Student Direct Stream Canada: SDS (SPP) Requirements for Student Visa

By Sristy Sharma Updated On - May 05, 2022 06:21 PM

If you are an Indian International student to Canada then you have a special alternative of SDS or SPP Visa available for yopu. We have prepared a guide of all the requirements and documents you need to fulfill and submit in order to get the Student Visa under SDS or SPP scheme. Read below to find out in detail.

Indian students have been opting Canada as their Study Abroad destination since the 20th century. In fact India contributes more than one-third of total international students to Canada every year. 

Since India is the major market for Canada, the immigration authorities and educational institutions have taken a step to allow easier and more secure access to Indians in Canada as students under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program. Under the flag of SDS program students can apply for Student Visa once they prove themselves eligible for the program. The Student Visa issued under SDS program allows the student to have a safe and secure student life with fewer formalities to adhere to while in Canada.

Certain colleges and universities of Canada have collaborated with the Canadian High Commission India office to allow the students who are accepted by these institutions to apply for Student Visa under SDS program. However, the issuance of SDS Student Visa is subject to the requirements which the students need to fulfill.

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SDS v/s SPP Programs

SDS is simply a renamed and slightly upgraded version of the SPP or Students Partner Program. Some changes have been implemented by the new SDS program in the replacement of SPP. These changes are in relation to SPP requirements for Canadian Student Visa;

  • The IELTS requirements have been changed.

  • The number of requirements have been reduced in comparison to the SPP.

  • The requirements have been revisited. While SPP had different requirements for graduate and undergraduate students, SDS has revised them to general requirements and has simplified the procedure.

  • The institutions have been renamed as DLI or Designated Learning Institute.

  • SPP had stipulation that rejection of SPP Visa application makes an applicant ineligible for Canadian Student Visa application.

SDS or SPP Requirements for Canadian Student Visa

SDS Visa application requirements are though differently organized from SPP requirements and yet these requirements are inspired by the SPP ones only. The requirements under SDS can be divided under two categories;

  • Eligibility Documents 

  • Additional Documents

The documents and other requirements have been described in the following sections.

Eligibility Documents

Eligibility Documents are the one which needs to be satisfied as per the conditions set by the SDS supervisory authorities.


As is required the candidate applying for the SDS Visa is required to have a valid passport issued by their home nation as an authorizing and citizenship proving document. Although having a valid passport might seem as obvious information, however, there is a certain technicality which governs the validity. Any passport shall be considered valid for the purposes of SDS Visa application when the expiry of the passport doesn't fall anytime during the course duration. The need to extend the passport must be completed before applying for an SDS Visa.

Acceptance Letter

Designated Learning Institute (DLI) are those institutions which have been authorized as a part of collaborative effort of SDS to offer their Indian students an option to own SDS Visa. In order to be considered eligible to apply for SDS Visa only applying for DLIs is not enough, the Visa applicant also needs to own an acceptance letter from such DLI. This is due to the limited and special authorisation of the SDS Visa and therefore the compulsory pre-acceptance requirement of the candidate. 

Language Proficiency Test Scores

Even though an Acceptance Letter from applied DLI indicates that the candidate must have satisfied the English Language Proficiency Test Score requirements of that DLI for the chosen course program, however, to be considered eligible for SDS Visa there are additional requirements of immigration authorities and these need to be satisfied by the candidate.

  • The English Language Proficiency Test whose scores are being used for application must have been authorized under the SDS program.

  • IELTS Academic and IELTS General both are considered valid under the SDS program.

  • The minimum score in each section (Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening) must be 6.0 bands.

Tuition Fees

The course program for which the applicant has been accepted for by the DLI needs to be funded for the first year fully. The holder of SDS Visa enjoys certain privileges right from proving their eligibility to the expiry and in order to earn these the financial security of tuition fees is considered as mandatory. Hence, the first year tuition fees need to be paid in full by the candidate before applying for SDS Visa.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

GIC is a deposit scheme, under which the SDS Visa applicant has to apply for the scheme with a bank offering such, and deposit a minimum amount of CAD 10,000. This amount is remitted to the student as they arrive in the country as CAD 2,000, and rest over the period of 12 months in equal installments (CAD 667). 

The banks which provide GIC services are SBI, ICICI, NOVA SCOTIA and CIBC. The regularized amount helps in creating confidence and feeling of security among the students.

Additional Documents

Additional Documents are those which have to be submitted by the candidate in SDS Visa application but they do not have inherent eligibility conditions which are required to be met.

Academic Transcripts

All the academic transcripts upto proving the status of a candidate’s qualification status uptill getting accepted in DLI or applying for SDS Visa, whichever is latest, have to be submitted by the applying candidate.

Even the documents for co-curricular diploma or certificate courses are demanded and accepted by the immigration authorities.


SOP is a standard document when applying for the DLI or any foreign institutes for that matter, but a different SOP has to be filed alongwith Visa application documents. This is known as Visa SOP, and while it has to be filed irrespective of SDS or non-SDS Visa application. 

Visa SOP is different from application SOP, the format and rules are the same, however, the representation is made in relation to immigratory intent and not academic intent.

Medical Examination

A full body checkup is required to be conducted on the applying candidate in order to ensure and detect the medical status of the candidate. Though the medical examination is conducted as a security and assurance, some cases might have implications on security amount or GIC amount.

Digital Transcripts

The scanned copies of all the documents are required to be submitted and the digital transcripts of the following are required to be included in the application;

  • Digital Photograph with 35X45 dimensions and 80% zoom white background.

  • Digital Signature

SDS requirements and processes are both designed to benefit the Indian students while they pursue their education in Canada, yet the complicity of the process cannot be denied. It is recommended that guidance and support of Experts is applied for.

We at Collegedekho are always ready to help you and hence you can register on our website or write to us

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