Get a study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream

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Student Direct Stream: About the process

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get your study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream.

We try to process most Student Direct Stream applications within 20 calendar days. However, some applications may take longer than this.

To get this faster processing, you must:

  • give your biometrics as soon as possible
  • meet all the eligibility requirements

A study permit is not a visa. It does not, by itself, allow you to travel to or enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). If you do, we’ll issue it with your study permit.

Who can apply

To be eligible for faster processing through the Student Direct Stream, you must:

  • be a legal resident living in:
    • China
    • India
    • Pakistan
    • the Philippines or
    • Vietnam
  • have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution
  • prove that you’ve paid the tuition fees for your first year of study
  • live outside of Canada when you apply
  • have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000
  • have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion
    • This is only if you’re planning to study in Quebec
  • get a medical exam before you apply (if you need one)
  • get a police certificate before you apply (if you need one)
  • have your most recent secondary or post-secondary school transcript(s)
  • have a language test result that shows:
    • a score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening) on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or
    • a Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) score that is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening)

Depending on where you’re applying from, you may also need to provide other documents. Make sure you include all the documents required by the visa office that processes your application.

We may ask you to give additional documents to support your application. In this situation, your application will take longer to process.

Who isn’t eligible for the Student Direct Stream

If you live anywhere other than 1 of the countries listed above (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), you must apply through the regular study permit application process.

If you live in another country (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), or if you don’t meet the eligibility for faster processing, you may still be eligible for a study permit through the regular study permit application process.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

A GIC is a Canadian investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time. Many banks offer GICs. The bank that gives you the GIC must:

  • confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you 1 of the following:
    • a letter of attestation
    • a GIC certificate
    • an Investment Directions Confirmation or
    • an Investment Balance Confirmation
  • hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you can’t access until you arrive in Canada
  • make you confirm your identity before they release any funds to you
  • release the funds to you by providing:
    • an initial lump sum once you identify yourself upon arrival in Canada
    • the remainder of the funds in monthly or bi-monthly installments over 10 to 12 months

If your bank or GIC doesn’t meet these criteria, you won’t be able to apply through the Student Direct Stream.

Banks that offer GICs

You can get a GIC from a bank listed on the Canadian Deposit Insurance Company website. Make sure the bank you choose offers a GIC and meets the criteria for the Student Direct Stream.

The following banks offer GICs that meet the criteria:

Medical exams and police certificates

Depending on where you’re applying from, you may need to get a medical exam or police certificate. To get faster processing through the Student Direct Stream, you must include these with your application (if you need them). If you don’t, we won’t process your application faster.

Who needs a medical exam

You may need to get a medical exam if:

  • you lived or travelled in certain countries or territories for 6 or more months in the year before you come to Canada, or
  • you plan on studying or working in:
    • the health field
    • primary or secondary education, or
    • child or elder care

To get a medical exam, you must see a doctor that has been approved by IRCC.

Find out more about medical exams.

Who needs a police certificate

Your visa office instructions will tell you if you need to get a police certificate. You’ll find these instructions when you select your country of residence below. Make sure you read these instructions before you apply, so you know if you need a police certificate or any other documents to apply.

Find out more about police certificates.

Bring your spouse, partner or child with you to Canada

Your spouse, common-law partner and dependent children may also be able to get faster processing on a:

  • visitor visa
  • work permit
  • study permit

You must complete and submit their applications at the same time as your own. If you don’t, we won’t process their applications faster. When you apply online, select that you have family members coming with you to Canada. This will let you complete their applications with yours.

Apply through the Student Direct Stream

You must apply online to get faster processing on your study permit. There's no paper application for the Student Direct Stream. Make sure you include all the documents required with your application.

Before you apply online, make sure you have:

  • the instruction guide to fill out your forms
  • a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents, and
  • a valid credit or debit card to pay with

Pay your biometrics fee

In most cases, you need to give biometrics. You should pay the biometrics fee when you submit your application online. If you don’t pay this fee, we may not be able to process your application faster.

If you need help with giving your biometrics or sending us your passport, you can visit the nearest visa application centre.

Get the instructions to apply online

Select the country or territory you’re applying from to get your local visa office instructions and to apply online:

  • China
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Vietnam

After you apply

1. You need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)

Once you pay your fees (including your biometrics fee) and submit your application, we’ll send you a letter that says you need to give your biometrics (if you need to). The letter will tell you how and where to do this. You need to bring this letter when you give your biometrics. You also need to bring your valid passport. You have up to 30 days to give your biometrics in person.

If you didn’t pay the biometrics fee, we’ll send you a letter asking you to do this first. You can only get the instruction letter if you pay the biometrics fee.

2. We process your study permit application

Once we receive your biometrics, we’ll be able to process your study permit application. We process most Student Direct Stream applications within 20 calendar days after we receive your biometrics, if you meet the eligibility.

If your application doesn’t meet the eligibility for the Student Direct Stream, we’ll review it as a regular study permit. You won’t get faster processing if this happens.

Find out how long it takes to process a regular study permit application.

If we approve your application

We’ll send you:

  • a letter of introduction
    • This isn’t your study permit. You need to show this letter to the officer when you arrive in Canada.
  • an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa (temporary resident visa), depending on which you need to enter Canada
If you need an eTA

Your letter of introduction will have information about it. Your eTA will be electronically linked to your passport and will be valid for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Make sure you travel with the passport you used to apply.

If you need a visitor visa

We’ll ask you to send your passport to the nearest visa office so we can attach your visa to it. Your visa will be in your passport and will show if you can enter Canada once or multiple times. You must enter Canada before your visa expires.

Getting your study permit

When you arrive at the port of entry, an officer will make sure you meet the requirements to enter Canada. If there are no problems, the officer will then print your study permit and give it to you. Make sure you have all the documents you need to enter Canada with you.

Your study permit is normally valid until the end of your school program. If your passport expires before the end of your study program, your permit will only be valid until your passport expiry date. If this happens, you’ll need to apply to extend your study permit once you have a new passport.

If you have questions or there’s a mistake on your study permit, ask the officer before you leave.

If we refuse your application

We’ll send you a letter explaining why you were refused. If you have questions, contact the office that sent the refusal letter.

Credit cards and prepaid cards

We accept credit cards and prepaid cards from:

  • Visa®
  • MasterCard®
  • American Express®
  • JCB®
  • UnionPay® (for online applications only; debit cards not accepted)

If you use a prepaid credit card, keep it for at least 18 months after you pay to make refunds easier. Find more on prepaid cards.

We also accept all Visa Debit cards. The card you use doesn't have to be in your name. The cardholder’s name will appear on the receipt but it does not need to match your application.

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