List of SDS Colleges in Canada: All You Need to Know about SDS Colleges

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Launched in 2018, Student Direct Stream or SDS is a students’ visa process that allows aspirants from India, Vietnam, China, the Philippines and other nations to study in various designated Canadian institutions. SDS is an expedited study program that comes with minimal documentation and a highly streamlined visa application process. 

Indian students looking to study in Canada through SDS should be aware of the designated institutions offering this study program. The following sections will provide a comprehensive rundown on SDS along with a list of SDS colleges in Canada, eligibility criteria and more. 

sds colleges in canada

About SDS Colleges in Canada

The SDS is a faster visa processing system meant for students from some of the selected countries. Under this program, the visa application of students from various countries will be processed within 45 calendar days. These applications will be subject to regulations and guidelines of regular study visa application streams. Various Canadian institutions with a registered DLI (Designated Learning Institution) number will be included under this program. International students enrolling on the SDS program will get to enrol in one of these SDS colleges. 

List of SDS Colleges in Canada

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List of SDS Colleges in Canada: All You Need to Know about SDS Colleges
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Most Canadian institutions come with a Designated Learning Institution number, making them a part of the Student Direct Stream program. Here are some of the significant SDS colleges in Canada that Indian students can apply for:   

Name of the InstitutionLocationOffers Post-Graduate Work Permit
Algoma UniversityBramptonYes
Algonquin College OttawaYes
University of WaterlooWaterlooYes
Centennial CollegeTorontoYes
Georgian CollegeBarrieYes
Wilfrid Laurier University BrantfordYes
Sault College TorontoYes
Sheridan CollegeBramptonYes
McMaster UniversityBurlingtonYes
Fleming CollegeLindsayYes
Brock UniversityHamiltonYes
Humber CollegeTorontoYes
Fanshawe CollegeSimcoeYes
Seneca College King CityYes
Lakehead UniversityThunder BayYes
Queen’s UniversityKingstonYes
University of TorontoTorontoYes

In addition to the list of institutions mentioned above, there are also several other Canadian colleges that are included in the SDS program. 

List of Countries under SDS 

The Student Direct Stream is limited to students from a handful of countries intending to pursue post-secondary education in Canada. Here is a list of countries that qualify for the SDS visa program:

  • India
  • China
  • Pakistan
  • Colombia
  • Antigua and Barbados
  • Morocco
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Vietnam
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Brazil and others

Students from these nations can enjoy faster and simplified study permit processing along with a $10,000 GIC that will cover one-year study abroad expenses. 

Eligibility for SDS Program

Candidates aiming to qualify for the SDS program have to meet certain eligibility requirements. Indian candidates are required to fulfil the following criteria: 

  • Students have to clear the IELTS test with a minimum overall score band of 6 or more. This is applicable for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses under SDS.
  • One should possess the acceptance letter from the institution that they wish to pursue higher education courses.
  • Candidates applying for a study permit through SDS should submit the first-year tuition fee in advance during visa application.
  • Applicants have to purchase a GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) worth $10,000 to ensure the availability of funds during the stay. 
  • Students applying for the institutions should have a DLI number.

Necessary Documents for SDS Program

Study abroad aspirants aiming to pursue higher education in Canada through the Student Direct Stream program should furnish the following documents to streamline the application process:

  • Documents related to previous academic performance
  • A proof of the payment of $10,000 GIC
  • A copy of a recent medical examination conducted by an authorised institution
  • Proof of the payment of tuition fee for the first year
  • Test report of IELTS 
  • A copy of the acceptance letter from one of the SDS colleges

Note: The proof of the GIC payment can be obtained from the bank in the form of a GIC certificate or letter of attestation. 

Also Read: IELTS 5.5 Band Colleges in Canada

Application Procedure

Notably, one cannot apply for the Student Direct System offline. So, aspirants seeking to receive a Canadian study permit through SDS have to apply online mandatorily. Here is a brief overview of the process: 

  1. First, fill up the online application form, pay the biometric fees and submit the application. 
  2. Candidates will have to provide the biometrics within 30 days of the submission of the online application form. They will receive a request letter for biometrics outlining all relevant details. Application form processing will not begin until one provides the biometrics.
  3. After submitting biometrics, applicants will be required to provide medical examination reports and/or police certificates. 
  4. Now, the study permit application will be processed. If the candidates do not meet SDS eligibility, then it will be treated as a regular study permit application. In such circumstances, the processing time might be extended.
  5. If the application is approved, candidates will receive a letter of introduction and a temporary resident visa for Canada. 

However, one must remember that this letter of introduction is not a study permit. Candidates will have to furnish this letter to the officer on reaching Canada to receive the study permit document. On receiving the study permit, students should check it thoroughly to make sure it does not have any discrepancies. 

Also Read: Canada Post Study Work Permits (PGWP) For Indian Students

SDS vs. Non-SDS Visa Program

As mentioned earlier, the SDS program offers an expedited study permit application processing for students of selected nationalities. The process is fast, hassle-free and requires lesser financial documents. Non-SDS, on the other hand, is a general category to apply for a study permit in Canada. Candidates who fail to qualify for the SDS visa program can apply through this process. The requirements will be different, and candidates will be asked to submit more documents.Student Direct Stream is usually a preferred option as compared to Non-SDS because of the following factors:

  • Faster Process: SDS program is relatively more streamlined than the Non-SDS process. The time taken to complete the entire process is around 45 days.
  • Reduced Documentation: In the SDS visa program, candidates have to provide fewer documents to prove their financial eligibility. Conversely, one has to provide numerous documents under the Non-SDS system.
SDS Colleges in Canada

The Student Direct System program is undoubtedly one of the best processes to receive a Canadian study permit. Indian students aiming to pursue higher education in any of the SDS colleges in Canada can apply through SDS visa program to enjoy a faster and more efficient study permit application processing. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which banks provide GIC to Indian students?

Ans: The following banks offer GIC to Indian students intending to study in Canada through SDS program:
a. ICICI Bank
b. HSBC Bank
c. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
d. SBI Canada
e. Scotia Bank

2. Is it necessary to apply with an SOP in the case of SDS visa program?

Ans: It is not mandatory to provide a Statement of Purpose while applying for a Canadian study permit through Student Direct System. However, there is no harm in attaching one with the application. If you are confident about your profile, you do not need to provide an SOP

3. How are SDS colleges different from non-SDS ones?

Ans: SDS colleges in Canada are those which come with DLI numbers and accept international students applying under the Student Direct Stream visa program. On the other hand, non-SDS colleges do not come with a DLI number and are not part of the SDS study program. These institutions provide admission to international students who apply for a Canadian work permit through the standard process. 

4. Which are some of the top SDS colleges in Ontario province?

Ans: Some of the leading SDS colleges in Ontario include Sault College, Niagara College, Durham College, Fleming College, Fanshawe College, Centennial College, Algonquin College, George Brown College, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canadore College, Lawrence College, Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technology and more. 

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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