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Recently, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to the English test requirements for SDS applicants. These changes mean applying for a Study Permit in Canada just got easier by choosing IELTS.

  • If you’re applying after the 10th August 2023, all you need is an overall band score of 6.0 on IELTS Academic.

  • If you’re applying with IELTS Academic before 10th August 2023, you’ll need IELTS 6.0 in each skill.

  • If you’re applying with IELTS General Training, you will need a 6.0 in each skill, before and after 10th August 2023.

You can apply to SDS with IELTS Academic or General Training test scores that are up to 2 years old. This means you can also use test scores received before 10th August 2023 to apply to SDS after the changes take effect on 10th August 2023. For more details on how you can use your test score to apply for SDS, read this article: IELTS Academic Score Requirement changes for SDS Applicants.

What are the new English language proficiency tests accepted by IRCC?

The new academic tests which will now be accepted by the IRCC as proof of English proficiency for SDS include the Pearson PTE Academic, TOEFL internet-Based Test (iBT) and Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL).

What are the minimum CAEL, PTE Academic and TOEFL iBT score requirements for SDS applicants?

Applicants to the SDS visa program will still need to achieve the following minimum scores for their application to be successful. The table below highlights the minimum overall score required for each English proficiency test.

IELTS Academic 



PTE Academic

Min 6 overall score 

Min 60 overall score 

Min 83 overall score

Min 60 overall score

Does the IRCC announcement affect minimum IELTS band score requirements for SDS Applications?

Good news for IELTS test takers is that they will continue to be accepted for SDS applications.  

Applicants who complete IELTS Academic require a minimum overall band score of 6.0 after the 10th August 2023 (no longer requiring a minimum band score of 6.0 in each individual skill). While applicants who sit the IELTS General Training will need a minimum band score of 6.0 in each skill; Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.  

What does the IRCC announcement mean for future SDS Applicants?

While this change provides more options for test takers, it is important to consider the advantages that IELTS provides:   

  • IELTS has been around for 35 years – it’s the world’s most recognised, reliable and secure English language test.  

  • We use both human testing staff and digital technology – so that you get the best experience.  

  • We offer choice in how you take your test, that is unmatched by other tests – IELTS is available in more than 3,000 test locations and online in over 90 countries. In addition, IDP has more than 380 IELTS on Computer test centres.

  • IELTS is widely recognised for study and migration purposes With more than 11,500 organisations accepting IELTS tests. 

To learn more about this announcement, visit IRCC releases new SDS scores for English Language tests.