Student Direct Stream (SDS)

About the Student Direct Stream (SDS)

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is an expedited study permit process for international students meeting certain eligibility requirements, offered by Immigration and Citizenship (IC).

This means that as an international student, you can get your study permit processed faster if you prepay your UBC tuition. If you are eligible and choose this option, note that SDS estimated processing times are not guaranteed. Apply for your study permit as soon as possible.

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

Follow the steps below if you’re interested in the Student Direct Stream option:

  1. Check if you meet the eligibility requirements below for the Student Direct Stream.
  2. Follow the instructions below to request a prepayment.
  3. Apply for your study permit and include the relevant documents listed below.

If you've already applied for a study permit

If you have submitted a regular study permit application, in most cases we do not recommend that you submit a second application through Student Direct Stream (SDS). 

If you have additional SDS-required documents that you did not include in your existing study permit application, you can request for them to be added by submitting the IRCC webform.

If your course registration has now opened, learn how to download your proof of tuition prepayment. You can request for this to be added to your existing study permit application through the IRCC webform.

If you’ve applied through the regular study permit process and an officer requests proof of tuition payment or other documents, follow the instructions in the  Frequently Asked Question.

Eligibility requirements for SDS

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is only available to you if you are a legal resident of the following countries at the time you apply for SDS:

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

Read the specific requirements provided by Immigration Citizenship. Be prepared to show your full prepayment of tuition for your first year of studies, among other documents.

If you’re in the Diploma in Accounting program or Non-Degree Studies, you are not eligible to prepay tuition, thus you cannot apply through the Student Direct Stream.

About SDS tuition prepayment

UBC will only accept prepayment for tuition. Student fees, such as special course fees and health insurance, are not considered part of tuition. You will still be responsible for paying student fees after you register for courses and by the tuition payment deadline.

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

Eligible students applying for SDS can prepay the full amount of their first-year 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 tuition, plus the following Summer Session.

About the 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 prepayment request once it appears in your UBC tuition 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 your prepayment request. You can deduct the amount of your deposit from your prepayment request.

Finding your tuition rate

Tuition varies by program. To find the typical 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 UBC tuition account after you register.

Eligibility requirements for prepayment

You can make an SDS prepayment if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You satisfy the eligibility requirements for SDS according to Immigration and Citizenship.
  • You’ve accepted your offer to UBC.
  • You’ve paid your acceptance deposit, if applicable.
  • If you’re a graduate student, you’ve satisfied the conditional admission requirements outlined by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Requirements can include the receipt of official documents.
  • You’ve received a confirmation from Enrolment Services after applying for SDS.

How to request SDS prepayment

  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 prepayment.
    • Indicate the amount of your acceptance deposit. 
    • If you have written proof that you are getting awards, scholarships or loans, include the total amount in your request. You can deduct the total from your tuition amount and prepay the remainder.
  3. Wait for further instructions from Enrolment Services before proceeding to the next steps.

Making your prepayment

2024 Summer Session

If you’re prepaying your tuition starting 2024 Summer Session (May to Aug 2024):

  1. In 2 to 3 business days, your tuition amount owing will be posted on your Student Service Centre (SSC). To see this amount, navigate to "Financial Summary" under Finances.
  2. Make your payment towards “SDS Tuition Prepayment” using an accepted payment method. It is strongly recommended that you do not prepay more than your first year of tuition. If you overpay, these funds will remain on your student account for future session fees.
  3. Download your proof of prepayment to include in your study permit.

2024 Winter Session

If you’re prepaying your tuition starting 2024 Winter Session Term 1 (Sep to Dec 2024):

  1. In 2 to 3 business days, you will receive an email with instructions on how to make the payment. Learn about accepted methods of payment.
  2. Once a payment is made, you’ll see a receipt. Print or download a copy of the receipt to use for your SDS application.

After you’ve prepaid, apply for your study permit

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

Combine and include all your tuition proofs. This includes your proof of prepayment, plus awards, scholarships, loans, and any large deposits.

If you live in a country that is not your country of citizenship, please include a letter of explanation about your residency status and a copy of your valid status in your study permit application.

Proof of prepayment

2024 Winter Session prepayment

If you’re prepaying your tuition starting 2024 Winter Session Term 1 (Sep to Dec 2024), you’ll see a receipt once you’ve made your payment. Please print or download a copy of the receipt immediately to use for your SDS application.

2024 Summer Session prepayment

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

If you pay by International Funds Transfer, you will have to follow the steps to make the payment and wait a minimum of 3 business days for your payment to be recorded on your SSC account. International Funds Transfers are processed by Convera.

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.

How to download your proof of prepayment from the SSC

  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 a 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 need help