What is the Student Direct Stream?
What if you could get a break on the processing of your study permit for Canada? What if you could possibly get on a fast track and get your study permit faster than the normal wait times? With students from around the world lining up to attend Canada’s first-rate yet affordable universities and colleges, that would be a deal worth taking.
In fact, you can get a jump-start on your study permit, in what is called the Student Direct Stream, but only if you are a legal resident of one of the following countries:
- The Philippines, or
Please note that if you are not a legal resident of one of these four countries – even if you are a citizen of one of these countries – then you must apply for your study permit through the regular application process. No legal residence in China, India, the Philippines, or Vietnam, means no Student Direct Stream fast track for your study permit. Regardless of your citizenship.
To qualify for a Student Direct Stream study permit you must:
- Have been accepted by an eligible post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- Demonstrate that you have the required English or French language skills
- Show that you have sufficient financial support for the duration of your studies
- Provide evidence that you have had a medical exam before you apply
How to Apply for the Student Direct Stream
First, you will need a copy of your letter of acceptance (LOA) to a designated learning institution in Canada. These are universities, colleges, or technical schools that are approved by their provincial or territorial government to host international students. You must first check that the school you are applying to is a designated learning institution. You must check by province or territory at this IRCC webpage, where you can find out if your school is an approved one.
Please note that all primary and secondary schools in Canada are automatically designated learning institutions. Post-secondary Canadian institutions are the ones that have to be approved by provincial or territorial governments in order to host international students.
Next, you will need what is known as an upfront medical exam. These are medical exams that you take before you apply and that you include with your application. Study permits require upfront medical exams. To get an upfront medical exam you must:
- Find a panel physician (one approved by immigration authorities to do exams) by going here and selecting your country or territory of residence.
- Make a copy of the confirmation (of medical exam) document your doctor will give you and attach it or upload it to your application. The document will either be:
- An information sheet printout if your doctor works for eMedical OR
- An Upfront Medical Report (IMM 1017B) if your doctor works with a paper system
- Remember to bring the following to your medical appointment: official ID; any contact lenses or glasses you wear; any medical report on any special conditions you may have; Medical Report form (IMM 1017E) which the visa office will send you if you have never had an upfront Medical Report previously; 4 copies of a recent photograph of yourself.
- You are responsible for paying all fees associated with your Medical exam. The fees are NOT refundable if your application is rejected.
The next step is to have proof of a CAD$10,000 investment in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC). This will depend on which country you are a legal resident of (see below).
You must also have proof of pre-payment of your entire 1st year of tuition fees.
Finally, you must have proof of either:
- Having graduated from a Canadian secondary school or a Canadian curriculum high school OR
- A language test showing the following level of ability in English or French:
- IELTS score of 6 or higher for English, OR
- TEF score of 7 or higher for French
As well as these basic requirements, your specific documents and application process may vary slightly depending on which country you are a legal resident of. For example, in China, the participating Canadian financial institutions where you can invest in a GIC are:
- Bank of China – Canada
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Bank of Montreal
- Industrial & Commercial Bank of China – Canada
- Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
- Bank of X’ian – Canada
- Bank of Beijing – Canada
- HSBC Bank – Canada
- Go here for more information on branch addresses and how to contact them for more information.
In India, the current participating financial institutions are Scotiabank, ICICI Bank Canada, and SBI Canada Bank.
In the Philippines and in Vietnam, the current participating Canadian financial institution is Scotia Bank: www.scotiabank.com/studentgicprogram.
Go here for detailed information on how to fill out your study permit application form. The following is a list of documents you will need to provide in the case of being a legal resident of China:
- IMM 5483: Document checklist x
- IMM 11294: Application for a study permit (completed with all information)
- IMM 5707 Family information form
- IMM 5409: Statutory Declaration of Common-law union (if applicable)
- Details of Education & Employment form: only required for Chinese applicants
- Valid passport
- 2 photos
- Copy of National Identity Document: only required for Chinese applicants
- Fee payment receipt or form. Go here for more information.
- IMM 5476: Use of a Representative form (if applicable)
- IMM 5646: Custodianship Declaration from your parents AND your Canadian custodian if you are under the age of 18
- A Study Plan with a detailed description of your studies and how they relate to your academic, technical, or vocational background
- A copy of a valid Letter of Acceptance from the Admissions department or Registrar of your Designated Learning Institution
If your application is approved for the Student Direct Stream you will receive:
- A letter of introduction (officially called a Port of Entry or POE letter of introduction) which you must keep with you and show to customs officials when you arrive in Canada.
- A Temporary Resident Visa (visitor visa) which will be placed in your passport. Remember to travel to Canada before your visitor visa expires.
If your application does not meet the Student Direct Stream criteria but does satisfy the regular study permit criteria, then immigration authorities will process your application as a regular study permit application.
If your application is refused you will receive a letter explaining why it was refused. Contact the visa office that issued the letter if you have any questions.