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IELTS Academic test takers who previously required a 6.0 on all skills are now able to apply for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Canada study permit with a simple 6.0 overall band score, irrespective of the score they achieve on each individual skill. The changes that went live on 10 August 2023, sparked a wave of excitement among the IELTS community with IELTS websites and test centres across the world reporting a significant increase in inquiries and bookings.

Students are keen to make the most of the opportunity to apply for a fast-tracked study permit under the SDS stream so they can arrive in time for the Fall intake that starts in September*.

What’s changing in SDS study permit requirements?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced changes to the English test requirements for SDS study permit applicants. Under the new changes, IRCC has changed the requirement for IELTS Academic test takers to achieve a 6.0 score on all skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). Instead, all you will need is an overall band score of 6.0 to qualify for SDS. 

When do the changes to SDS take effect?

The SDS changes went live on 10 August 2023. This means from this date, you can apply to SDS with an overall 6.0 score on IELTS Academic. IELTS test results are valid for up to 2 years and you can use your old test results before they expire to apply for the SDS study permit from 10th August onward.

What does it mean for IELTS test takers?

IELTS Academic has always been accepted as valid proof of English proficiency for SDS by IRCC. Previously the minimum requirement for SDS was a 6.0 score across all skills (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking). With the recent changes to the SDS Canada requirements, all you need is 6.0 overall score, irrespective of the score you achieve in each individual skill. If you have taken IELTS General Training however you will still need to score 6.0 in each skill. 

How soon will I be able to apply to SDS if I take my IELTS test now?

If you decide to take your IELTS Academic test now, you’ll most likely get your results within 3-5 days. All you need is an overall 6.0 band score to apply for the SDS study permit following the changes that went live on 10th August.

Why should I choose IELTS over other tests for SDS?

Amid increasing options for SDS, IELTS Academic continues to be the obvious choice for test takers:  

  • 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. 

So go ahead and make the most of this opportunity, and get one step closer to achieving your study goals in Canada. Book your IELTS test now

As individual requirements vary from case to case, please reach out to a registered migration consultant for personalised advice.*