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Which one is Better Between SDS Category and the Non-SDS Category?

Students looking forward to pursuing their higher education in Canada might get baffled with terms like SDS and non-SDS while applying for the visa. Students must delve deeper and comprehend first both these concepts and their differences.

Student Direct Stream (SDS), earlier known as Students Partner Program (SPP), is an initiative by Canadian Immigration Authorities which enables students to apply for visa applications under the SDS category.  For SDS, only students from 14 countries like India, China, India, Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan, Morocco, Senegal, and Brazil are eligible.

 On the contrary, the Non-SDS is often called the General Category. It is another method of applying for study in Canada. Non-SDS is a general visa application process that helps those candidates who cannot meet the visa requirements to study and work temporarily in Canada.

Can one apply in the SDS category with PTE score?

The answer is No. At present, students cannot apply with a PTE score. An IELTS score of 6.5 bands or higher in each section is necessary to apply for the SDS visa.

How much time does the SDS visa take?

Normally it takes two months max for students to receive the SDS visa. Most students’ visas get processed within 30 days if they fulfill all the eligibility criteria.

Do you need IELTS for non-SDS?

IELTS is the most popular English proficiency test in Canada, but they can prove their English language proficiency by other test scores like TOEFL, and PTE for non-SDS.

How much time does a non-SDS visa take?

Generally, a non -SDS visa application takes 60 days to process even though the authorities state that all types of visa applications are processed within 180 days.

Is it mandatory to submit proof of a student/education loan from a bank for the non-SDS category?

Candidates have to submit financial documents that will help justify their financial stability. The documents include Proof of Income (Income Tax Returns, Form-16, J-Forms) under non-SDS. They can also add liquid assets in the form of GPF, Bank Statements, Fixed Deposits, and many more. A student or education loan taken from a bank is proof of funds too. So, even though it is not mandatory to submit proof of a student loan, it is mandatory to provide proof of financial stability.

Is there any risk to submitting a student visa for Canada in the non-SDS Category?

The answer is “ Absolutely No”. There is no risk involved if a student applies for a study visa in Canada in the non-SDS category instead of SDS. Only the processing time increases, and they don’t necessarily need to open a GIC account (

 With a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), students would require depositing around $10000 (CAD) or more. The deposited money will further help them make sure that they have extra sources to pay for the possible expenses in Canada. It is basically the amount they will get upon arriving in the country.

Some banks that offer GIC include NOVA SCOTIA, ICICI, CIBC, and SBI. As students arrive in Canada, they will get around 2,000 CAD plus any interest, which will be deposited into their account. For the next 12 months after they arrive in the country, students will get approximately an amount of $667 CAD each month)

of 10000 CAD. A GIC is not mandatory and can be replaced with proof of liquid funds. 

Which is Better Between SDS or non-SDS?

SDS is always better than non-SDS in our opinion because for the following reasons:

1. SDS Category needs lesser documents
2. SDS Category takes faster processing time
3. SDS Category has a high success rate if a student has all the required qualifications and documents

Why do Most Students Prefer non-SDS to SDS applications?

The non-SDS Category is more preferred by most students because of the following reasons:-

1. Students prefer PTE and TOEFL to the IELTS test, and they are also accepted in non-SDS
2. Students are reluctant to pay full years of tuition fees at one go.
3. Students don’t like to open a GIC account of 10000 CAD as they also have the option to show proof of funds for their living expenses.

Which College and Universities intake SDS Category Students?

There are a lot of SDS colleges in Canada that have a Designated Learning Number (DLN). The list of colleges is as follows:

  • Selkirk College
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Vancouver Island University 
  • Bow Valley College, Calgary
  • Lakeland College
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Norquest College
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Assiniboine Community College
  • Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Winnipeg 
  • Red River College of Applied Arts, Science & Technology
  • Parkland College
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic
  • Lasalle College
  • Lambton College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Georgian College of Arts & Technology
  • Fanshawe College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Durham College
  • Confederation College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Conestoga College
  • Clair College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Centennial College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Canadore College -North Bay, Ontario
  • Cambrian College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Algonquin College
  • Camosun College
  • College of New Caledonia
  • College of the Rockies
  • Columbia International College
  • Douglas College
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Langara College
  • North Island College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
  • Red River College of Applied Arts, Science & Technology
  • Niagara College
  • Parkland College
  • Fleming College
  • Loyalist College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Canadore College
  • Vancouver Island University
  • Northern Lights College
  • Columbia International College 
  • Lakeland College 
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Lasalle College
  • Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Sault College
  • Northern College 
  • Mohawk College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Lawrence College
  • Dawson College
  • Alberta Bible College
  • Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Niagara College
  • Loyalist College of Applied Arts & Technology
  • Sheridan College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
  • George Brown College

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