As you probably know, students who are legal residents in the following countries:
- Vietnam, or
- The Philippines
are eligible for Student Direct Stream, a streamlined study permit for foreign students who wish to study in Canada. The processing time for eligible students is around 20 calendar days which is about 3 weeks. This is much faster than most processing times for other visas and is a great opportunity for students who are residents of the above-listed countries.
There’s a catch though.
You have to invest in a Canadian GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) in the amount of CAD$10,000 in order to qualify. The Canadian-based bank in which you decide to have your GIC must:
- Confirm that you have purchased a GIC by giving you one of the following:
- A letter of attestation
- A GIC Certificate
- An Investment Directions Confirmation
- An Investment Balance Confirmation
- Hold the GIC in an investment or student account that you can only access after you arrive in Canada
- Confirm your identity once you are in Canada, before they release any funds to you.
- Release the funds in your GIC by:
- Releasing an initial lump sum (a fixed percentage of your GIC) when you arrive in Canada and they are able to confirm your identity.
- Releasing the balance of your GIC funds in monthly or bi-monthly installments over the following 10 to 12 months depending on your course of study and needs.
The list of Banks authorized to hold your GIC is:
- Bank of Beijing
- Bank of China
- Bank of Montreal
- Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- HSBC Bank of Canada
- ICICI Bank
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- Royal Bank of Canada
- SBI (State Bank of India) Canada Bank
Because your Student Direct Stream application is processed so quickly you can generally apply for a visa (assuming you have been accepted at a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution of course) a fairly short time before your school term starts.
There’s a problem you may encounter, however.
You generally will have to wire transfer the money from your bank in India, China, the Philippines, or Vietnam, to your chosen bank in Canada. Even if it is a subsidiary of the same bank, a wire transfer goes through the SWIFT system which generally takes a number of days. Some banks take up to 7 working days to transfer the funds through SWIFT.
Until you have proof of your funds in your Canadian bank, as listed above, you cannot apply for your visa. That’s because to be eligible for the Student Direct Stream, you must first have the CAD$ 10,000 GIC in your Canadian bank account. Then you can apply for the visa.
So, you should make sure you have allowed for at least 1 to 2 weeks time, for your GIC to be confirmed in your Canadian-based bank account before you can apply for your Student Direct Stream study visa. When you start the process will depend on when you have to be in Canada at your university/college/institute. Let’s look at an example by working backwards starting at the beginning date for orientation at a university:
Relevant Dates Example – UBC in 2019
- Wire funds to Canadian Bank by July 17 at the latest – Allow up to 2 weeks for wire transfer to Canadian bank
- Apply for Student Direct Stream by August 1 or earlier – 20 calendar days to process student visa application: August 4 or earlier
- Fly to Vancouver: August 22 at the latest – Flight from India to Vancouver takes at least 24 hours due to connections
- UBC Orientation: August 24-30, 2019
So, looking at the above example, once you get your acceptance letter and ensure your other requirements for Student Direct Stream are met, you should allow around 6 weeks between the time you wire transfer funds to your Canadian-based bank and the start of your orientation or your studies if you are not going to be attending orientation.
Yes, the study visa itself should be processed in about 3 weeks, but with wire transfers and travelling from Asia included, those 3 weeks could become 5 to 6 weeks. In other words, add on at least 2 weeks to those 20 calendar days when planning out the process for your Student Direct Stream application. It will ensure you arrive at your school on time, always a good idea.