Student Direct Stream: Everything You Need to Know

Being a multicultural country with student-friendly policies, Canada is one of the most popular choices for international students. Since the country is known for its high standard of education, you can be assured of top-notch education in a culturally diverse learning environment.

In this article, we will delve into the details of the Student Direct Stream program and explain everything you need to know about the program, including how to know if you are eligible, how to apply, and what to do after you apply.

About the Process:

Student Direct Stream is a fast-track program that enables international students applying to study in a postsecondary designated learning institution in Canada to benefit from more efficient application and study permit processing times.

The program was developed and introduced by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in June 2018, with the aim of encouraging faster growth of international student applications.

Most Student Direct Stream Applications are processed within 20 calendar days, however, the speed with which an application is processed depends on whether you meet all the requirements that qualify you to be eligible for the program as well as how fast you give your biometrics details. The fee is usually $120.

Finally, it is important to note that the study permit granted is not a visa and does not automatically grant you access to Canada. A proper visa must accompany your study permit for you to be legally allowed to enter and study in Canada.

You may need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to legally enter Canada. Both documents show that you have met the requirements for temporary residence in Canada. You will be required to present both the visa and the study permit upon arrival in Canada.

Who Can Apply:

In order for you to be eligible to apply for the Student Direct Stream, you must meet the following requirements:

1. Be a legal resident in 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
  • Vietnam

Even if you are a citizen of any of the above-mentioned countries, you must also still be legally residing in the country, for you to be considered eligible to apply.

2.   Have proof of your acceptance into a postsecondary designated learning institution in the form of an acceptance letter. A designated learning institution(DLI) is a college or university approved by the government of a province or territory to admit international students.

You must confirm that your school is on the list of DLIs in order to ensure that you are eligible to apply for the study permit.

The acceptance letter from your DLI must:

  • Be on the official letterhead of the institution
  • Indicate the amount of the tuition fee you are required to pay
  • Your registration date
  • The anticipated dates of commencement and completion.

3.   Currently reside in a country, outside of Canada, as at the time of your application.

4.  Have proof of payment of your tuition fees for the first year of school. The following documents are acceptable as proof of payment:

  • A receipt from your DLI
  • An official letter from your DLI confirming that you have paid your tuition fees
  • A receipt from your bank confirming that you have paid your tuition fees to your DLI or
  • A verifiable proof that the tuition fee amount has been transferred into a repository account at the DLI to be applied to the tuition bill at a later date.

5.  Have a transcript from your most recent secondary or post-secondary school.

6. Have a language test result that shows your proficiency in English or French in one or both of the following ways:

a) an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic or general training score of 6.0 or above, in each of the following skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

b) a Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)  score that is equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) minimum score of  7 in each of the following skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

7. Have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000.

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate is basically a low-risk investment that is sold by Canadian financial institutions and offers a guaranteed rate of return upon a deposit after a fixed period of time. The funds will be held in a student account or an investment account until you arrive in Canada and your identity is confirmed.

Usually, you will be given $2,000 initially and then the remainder will be paid out in monthly or bimonthly installments over a 10-12 months duration.

8.   A Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (this is necessary only if you’re planning to study in Quebec).

9.   A medical exam (if needed).

You may need to do a medical exam if you resided in or traveled to certain countries or territories for 6 months and above in the year preceding your arrival in Canada, or you intend to study or work in healthcare, primary or secondary education, or care for children or the elderly.

10.   A police certificate (if needed)

If you need to get a police certificate, your visa office will give you instructions on that.

How To Apply

Applications for the Student Direct Stream Program are all online. There is no paper application for the program. For the application process, you will need scanned copies of your required documents, your valid debit or credit card, and the instruction guide to assist you in correctly filling out your forms.

When submitting the filled application forms, you will need to pay the biometric fee and then give your biometrics(fingerprints and photograph).

After You Apply

Your application process requires that you pay the fees involved, including your biometrics fee. Once that is completed and you have submitted your application, a letter will be sent to you requesting your biometrics details and giving you instructions on how to go about the process.

Within a space of 30 days after this, you will be needed to physically present the letter, a valid passport, and your biometrics.

After your biometrics have been received, processing of your application will immediately begin and this is usually completed within 20 calendar days, depending on your eligibility.

However, if you don’t meet the requirements for eligibility, your application will be treated as a regular study permit application, which usually takes a longer time to be processed.

If your application for a Student Direct Stream permit has been approved, you will be sent a letter of introduction, which you would need to present to the attending officer at the port of entry, upon your arrival in Canada.

Please note that this letter of introduction is not your study permit and cannot be used as such. You will also be sent an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor (temporary resident) visa.

  • If you need an eTA, your letter of introduction will carry the  information regarding it. Your eTA will be electronically linked to your passport and will have a validity that will last for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. It is important that you carry the passport you used to apply, otherwise you will not be granted.
  • On the other hand, if you need a visitor visa, you will be asked to send your passport to the nearest visa office so that it will be attached to your passport.

It is important for you to have all the relevant documents you need to enter Canada. Upon your arrival, an official will check to see if you meet all the requirements to enter Canada. After he/she has verified this, your study permit will be printed out and given to you. This study permit will usually be valid until the end of your school program or as long as your passport is valid. If your passport expires before the end of your school program, you will have to apply to extend your study permit once you get a new passport.

If unfortunately, your application for a study permit was rejected, then a letter stating reasons for your refusal will be sent to you.

More information concerning the Student Direct Stream program in Canada can be found on the IRCC website.

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