What is GIC for a Canada Study Visa?

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is a crucial financial product for international students applying for a Canada Study Visa, particularly under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program. The GIC serves multiple purposes: it provides financial proof to the Canadian government that the student has sufficient funds to support themselves during their initial stay in Canada, and it ensures the student has a reliable means to cover living expenses, enhancing financial stability during their study period.

Understanding the GIC

A GIC is a secure investment that guarantees the return of the original amount deposited along with interest earned over a fixed period. For the purpose of a Canada Study Visa, the minimum amount to be invested in a GIC is CAD 10,000. This financial requirement is set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure that international students can cover their living expenses during their first year in the country.

The Role of GIC in the Study Visa Process

For applicants using the SDS, the GIC is a mandatory requirement. The SDS program is designed to streamline the visa application process for students from certain countries, including India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam, by providing faster processing times. One of the key criteria under this program is proving the availability of sufficient funds, which is where the GIC comes into play.

How the GIC Works

  1. Purchase of GIC: The student opens an account with a participating Canadian financial institution and purchases a GIC of CAD 10,000 or more.

  2. Account Setup: The bank sets up a GIC account and provides an Investment Balance Confirmation or GIC certificate to the student. This document is essential for the visa application as it serves as proof of financial ability.

  3. Funds Disbursement: Once the student arrives in Canada, a portion of the GIC (usually around CAD 2,000) is disbursed to the student immediately to cover initial expenses. The remaining amount is typically released in monthly or bi-monthly installments over the course of the first year.

Benefits of a GIC

  1. Financial Security: A GIC provides a reliable and secure source of funds. Since the investment is guaranteed, students and their families can be assured that the money will be available when needed.

  2. Simplified Visa Process: By purchasing a GIC, students can meet the financial requirements of the SDS program, which can significantly expedite the visa application process.

  3. Budget Management: The structured disbursement of funds helps students manage their living expenses more effectively, reducing the risk of financial mismanagement during their first year abroad.

Steps to Obtain a GIC

  1. Choose a Participating Bank: Students must choose a Canadian bank that offers GICs for international students. Major banks like Scotiabank, CIBC, and ICICI Bank Canada are popular choices.

  2. Apply for a GIC: The application process typically involves filling out an online form and providing necessary identification and financial documents.

  3. Fund the GIC: After the application is approved, students transfer the required amount (minimum CAD 10,000) to their GIC account.

  4. Receive Confirmation: The bank issues an Investment Balance Confirmation or GIC certificate, which is needed for the visa application.

Key Considerations

  • Bank Fees: Some banks may charge fees for setting up and managing the GIC. It’s important for students to be aware of these fees when selecting a bank.

  • Exchange Rates: For students funding their GIC from outside Canada, exchange rates can affect the total amount needed to be transferred in their local currency.

  • Application Processing Time: The time taken to process a GIC application and transfer funds can vary. Students should plan ahead to ensure they receive their GIC certificate in time for their visa application.


The GIC is an integral part of the Canada Study Visa application process under the SDS program, providing a streamlined, secure, and efficient way for international students to demonstrate their financial readiness. By ensuring students have a guaranteed source of funds for their initial year in Canada, the GIC helps facilitate a smoother transition into Canadian academic and social life, ultimately supporting their educational and personal success.


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