What Is Non-SDS Canada

You may have probably heard of Non-SDS Canada before, but you don’t know what it means or how it works. 

SDS means Student Direct Stream Canada. Non-SDSis an immigration option that allows international students to live and work in Canada after graduation without having to first get a job offer from an employer. 

It’s intended to enable foreign graduates who have studied at Canadian institutions of higher learning to stay in the country and contribute to its economy by working in their field of study or training. 

Move to Canada Through Express Entry APPLYNOW
Get a Job in Canada APPLYNOW
Study in Canada APPLYNOW
Get Canadian Scholarships APPLYNOW
Migrate To Canada APPLYNOW

This guide to non-SDS Canada will help you understand why the system exists and why many people dislike it. 

But it will also explain why non-SDS Canada can be good if you know what to do about it.

Here we discuss what the program entails and why you should take advantage of it if you’re eligible.

By reading this guide, you’ll learn more about SDS in Canada and how non-SDS Canada can be used to your advantage.

What Is Non-SDS Canada

Non-SDS Canada programs allow international students to complete the third year of a Canadian university degree with no out-of-pocket cost. 

This is because, unlike the other alternatives available, these Non-SDS Canada programs are Government funded. 

Like any government service or program, there are disadvantages to this as well as advantages.

The main advantage of this program comes from money: since the Canadian Government covers everything, students do not have to worry about paying tens of thousands of dollars for their third year of education abroad. 

The disadvantage, however, lies in getting into one of these programs: since they are all Government funded, the spots fill up quickly, and admission processes can be challenging to navigate. 

That being said, if you qualify, then it is worth looking into.

Non-SDS Visa Requirements

Language Proficiency

Non-SDS students must take a language proficiency test before coming to Canada. 

The test’s language depends on the country from which they apply. 

Those from French-speaking countries, such as France, must take a French language proficiency test. 

Students from English-speaking countries can opt for either English or French tests. 

These tests have a variety of levels, so non-SDS students will be able to find one that suits their needs.

Travel Document

All prospective students need to present valid travel documents to come to Canada. 

This means passports or national identity cards with a photo for visa purposes. 

The passport must also be valid for at least six months after the planned departure date from Canada (or three months if traveling with an Electronic Travel Authorization). 

If these requirements are not met, an individual cannot attend school in Canada and would need a visitor visa instead.

GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate)

Students must sign a document that guarantees that a certain amount of money will be invested for a specific period. 

The interest earned from the certificate will be higher than the current bank rates.

Non-SDS Document Requirements for Visa Application

  • An official academic transcript, which includes the grade report from grade 12. 
    Candidates must have earned an overall grade point average in undergraduate courses of at least 55%.
  • Undergraduate or graduate degree. To enroll in postgraduate courses, candidates must have a minimum GPA of 50% or higher.
  • IELTS scores for English proficiency are at least 6.0 for UG and 6.5 overall for PG.
  • Letter of acceptance from the colleges taking part in Non-SDS.
  • Proof of recent employment history and the last three months’ pay stubs.
  • Evidence of money, such as bank savings, student loans, investments, etc.
  • Income tax returns or form 16 from the sponsor or the candidate
  • payment of the tuition
  • evidence of required medical testing
  • A $150 visa application fee

Visas Under Non-SDS

There are four types of visas under Non-SDS: Student Visa, Work Permit, Visitors Visa, and Temporary Resident Visa.

A student visa is issued when the applicant is pursuing full-time studies at a public or private institution. 

A work permit is granted if the applicant wishes to work in Canada. 

The visitor visa would be applied for by any traveler outside of Canada who wishes to come in and stay for a specific amount of time.

And a temporary resident visa is applied for by those who wish to visit Canada to settle permanently.

The processing times of these different visas vary depending on which one you apply for.

List of Non-SDS Colleges in Canada

The following is the list of non-SDS colleges in Canada

  1. Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 
  2. George Brown College, 
  3. Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 
  4. Niagara College Canada, 
  5. Cambrian College Canada, 
  6. Durham College Canada
  7. Ryerson University Toronto, 
  8. Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, 
  9. Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technologies 
  10. Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technologies 
  11. Georgian college 
  12. Mohawk college 
  13. Loyalist college 
  14. Northern College 
  15. Sheridan College 
  16. Niagara Regional Community Colleges 
  17. Fanshawe college

Application Process for Non-SDS

Step 1: Go to the official CIC Canada website and log in using your account using your GCKey username and password. 

Accept the terms and conditions and complete the identification verification.

Step 2: Begin your application and enter your unique reference code. 

Note: If you don’t have a reference code, check your eligibility by answering some questions (a quick survey), then submit an online application. 

Save the results and then quit the survey.

Step 3: After answering all the questions, a pop-up will inform you of your eligibility. Then move on to the subsequent phase if you are qualified.

Step 4: Go over each response again.

Step 5: Verify your checklist and paperwork. If there are any requirements that you forgot, add them.

Step 6:Publish your application.

Reasons Why to Choose Non-SDS over SDS?

There are various reasons why you should choose Non-SDS over SDS Canada;

First, a selected number of countries are eligible for SDS, while Non-SDS is for all countries. Only 14 countries are eligible for the SDS program. 

Non-SDS applications are for work, study, or immigration, while SDS is only for study. 

The tuition fee required is only for six months upfront compared to SDS, which is one year. 

English proficiency test is flexible for Non-SDS as it has the option of PTE TOFEL while SDS requires only IETLS. 

On another end, the visa process is longer for Non-SDS, but GIC, although a requirement, is not mandatory, in contrast to SDS. 


Non-SDS Canada is a program for international students. International students can apply for this visa once they have been accepted into a program of study at an eligible school in Canada. 

The process can be confusing and overwhelming, but if you’re prepared with all the information you need, then it will be easy. 

Students can then contact the Non-SDS team at [email protected] if they are interested in being considered for this program.

We recommend following @non_sds_canada on Instagram if you want to learn more about what non-SDS Canada is.

Leave a Comment