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Prospective international students who wish to study in Canada via the Student Direct Stream will need to complete the Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) process. This certificate is vital for many reasons. However, few applicants truly understand its importance and how to complete the process properly.

This guide will delve into what GIC Canada for International Students is and how it works.

The Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is essentially a deposit investment offered by Canadian banks or trust companies. This short-term liquid investment must be returned within one year and is generally offered with a guaranteed rate of return.

This GIC meaning may sound complicated at first, but it is generally straightforward. It is just like putting money in a fixed deposit (FD) or a mutual fund but for a limited time period (1 year). Also, money is deposited in certain Canadian banks that we will discuss in the following sections.

Role of GIC in Canadian Student Visa

International students who intend to pursue higher education in Canada via Student Direct Stream (SDS) will need to deposit a full year’s living expenses into a Canadian bank account to be eligible for their student visa. To do that, they require a GIC Account.

This is a mandatory requirement for all international students enrolled in courses under the SDS. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) put this requirement into place to demonstrate that you possess enough funds to cover your College or University tuition as well as living expenses during your stay in Canada.

This student GIC deposit will also be protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) and receive interest at the fixed rate specified during its issuance. This ensures your deposit remains safe and does not lose value over time.

How to Open a GIC Account?

The Government of Canada has streamlined this process to make it quick and easy for international students. However, you should generally begin the process of opening your GIC account at least one month before you intend to apply for your Canadian Student Visa. The steps for opening a GIC account are explained below.

1. Register for Your GIC Account

The first step is to register for your GIC account at one of the following Canadian banks:

Each of the banks mentioned above offers special services for opening GIC accounts and has made the process straightforward. You will need to start by filling out your personal details on an online application. Next, you can register for secure email services from your chosen bank.

Once this registration is complete, you should receive a password for your new email account. Your GIC application form and wire transfer details will then be sent to and accessed from this email account.

2. Add Funds

Students are then required to add funds to the account. They must provide a minimum GIC amount of $20,635 CAD and GIC Canada fees for processing. These processing fees are usually between $150 CAD and $200 CAD depending on your chosen bank. Note that these funds must come from your account or a joint account in your home country.

3. Confirmation of GIC Payment

Once you complete this transaction successfully, you will receive a letter (GIC certificate) from the bank confirming the amount via email. This letter must be submitted when students apply for their Canada Student Visa.

Important Note: It takes up to 7-8 days for getting your GIC certificate. In case you don’t receive it after 7-8 days then you have to contact the respective bank’s customer support. Also, make sure the address on your passport exactly matches the address you put while transferring money to the bank.

Is $20,635 CAD enough GIC Amount?

Starting from January 1st, 2024, the minimum amount required for a GIC is C$20,635. Students can choose to invest up to C$50,000 for guaranteed returns.

Adding more than C$20,635 may not necessarily improve your odds of being issued a student visa. Instead, students should focus on ensuring their funds come from accounts under their name or a similar joint account.

Don’t forget to add additional processing fees ($150 CAD to $200 CAD) required by the bank in this amount. Sometimes students make mistakes by sending only $20,635 to the Canadian bank. In that case, you can mail your bank your query using the secured link they provide you during the process. Follow this useful thread to resolve this issue.

List of Reliable Banks to Open GIC Account Safely

Prospective international students can open a GIC account safely at any of the following four GIC banks in Canada. The details for each bank are shown below.

1. Scotiabank

  • Interest Rate: The interest rates paid on GICs can vary. You can check the current rates directly on the Scotiabank website.
  • Accepted Investment Amount: Investments can be made between $10,000 CAD and $50,000 CAD.
  • Processing Fees: The program fee is $200 CAD.
  • First Deposit to the Student Account: Upon arrival in Canada and after visiting a branch, you will have access to $2,000 CAD plus any accrued interest.
  • Monthly Deposit to the Student Account: You will receive a portion of your investment back each month for 12 months, approximately $667 CAD each month.
  • Online Application Available: Yes, the application can be completed online.
  • Application Processing Time: The application process typically takes about 5 – 10 minutes, including the time to issue the GIC Certificate.
  • Number of Branches in Canada: Scotiabank has over 1,100 branches and 4,000 ABMs across Canada.

Scotiabank’s widespread network, with a significant number of ATM machines and branches, is favored by many students. However, it’s important to fill out the application accurately to avoid rejection and delays in obtaining your GIC certificate. The processing fees are higher than some other banks, so it’s worth considering all options. If you need to update personal information or have further questions, contacting Scotiabank’s Student GIC Program Customer Service is recommended.

2. ICICI

  • Interest Rate: The interest rate for the GIC is 1%.
  • Accepted Investment Amount: The investment amount is $10,000 CAD.
  • Processing Fees: The fee for the program is $150 CAD, which is non-refundable.
  • First Deposit to the Student Account: Upon arrival in Canada and after successful in-person verification, $2,000 CAD will be available.
  • Monthly Deposit to the Student Account: You will receive a portion of your investment plus interest every month for a 12-month period, which is approximately $667 CAD each month.
  • Online Application Available: You can apply online through the ICICI Bank Canada website or the ‘ICICI Bank Canada SPP’ app.
  • Application Processing Time: The application process, including account registration and wire transfer time, plus the time to issue the GIC Certificate, typically takes 2 to 5 days.
  • Number of Branches in Canada: ICICI Bank Canada has 7 branches.

The ICICI Bank Canada Student GIC Program is designed for international students planning to study in Canada under the Student Direct Stream (SDS). It’s important to note that while ICICI Bank Canada has a limited number of branches, it offers the convenience of applying for an ICICI Canada Debit Card from your home country if ICICI has branches there.

This can be particularly beneficial for students from countries like India, China, Vietnam, Morocco, Senegal, and the Philippines. However, if you are studying outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you may need to travel to access one of their branches. For detailed information on the application, activation, and refund process, you can visit the ICICI Bank Canada website or contact their customer service for assistance.

3. SBI

Here’s the updated information for the SBI Canada Bank Student GIC Program:

  • Interest Rate: The interest rate for the GIC is 1.05%.
  • Accepted Investment Amount: The investment amount is $10,000 CAD.
  • Processing Fees: The fee for the program is $150 CAD, which is non-refundable.
  • First Deposit to the Student Account: Upon arrival in Canada and after successful in-person verification, $2,000 CAD will be available to you.
  • Monthly Deposit to the Student Account: You will receive a portion of your investment plus interest every month for a 12-month period, which is approximately $667 CAD each month.
  • Online Application Available: Yes, you can apply online through the SBI Canada Bank website or the YONO SBICA mobile app.
  • Application Processing Time: The application process, including account registration and wire transfer time, plus the time to issue the GIC Certificate, typically takes 4 to 10 days.
  • Number of Branches in Canada: SBI Canada Bank has 7 branches in Canada.

The SBI Canada Bank Student GIC Program is available for students from India, China, Vietnam, or the Philippines who are planning to study in any Canadian province except for Quebec. While SBI Canada Bank may have a limited number of branches in Canada, it offers instant processing of your GIC application and competitive interest rates.

Additionally, the bank provides a debit card that can be used both in Canada and India, which can be convenient for managing finances across both countries. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential limitations in customer service and branch accessibility, especially if you are studying outside major urban areas.

For more information on the application process or assistance, you can contact SBI Canada Bank’s Student GIC Program Customer Service.

4. CIBC

  • Interest Rate: The annual interest rate for the GIC Program Account is 0.5%.
  • Accepted Investment Amount: You can transfer between $10,000 CAD and $20,000 CAD.
  • Processing Fees: There are no processing fees on foreign currencies.
  • First Deposit to the Student Account: When you visit a CIBC Banking Centre, $2,000 CAD will be deposited into your account.
  • Monthly Deposit to the Student Account: The remaining amount will be invested into your GIC Program account, and you’ll receive the full amount back plus interest in 11 equal payments over 1 year.
  • Online Application Available: Yes, you can apply online in about 5 minutes with same-day processing.
  • Application Processing Time: The application review is completed within 1 business day.
  • Number of Branches in Canada: CIBC has nearly 4,000 ATMs and 1,100+ banking centres across Canada.

CIBC’s International Student GIC Program is tailored to help students meet the requirements for a Student Direct Stream (SDS) study permit. With a wide network of ATMs and banking centres, CIBC offers convenience and accessibility for international students across Canada. The bank’s long-standing reputation and digital application process provide a quick and easy way to manage your application. For more details, including how to complete your application, you can visit the CIBC website or contact their customer service.

GIC Refund after Refusal of Canada Study Visa

If your study permit is declined or cancelled the Bank will refund the balance available in your GIC account after minus the applicable processing fees. For security reasons, most of the banks refund the GIC Amount to the account where funds were initially received from.

Very Important Note: Make sure that you transfer money to GIC Account from your personal bank account only. In many cases the immigration agents make GIC payments with their account. Thus, on study visa refusal they get the GIC amount refunded to their account instead of student’s account.

GIC Rejection Reasons

The most common GIC rejection reasons are mentioned below:

  1. Mismatched details: Your passport is the most relevant document for the bank. During the payment, make sure all the details like name, address, etc. are the same as in the passport.
  2. Skipping Processing Fees: Remember that you have to send the minimum GIC amount plus processing fees.
  3. A Mistake by Bank: In many cases, banks accidentally fill the wrong address which is not consistent with your passport. Both the address in the GIC account and the address in your passport should match.

Getting Help With Your GIC Certificate and Student Visa

Navigating the GIC certificate application process can be challenging for international students who would prefer to focus on their upcoming studies. A poorly-optimized GIC application may be outright refused, resulting in delays in getting your certificate.

Prospective international students can reach out to ELAAR’s experts for assistance with their GIC application and student visa. Our team of immigration consultants is familiar with the GIC application process and the vital role it plays in student visa applications.

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