There is good news for Indian students wanting to go to Canada for higher education. The Canadian government is gradually opening its borders for international students with new travel guidelines. Students can also benefit from travel permits through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).
- Students can apply for study visa through the SDS and non-SDS process
- From January 15, 2022, fully vaccinated international students with a valid study permit can enter Canada
- More than 2 lakh Indian students are currently enrolled in Canadian universities, as of July 2021, as per data from the Indian government
The SDS. is an expedited study permit processing programme for those who are applying to study in Canada at a post-secondary designated learning institution (DLI). It is available to legal residents of countries including India, China, Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan, The Philippines and Vietnam.
IELTS Academic and IELTS General test scores will be accepted for those applying for study visas through SDS. For the non-SDS applicants, IELTS Academic and General, TOEFL and PTE Academic test scores will be taken in.
Student Travel Policy
As far as the travel rules are concerned, to enter Canada as a student, you must qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller. You must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction that is proof of your approved study permit. You must also be eligible to attend a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). However, even if you are fully vaccinated, you must have a 14-day quarantine plan in place before arriving in Canada. The final decision on whether you are required to quarantine on arrival will be taken by the country’s border services officials.
In some cases, international students can get their study visas faster through the SDS. The applications are processed within 20 days by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada(IRCC), provided the eligibility requirements are fulfilled.
The vaccines accepted in the country are Sinopharm, Sinovac, Covaxin, and those by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Canada is a preferred study abroad destination as it is home to a globally recognized education system and QS-ranked Universities worldwide. The best educational institutes for Indian students are University of Toronto, McGill University, and University of British Columbia.
Last year, several students faced challenges in returning to their campuses as the Justin Trudeau government had put in place strict measures and banned direct flights. The Indian government had communicated to the Canadian authorities about the 33,000 Indian students regarding the resumption of direct flights.
However, Canada had extended the ban on direct flights from India until August 31, due to concerns related to the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The Canadian High Commission in India, and VFS Global (an outsourcing and technology services company that serves governments and diplomatic missions worldwide) had introduced a new process in visa application centres across India.
More than 2 lakh Indian students are currently enrolled in Canadian universities, as of July 2021, as per the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Key Documents For Applying Through SDS
Proof of Valid English Language Proficiency Test: Completed within two years of the date the SDS application was received, showing either an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher in each language skill: listening, reading, writing and speaking
Proof of full payment of tuition fee: For the applicant’s first year of study in the form of a receipt from the DLI, an official letter from the DLI confirming payment of tuition fees, a receipt from a bank showing that tuition fees have been paid to the DLI or other proofs of tuition fee transfer.