16, J-Forms). Additionally, students may include liquid assets such as GPF, bank statements, fixed deposits, and many others.

Why SDS instead than Non-SDS?

SDS is always seen as superior to non-SDS. Listed below are a few of them:

1.Fewer documents.

One benefit of the SDS program versus non-SDS is that applicants do not need to submit a ton of paperwork to demonstrate their financial eligibility, but with non-SDS, a ridiculous amount of paperwork is required. An International English Language Testing System or IELTS score of 6.0 or better and a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of CAD 10,000 or more are two of the most significant pieces of evidence needed for the SDS program.

Quick operation

The SDS software streamlines and simplifies the entire procedure. It takes around 20 days to complete the processing. However, it is necessary for students to fulfill all program requirements. This is especially advantageous for students who wish to transfer as soon as possible to their institution or university.

Students who are serious about attending a Canadian university might look into the upGrad Abroad programs that are provided in association with some of the top universities in Canada. BBA and BCA programs have been launched by upGrad Abroad in partnership with Yorkshire University and Fraser Valley, respectively. For additional information and to learn how to apply for the SDS program, visit the website of upGrad Abroad.

Procedures for SDS and Non-SDS Visa Applications

The application process is quite identical for both SDS and Non-SDS visas. When completing the application form and moving on with their application, students must decide whether they wish to select the SDS or non-SDS category. An explanation of how to apply for SDS and Non-SDS visas is provided below:

Create a GCKey account by going to the Immigration Refugee Citizenship (IRCC) website.

Enter all the required information for the SDS/Non-SDS visa according to the requirements by logging into the account.

Provide scanned copies of the necessary paperwork.

Application costs and biometrics fees are two different sorts of expenses. A further biometrics charge of CAD 85 is also payable, in addition to the application price of CAD 150 per individual.

After paying the money, students are given a link to a biometrics request letter. To expedite the application process, they must submit biometric data (fingerprints and photos).

Students may be required to undergo medical tests and background checks if the biometrics form is approved.

Upon approval of the visa, they have given either an introduction letter a temporary residence visa for entry into Canada as a foreign student, or an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

The introduction letter and temporary residence visa will be examined by the appropriate agencies at the entry port after the student has arrived in Canada.

The officer at the entrance port will grant their study permit after all of the qualifying requirements have been met.

Success rates for the Non-SDS category and SDS category.

The success rate for non-SDS visa applications is significantly lower than for SDS applications. This is due to the fact that there are fewer documents in SDS than in non-SDS. According to the IRCC, the success rate for SDS candidates in 2021 was 71%, compared to 40% for non-SDS applicants.

Family Members of Students Applying for Study Permits in the SDS and Non-SDS Categories

If they apply at the same period as the primary applicant for a study permit, the family members of that applicant may get concurrent processing. As a family unit, the family members must submit their online requests for temporary residence permits for jobs, studies, or living.

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