Difference Between SDS and non-SDS Colleges in Canada

Canada,Overseas education

Canada is one of the most popular and preferred countries that students who are interested in pursuing higher education choices. However, applying for colleges in foreign countries like Canada may end up being a lengthy and devastating process.

You would have to look for colleges, apply for visas and whatnot to study abroad. When applying for a visa, one of the most confusing moments that arise is understanding what SDS (Student Direct Stream previously known as SPP meaning Student Partner Program) and non-SDS (referred to as the General Category) actually are.

These are uncommon terms, but hold great importance to the visa application. So, before you proceed with the visa, it is important for you to understand the key difference between SDS and non-SDS.

What are SDS and Non-SDS?


To find out what are the SDS and Non-SDS colleges in Canada and choose to apply, it is important to have a closer look at the two terms.

About SDS

SDS or Student Direct Stream is an immigration service of Canada’s student partner program for international students. It is one of the quickest ways for students from other nations and countries to apply to study in Canada directly.

However, to get an SDS visa in Canada, students have to meet a few requirements which can only be done online.

Also know that it is governed by Canada’s Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Act.

Now let’s find out the difference between SDS and non-SDS by understanding non-SDS from a closer perspective.

About Non-SDS

Non-SDS option is especially for those international students who are unable to meet the standards of the Student Direct Stream or SDS.

They can apply for a temporary residency in Canada through this option which is considered to be a conventional visa application process.


However, the requirements tend to change because a non-SDS visa in Canada requires the submission of a lot of documents. Now that you know the difference between SDS and non-SDS, let’s discover the visa requirements for the two.

What is the Visa Requirement for SDS and Non-SDS in Canada?


The table curated below will help you to understand the visa requirement which will also give you a clear understanding of the difference between SDS and Non-SDS


SDS Visa Requirement Non-SDS Visa Requirement

  • You must have the knowledge of a foreign language and should have scored a minimum of 6.0 as you may have to undergo an IELTS Academic or the IELTS General test.



  • You must have a valid travel document.


  • Candidates must put down a deposit of $10,000 in the form of a GIC. The necessity for a deposit assures that the student is safe in Canada and has the necessary finances.



  • Students need to make full payment of the first-year tuition price and show proof of payment in the form of a receipt.



  • Some other prerequisites include Academic transcripts, including the high school mark sheet where the student should have scored a minimum of 55 per cent on their final exam.
  • Advanced diploma undergraduate degree with a minimum of 50%.


(Standard Operating Procedure) (Statement of Purpose)


  • Letters of acceptance from SDS colleges in Canada


  • Photographs on a Computer


  • Evidence of previous work experience


  • Evidence of required medical testing


  • A $150 visa application fee is required.
  • Candidates have to demonstrate their language skills by taking tests like the IELTS, PTE, or TOEFL.


  • One should have a valid travel document.



  • Candidates need to put in a deposit of $10,000 in the form of a GIC. The necessity for a deposit assures that the student is safe in Canada and has the necessary finances.




  • Non-SDS candidates have to show the receipt that their tuition costs over the period of six months have been paid.


  • Several basic medical exams must be completed.


  • Some other prerequisites that need to be considered include Documents for Education, Photographs in digital format, and Financial Documents with a Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of acceptance from non-SDS colleges in Canada, Evidence of prior work experience, documents pertaining to tax returns, Tuition Fees Receipt,
  • Fees for visa applications, etc.


It is important to know that the Canada SDS processing time may take around 20 days.

While the Canada Non-SDS visa processing time can be expected to be around seven weeks of time.


What is the Real Difference between SDS and Non-SDS Colleges in Canada?


Before you apply for the college or even know their names, make sure to find out the real difference between SDS and non-SDS colleges in Canada. Well, probably the Student Direct Stream or the Student Partnership Program is a joint initiative of citizenship and immigration Canada and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

Its goal is to help Indian students so that they can pursue their higher education in the country. However, the distinction between SDS and non-SDS colleges in Canada is that the SDS colleges help students in completing the process of visas quickly and require minimal paperwork. They have DLI numbers and accept overseas students.

The Non-SDS colleges require more paperwork while the application process is quite the same. They do not have DLI numbers and are definitely not part of the SDS study program. Not to mention, the processing time of visas for SDS and non-SDS colleges in Canada also differ from each other.


What are some SDS and Non-SDS Colleges in Canada?


Thinking about what are some of the SDS and non-SDS colleges in Canada? Well then, the table curated below will help you to find out their names so that you can apply to any one of them.


list of SDS colleges in Canada list of non-SDS colleges in Canada
  • Algoma University
  • Algonquin College
  • Sault College
  • Sheridan College
  • McMaster University
  • Fleming College
  • University of Waterloo
  • Centennial College
  • Georgian College
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Lakehead University
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Toronto
  • Brock University
  • Humber College
  • Fanshawe College
  • Parkland College
  • Nothern Lights College
  • College of the Rockies
  • Lasalle College
  • Langara College
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Seneca College
  • Acsenda School Of Management
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Cape Breton University
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • University Canada West
  • Cambrian College
  • Mcmaster University
  • University Of Northern
  • British Columbia
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Brock University
  • University Of Windsor
  • King’s University College
  • Lakehead University
  • Royal Roads University
  • York University

What is the Application Process of SDS VS Non-SDS Visa?


Before you apply to SDS and non-SDS colleges in Canada, it is important to know that both visas have a similar application process. However, students must keep in mind that they have to pick a category between SDS and Non-SDS, before filling out the form and submitting the application. So, let’s check out the step-by-step guide for Non-SDS and SDS applications in Canada.

  • Create GC Key Account- First you need to create a GCKey Account by visiting the Immigration Refugee Citizenship (IRCC) website.
  • Login – Now you need to login into your account and fill in the required details for the preferred visa depending on the eligibility.
  • Upload documents – Make sure to upload the scanned copies of the required documents.
  • Pay the fees – It is important to know that the fees are divided into two categories that include application fees and biometric fees. A CAD 150 application cost is needed per head with an extra CAD 85 biometrics fee.

Once the money is paid, you would receive a link to a biometric request letter. Moreover, in order to expedite the application process, one must furnish biometrics like fingerprints and photographs.

  • Time for medical and background checking – Once your biometric form has been approved, you may be required to undergo the medical exams alongside the background checking.
  • Approval of Visa – Once the visa has been approved, you will obtain a letter of introduction and a temporary residence visa for your visit to Canada as an international student. Or else you may also get an electronic travel authorization.

Apart from this, you should know that the letter of introduction and temporary residence visa will be validated by the official authorities at the time when the international student arrives in Canada.

  • Get your study permit – In the last step, you can expect the officer to grant you a study permit once all the eligibility criteria have been met at the entrance port.

Which is Better – SDS or Non-SDS?


The non – SDS visa category has a lower rate of success compared to the SDS category. This is simply because of the fact that the number of documents SDS demands is lower than non-SDS.

Apart from that, it has a faster processing time and the success rate is also higher if the required qualifications and documents are present with the student.

However, it is totally up to you when it comes to making a choice between SDS and Non-SDS. Make sure that you consider the number of documents you have and other factors before making any decision and applying for a college in Canada as an international student. You can always go for a professional Overseas Education Consultants to ease your process of studying abroad.

Tag Post :
Share This :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Post

Don't Hesitate To Contact Us

Need any assistance for your abroad education?

Contact Us Now!

Get your FREE Consultation

Fill the form below