To set up a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) account in Canada, you can follow these steps:
What is GIC Canada for international students?
A GIC stands for Guaranteed Investment Certificate. It is an investment for a specific amount of time with a Canadian bank. A GIC provides a guaranteed rate of return and is comparable to a fixed-term deposit in India. The term GIC pops up when you are applying for a student visa for Canada.¹
For an international student to be able to study in Canada, you will need to be issued a student visa first. But to qualify for a student visa, applicants will need to show that they have sufficient funds to pay not only for their study, but also their living expenses while in the country. The proof will need to be part of your application package.
One way to show the Canadian authorities that you have enough funds during your stay is to open a GIC in Canada. It is safe and secure and authorized by a Canadian financial institution. And you will have access to the funds once you arrive in Canada.
A GIC is required when you are doing the expedited student visa with Student Direct Stream. It is optional for regular student visa applicants.
The minimum to open a GIC is $10,000 CAD/ ₹6,05,720 INR. This is also the minimum amount the Canadian authorities will want to see for a GIC for a Student Direct Stream application. But the amount required can depend on where you are studying and if you have family members joining you:²
|Outside Quebec||In Quebec|
|Single applicant||$10,000 CAD||$11,000 CAD|
|First family member||$4,000 CAD||$5,100 CAD|
|Additional family member||$3,000 CAD||$1,903 CAD if under 18 years old|
Your GIC will need to be for the total amount required for you and all your family members traveling with you.
So, for example, let’s say you are an Indian student and you have applied and received admission to a Canadian university. Next, you’ll have to apply for a student visa with the government of Canada directly. To speed up the process, you choose the Student Direct Stream, where a complete and admissible visa can be issued in 20 days.
As part of your application process, you will need to open a GIC with a value of $10,000 CAD at a Canadian bank or financial institution. Once it is open, the bank should give you any one of the following to include with your application:³
- a letter of attestation
- a GIC certificate
- an Investment Directions Confirmation or
- an Investment Balance Confirmation
You then provide this letter or certificate with your student visa application to the government of Canada.
The bank that you opened the GIC with will hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that can be accessed only when you are in Canada. The bank also must require you to confirm your identity before giving you access to the account when you arrive.
Once you are in Canada, the funds in a GIC can be dispersed to you as a lump sum or through installments over the course of 10-12 months.
How to transfer money to a GIC account?
Each bank will have its application process. But let’s look specifically at ICICI Bank’s Student GIC program for resident Indians and Indian passport holders.
You will first have to register for the Secure Mail account and complete an application for the GIC program at ICICI. This includes uploading a copy of your passport and proof of enrollment in Canada. Once that is successful, you will be provided an account number for your Canadian GIC account.
You will then be required to wire the equivalent of $10,000 CAD to the Canadian account in a single transaction for a single applicant. Or as required for you and your family.
But you will have to watch for exchange rates and transfer fees on your wire that can make your large transaction even more expensive. ICICI has 2 additional fees for sending the funds to your GIC: ⁴
- $150 CAD/ ₹9,086 account processing fee
- $25 CAD/ ₹1,514 bank charge, if applicable
That is more than ₹10,000 in additional fees from ICICI.
GIC rejection reasons
Here are some of the most common reasons for rejection:
- Not having sufficient funds to meet the minimum for a GIC
- Not being able to show a clear source of funds.
- Inability to provide sufficient and valid identity documents.
Ensure that you have all areas sorted before starting the student visa process.⁵
First, you will have to identify which Canadian bank you want to open the account with. The bank has to be one that meets the required criteria, especially for a Student Direct Stream. Here are a few options:⁶
- Bank of Beijing
- Bank of China
- Bank of Montreal (BMO)
- Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- Habib Canadian Bank
- HSBC Bank of Canada
- ICICI Bank
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- RBC Royal Bank
- SBI Canada Bank
- Simplii Financial
- TD Canada Trust
This is the full list of qualifying Canadian institutions that offer foreign student GIC accounts.
ICICI Bank will be a familiar name for many Indians. It has a specific program for Student Visa applications to Canada that can be easily done in India. Here is a quick guide on how to apply:
- Head to the website for the ICICI Student GIC Program
- Register for the program and activate your account with the email verification
- Log into the secure mailbox with your username and password
- Complete the online application form
- Scan your passport and proof of enrollment, if applicable
- Note your automatically generated Canadian GIC account number
- Wire transfer the required amount to your new GIC account number
How much time does it take to open a GIC account?
The time depends, but with a program like ICICI Student GIC Program, it can take around six business days.
This includes five business days for the transfer to reach Canada and a day to collect your paperwork and register on the site.
Is GIC compulsory in Canada?
A GIC is not compulsory for a typical student visa application. But is required for a Student Direct Stream application which is the fast lane for student visa applications.
If you are not going in the Student Direct Stream direction, you can show proof of funds to Canadian authorities through any of the following means:⁹
- A Canadian bank account in your name with funds transferred over
- Proof of a student or education loan from a bank
- Your bank statements for the past four months
- A bank draft that can be converted into Canadian Dollars
- Proof of full payment of tuition and housing fees
- Proof of scholarship from within Canada
- A letter from an individual or school subsidizing or supporting your education in full