How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada through Study Direct Stream

Why is Canada the top choice of international students particularly from Asia?

From 2006 to 2015, study permit applicants from the People’s Republic of China topped the list of international students seeking further and higher education in Canada.

India and South Korea brought up the 2nd and 3rd spots respectively.  The Philippines was at 22nd place for the total number of students in Canada from 1996 to 2015.

In 2014, international students contributed almost $11.4 billion to Canada’s economic activities which includes tuition fees and other expenses of students and their visiting families, friends.  In turn, this overall annual spending by international students translates to 122,700 Canadian jobs (complete story here -

In July 2016, the spending of international students and contribution to the Canadian economy

In 2006 there were only 239,899 international students in Canada. In 2015, the almost doubled to 459,644.  The table below from the Canadian government website shows the top three countries and the Philippines.





Total in 2015











South Korea










Contribution of International Students to Canadian Economy

In an October 2016 study commissioned by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Global Canada reported the “substantial…economic benefit of international students studying in Canada.”

In 2014, international students in Canada spent around $11.4 billion on tuition, accommodation, and discretionary spending creating 122,700 jobs for Canadians.

In line with its policy of attracting more international students, Canada introduced a pilot project – Study Direct Stream (SDS) that seeks to improve the application procedures while safeguarding the integrity of the study program.

The Canadian visa-issuing posts in China issued the details of SDS in August 2016.  Then SDS moved to India and now, the Philippines.

Study Direct Stream launched June 16, 2017 in Manila

The Canadian Embassy in Manila expects SDS to “speed up visa processing for full-time students attending universities and colleges in Canada.”

The SDS Program is supported by Scotiabank, a leading Canadian financial institution. Scotiabank will provide eligible students with the opportunity to purchase a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), which will satisfy the financial statement requirements of the SDS program.

Whether applying through the Standard Processing or SDS, the student must submit a study plan, explaining the reason for the choice of the program with the authorized educational institution – and how completion of the academic program dovetails with his or her career plans.

How to qualify through SDS

The Canadian Embassy checklist for students applying for a program under SDS sets the following eligibility criteria:

Advantages of applying under SDS

The major advantages of applying under SDS are:

Difference between the Study Visa Regular Steam and Study Direct Stream


Regular Stream

Study Direct Stream

Mode of Application

Paper or Online Application

Paper Application



Mandatory (at least 6 in all areas)

Processing Time

60 days

30 days

Guaranteed Investment Certificate

Not needed


Medical Examination

Upfront/Upon Request



Partial/Deposit will do

Full Payment for 1 year

Guaranteed funds for first year of study

International students are allowed to work part time (20 hours a week) and full time when school is off session.  However, study permit applicants must not rely on this privilege (or being able to work) since inability to find employment could result in the student working more than studying.

The funds transferred to an authorized Canadian bank – in this case Scotiabank – ensures access to funds to the international student regardless of the financial ups and downs.

The Scotiabank Student GIC Program (SSGP) enables the student to “meet the requirements of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada guidelines and provides access to funds to help pay for living expenses while studying in Canada.”

A study permit applicant may “purchase a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) from Scotiabank for $10,000 Canadian dollars (CAD). A GIC is an investment account that offers a guaranteed interest rate over a fixed period of time.  Other features of the GIC are:

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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