Your smart guide to GIC account in Canada

Aman Saxena
03.11.21
5 minute read
📝 Table of contents

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 or 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

In order 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 not only pay for the 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 travelling 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.

🔖 Read more: Canada student visa for Indian students

How to transfer money to a GIC account?

Each bank will have its own 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 rate and transfer fees on your wire that can make your large transaction even more expensive. ICICI has 2 additional fees with 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.

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Wise uses the real mid-market exchange rate, which means you don’t have to pay any hidden fees or get a weak exchange rate. Just one small transfer fee and you can send money directly to your new GIC account abroad.

GIC rejection reasons

Here are some of the most common reasons for rejection:

  1. Not having sufficient funds to meet the minimum for a GIC
  2. Not being able to show a clear source of funds.
  3. Inability to provide sufficient and valid identity documents.

Ensure that you have all areas sorted before starting the student visa process.⁵

How to open a GIC account in Canada?

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)
  • DesjardinsFootnote1
  • Habib Canadian Bank
  • HSBC Bank of Canada
  • ICICI Bank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • SBI Canada Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • Simplii Financial
  • TD Canada Trust

This is the full list of qualifying Canadian institutions that offer foriegn 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:

  1. Head to the website for the ICICI Student GIC Program
  2. Register for the program and activate your account with the email verification
  3. Log into the secure mailbox with your username and password
  4. Complete the online application form
  5. Scan your passport and proof of enrollment, if applicable
  6. Note your automatically generated Canadian GIC account number
  7. Wire transfer the required amount to your new GIC account number
⚠️ Watch out for the bank charges and non-refundable account processing fee

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 6 business days.

This includes 5 business days for the transfer to reach Canada, and a day to collect your paperwork and register on the site.⁸

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Is GIC compulsory for Canada?

A GIC is not compulsory for a normal 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 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 4 months
  • A bank draft that can be converted into Canadian Dollars
  • Proof of fully 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

Sources used for this article:

  1. GIC
  2. Funds required
  3. GIC proof
  4. Transfer money
  5. Rejection reasons
  6. GIC Banks
  7. ICICI Student GIC application
  8. Time with ICICI
  9. Financial documents

All sources checked as of 25 October, 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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