Student Direct Stream (SDS)

About the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

There are two pathways available for a study permit application: the regular stream, and the Student Direct Stream (SDS). SDS is offered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is an expedited study permit process for students meeting all eligibility requirements. As of winter 2022, UBC offers pre-payment of tuition for eligible international students starting in any future term.

If you are a student from the Okanagan campus, review the UBC Okanagan guide.

SDS eligibility requirements

Admitted students must be eligible to register in the Student Service Centre (SSC) before making tuition prepayment.

To be eligible, applicants must reside in certain countries and show full pre-payment of tuition for their first year of studies, among other documents. Review the specific requirements on the IRCC website.

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is available to those who are legal residents of the following countries at the time of application:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Senegal
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vietnam

Students studying in the Diploma in Accounting program are not eligible to prepay tuition so cannot apply through the Student Direct Stream.

We recommend that students living in a country which is not their country of citizenship include a letter of explanation about their residency status and a copy of their valid status in their application.

Please note that the SDS estimated processing times are not guaranteed. Apply for your study permit as soon as possible.

If you've already applied for a study permit

If you submitted a complete regular stream study permit application, in most cases we do not recommend you submit a second application through SDS. If you have any additional SDS-required documents you did not include in your application, you can submit them via the IRCC webform to be added to your existing application.

If your registration has now opened, see the "if you have registered in courses" section below for information on how to get proof of tuition payment and send a webform to add this to your application.

If you apply through the regular stream and an officer requests proof of tuition payment or other documents after you’ve applied, see what to do in the  FAQ topic.

About the pre-payment

Pre-payment amount

Eligible students can pre-pay the full amount of their first-year’s tuition.

  • For undergraduate students and post-baccalaureate students, this includes Term 1 and Term 2 tuition.
  • For graduate students, this includes Term 1 and Term 2 plus the following Summer Session.

Please refer to information about paying tuition for currently accepted methods of payment.

UBC will not accept pre-payment of student fees, such as special course fees and health insurance. Students will still be responsible to pay student fees after they register and before the standard due date.

When to prepay

If your registration has not yet opened

Graduate students will need to request to prepay tuition for the following terms.

Eligibility to register in the Student Service Centre (SSC) is a requirement for prepayment. Eligibility is created when a student has accepted their offer and has satisfied the conditional admission requirements outlined by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Requirements can include the receipt of official documents.

  • 2022 Winter Session Term 1 (Sept to Dec 2022)
  • 2022 Winter Session Term 2 (Jan to Apr 2023)
  • 2023 Summer Session (May to Aug 2023)

Undergraduate students will need to request prepay tuition for the following terms.

  • 2022 Winter Session Term 1 (Sept to Dec 2022)
  • 2022 Winter Session Term 2 (Jan to Apr 2023)

If your registration has already opened

You will still need to register for classes after your registration date has opened even if you have made a SDS Pre-payment.

Graduate Students: Please register for 2022 Winter Session Term 1 and 2 and pay the fees displayed in your Student Service Centre (SSC) in "Pay Fees" under Finances. You may then request to pre-pay tuition for the 2022 Summer Session (May to Aug 2023).

For students accepted into graduate programs starting in Winter Term 1 that do not follow the standard registration date schedule, if you cannot register now, you may request to prepay tuition fees.

Undergraduate Students: Please register for 2022 Winter Session Term 1 and 2 and pay the fees displayed in your Student Service Centre in "Pay Fees" under Finances. You do not need to apply for SDS pre-payment.

If you have registered in courses

You can get proof of enrolment from your Student Service Centre (SSC) by selecting “Proof of Enrolment Letters” under Grades and Records. 

For proof of tuition payment, select "Tuition History" under Finances in your SSC. It may take 1-5 days for tuition payment to appear on your account. 

If you have not applied for a study permit yet, include proof of tuition payment in the "proof of means of financial support" section of your document checklist along with your other financial documents. Be sure to review our initial study permit tutorial to prepare your application and apply as soon as possible.

If you already applied for a study permit

If you have already applied for a study permit through the regular stream, you can send IRCC a webform to request that your proof of tuition payment is added to your application, along with as many other SDS required documents as you can provide if you did not include them in your application.  

Requesting SDS pre-payment

The Student Direct Stream application is now open.

  1. Review the special requirements for SDS to decide if you will use it to apply for your study permit.
  2. Submit an online request to UBC for pre-payment.
  3. In 2 to 3 days, your payment will be posted on the Student Service Centre (SSC).
  4. Go to your Student Service Centre (SSC) and make your payment towards “SDS Pre-payment”.

Finding your tuition rate

Tuition varies by program. To find the normal tuition for the first year of your program, see the Vancouver or Okanagan academic calendars.

Please be aware that the amount you can prepay for SDS is an estimate only. Your exact balance owing will be available in your Student Service Centre (SSC) in "Pay Fees" under Finances after you register.

If you've already paid an acceptance deposit

  • Undergraduate students
    You must pay an acceptance deposit at the time you accept your offer. This amount will be automatically deducted from your SDS pre-payment request once it appears in your Student Service Centre (SSC) account.
  • Graduate students
    Some graduate programs may require an acceptance deposit. If an acceptance deposit applies to your program, you’ll need to pay the deposit following the instructions provided by your program before proceeding with this request. You can deduct the amount of your deposit from your pre-pay request.

If you have a scholarship or award

You will need to deduct this amount from the prepay request submitted to UBC. When you apply for your study permit, combine all your tuition proofs (pre-payment plus awards, scholarships or loans plus any large deposits).

If you have a credit balance

If you already have a tuition credit on your account that is equal or greater than your estimated first year of study, you do not need to fill out the request form to have an SDS deposit charge added to your Financial Summary account under your Student Service Centre (SSC). Log in to your Student Service Centre (SSC) account, navigate to "Financial Summary" under Finances, and print out the Financial Summary page, showing that your existing tuition credit is equal or greater than your estimated first year tuition.

If you have a credit balance that is less than your estimated first year of study, you should still request the full estimated first year of study as your existing credit will be deducted from the SDS Tuition Prepayment. You will be prompted to pay the difference.

Proving that you've paid

  1. In your Student Service Centre (SSC), navigate to "Financial Summary" under Finances.
  2. Select "SDS Tuition Prepayment" under Transaction Record.
  3. When the Payment Details window opens, verify that your payment status says “Approved.”
  4. You can take a screenshot or print out that page. To be considered proof of payment, the screenshot or print-out must include the “Approved” status and the payment amount.
  5. Repeat these steps for every prepayment you have made.

If you pay by credit card, you can obtain proof of payment right away from your Student Service Centre (SSC).

If you pay by International Funds Transfer (now known as Convera, formerly Western Union Business Solutions), you will have to follow the steps to make the payment, then wait a minimum of 3 business days before your payment is recorded on your SSC account.

If you pay by online banking through a Canadian financial institution, the description of your receipt on your Student Service Centre (SSC) will appear as “EDI payment from bank” instead of “SDS Tuition Prepayment” under Transaction Record. In addition, the “Approved” status will not be displayed on your receipt; however, the receipt is still considered a valid proof of payment and will not negatively impact your SDS application.

When you apply for your study permit, combine all your tuition proofs (pre-payment plus awards, scholarships or loans, plus any large deposits).

If you overpay

It is strongly recommended that you do not overpay in excess of your first year of tuition. If you overpay, funds will remain on your student account for future session fees.

You must pay your acceptance deposit before you can pre-pay tuition. In the request to pre-pay tuition, indicate the amount of your deposit. If you have written proof that you are getting awards, scholarships or loans, include the total amount in the request to pre-pay tuition. You can deduct the total from your tuition amount and pre-pay the remainder. Include the proof of awards, scholarships or loans and the UBC proof of pre-payment in your study permit application.

If you expect additional awards, scholarships or loans but do not have written proof, you cannot count those toward full tuition pre-payment.

Preparing your study permit application

Carefully review all steps of UBC's step-by-step initial study permit tutorial to prepare your application.

Go to tutorial

If you need help