Study in Canada: IRCC expands Student Direct Stream (SDS) to 7 new countries

Kareem El-Assal
Published: July 9, 2021

Canada has expanded its fast-track program for international students to seven new countries.

This was announced today by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The countries are:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Peru
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Costa Rica
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) offers expedited study permit processing to those looking to study at a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI).

Potential international students to Canada first need to receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a DLI.

DLIs are universities, colleges, and other post-secondary educational institutions in Canada that are authorized by the government to welcome international students. Once a candidate receives an LOA, they then need to submit a study permit application to the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The purpose of the study permit is to authorize an individual to move to Canada to pursue their education.

Contact Campbell Cohen Law Firm for Study Permit Assistance

Study permit processing varies by each country but it can take several months. The benefit of the SDS is that eligible participants can get their study permit application processed by IRCC within 20 calendar days on average.

IRCC launched the SDS in 2018 to students from India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam. It expanded the program in 2019 to include Pakistan, Senegal, and Morocco.

Those from the above 14 countries wishing to apply for a study permit under the SDS need to meet the following criteria:

  • Language Test: They must have obtained a score of at least 6.0 on the IELTS (either IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training) on each skill: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Francophone candidates need to obtain a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) equivalent of 7 in each skill on the Test d’Evaluation de Français
  • Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of at least $10,000 CAD: This needs to be from an eligible Canadian financial institution
  • Proof of full payment of tuition for the candidate's first year
  • Letter of Acceptance from a Canadian designated learning institution
  • Most recent educational transcript
  • Proof of upfront medical exam: This requirement is for applicants who have lived or travelled for 6 months in designated countries or territories and/or their field of study requires an upfront medical exam

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Canada hosted a record 642,000 international students in 2019. Among the top 15 source countries, India, China, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, and Morocco are SDS participants.

Among today's additions to the SDS, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru are likely to have the most significant impact on international student enrollment in Canada. Canada's population of Brazilian students has increased nearly ten-fold over the last two decades while the Colombian student population has nearly quadrupled. Peru's student population has increased five-fold since 2000. IRCC notes that nearly 16,000 study permits were issued to residents of the seven new SDS countries in 2019, of which about 10,000 went to those in Brazil and some 4,400 to students from Colombia.

For international students, the SDS is beneficial in that it offers greater certainty their study permit application will be approved, and in a timely fashion. For IRCC and DLIs, the SDS is beneficial in that it provides greater certainty candidates are genuinely interested in pursuing education in Canada, and not using education as a loophole to enter Canada for alternative purposes (e.g., to enter the Canadian labour market).

Contact Campbell Cohen Law Firm for Study Permit Assistance

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit to discover your Canadian immigration options.

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Five things to do in your first week as an international student in Canada
A diverse group of cheerful female college students sitting in front of a university building, talking, smiling
Returning to Canada: Immigration Checklist and best practices
A blank passport and model airplane placed on top of a permit. Read on your guide to returning to Canada after the holidays.
Nigerian students critical to ongoing success of Canada’s international education sector
Nigerian flag
Canada extending international student off-campus work hours policy until April 2024
Group of multiethnic classmates in casual clothes smiling and analyzing data on netbook while gathering near table and working on project in university library
Top Stories
Five things to do in your first week as an international student in Canada
Returning to Canada: Immigration Checklist and best practices
Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba invite candidates in this week’s PNP results
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Provinces
Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba invite candidates in this week’s PNP results
Ontario, BC and Manitoba have nominated candidates for PNPs this week.
Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, and PEI invite candidates in latest provincial immigration draw results
Five provinces have invited candidates in the most recent provincial immigration draws.
What the changes to Alberta’s healthcare delivery system mean for newcomers across the province
Alberta province of Canada flag on flagpole textile cloth fabric waving on the top sunrise mist fog
New immigration pilots and policy changes come into effect for Quebec
A couple looks down Mt. Tremblant in Quebec. New changes have come to Quebec's immigration system.
Link copied to clipboard