How to Get a GIC

a jar of coins turned on its side with coins spilling out

Legal residents of the Philippines are eligible for faster processing through the Student Direct Stream (SDS). Among the requirements, you’ll need a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) so here’s the what and the how. 

What’s the GIC?

In short a GIC is an investment that you can have with a Canadian bank. Many Canadian banks and a few international ones offer this service. If you’re applying through SDS, you’ll need to invest at least $10,000. The GIC is an assurance, for you and the government, that you’ll have some finances when you get to Canada.  

How do you get a GIC?

Step 1: Choose a bank. Any of Canada’s major banks offer SDS eligible GICs. However, some banks will request a fee and some won’t. Some banks also don’t have student specific GICs so it’s very important to compare banks.

Here are a list of banks you can check out:

Whatever bank you choose, they are required to do the following:

  • Provide confirmation that you bought a GIC
  • Hold GIC in an investment account
  • Verify your identity before you access the money
  • Release the funds to you either by lump sum or installments

Keep in mind that the ones without fees may not have a big of a return as the ones that do. 

Step 2: Request for an international student GIC. Everything is done online, on the bank’s website. You input your information and documents on their application page. If you are ever confused, the banks have their own PDF’s on how to buy a GIC, complete with FAQ. 

The process itself is very straightforward. Despite needing to apply for a GIC, it’s more of the bank’s way of verifying that you are admitted into Canada as a student.  

The documents you’ll need are:

  • Letter of admission
  • Passport

Step 3: Wire your money to the bank. The minimum $10,000 has to come directly from your bank account or a joint account with your parents. Your name has to be present on the bank account or else it’ll be rejected. 

Step 4: Apply for a student permit. Your bank will provide an investment confirmation upon request. You can send this in with your student visa application.

Step 5: Open a bank account when you arrive in Canada. You can’t use your money until you create a bank account. To do so, visit a branch and the bankers will guide you through the process. 

In order to access your money, you’ll need the following to prove your identity:

  • Investment confirmation
  • Passport
  • Student permit
  • Proof of enrollment
  • Welcome Letter

What’s the GIC for?

The GIC allows you to have funds while you’re living in Canada. The $10,000 minimum is not paid to the government; it’s your own personal money placed in a bank. As an international student, making an income while studying might be difficult. With the GIC, you don’t have to worry about losing money and your money can earn interest while you’re studying. Even if you’re dissatisfied with the GIC, you can always withdraw the money and place it in other investment accounts. 

Source: GIC for SDS Scotiabank GIC

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