What is a Canadian Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)?

Meridean Overseas
Meridean Overseas

Updated On 10 May 2024 & Read Time 12 minutes


If you wish to study in Canada, you must fulfil all the essential requirements before you step into the land of Maple Leaf. One such prerequisite is that you need to show them how much money you have. This way, it will be easier for you to get a student visa.


Providing proof of funds to cover entire living expenses comes in handy, and it proves to Canadian government officials that you have enough money to support yourself during your higher studies.


GIC full form is a Guaranteed Investment Certificate. However, you must understand what GIS is, why it is compulsory, how it works, and how you can open a GIC account in detail. So, let’s break it down below in this blog!

What is GIC?

Define GIC: A Canadian Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is a secured investment certificate offered by Canadian banks and financial institutions to Indian students. It provides a guaranteed rate of return over a fixed period. In other words, you will be assured of the return of the principal amount after the term ends.




If you plan to apply for your study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), getting a GIC is mandatory. According to the Canadian government, it must be worth a minimum of C$20,635.


Why is GIC Important for Indian Students?

After a detailed understanding of GIC investment and how it works, you must delve deeper into its significance. A GIC Canada is a financial product and a visa facilitator under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program for Indian students. 


  • Financial Assurance: The GIC Canada is more than just a financial tool. Its concrete proof of financial stability reassures Canadian authorities that the students can support themselves financially throughout their initial year of studies.


  • SDS Compliance: Under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program, the GIC Canada is a compulsory requirement. It expedites the visa application process by validating the student's financial reliability, ensuring smoother immigration proceedings.


  • Holistic Financial Preparedness: Beyond covering tuition fees, the GIC shows a student's willingness to manage living expenses in Canada. It reflects a comprehensive financial readiness for the challenges of studying and residing in a new country.


  • Stability and Peace of Mind: By providing a guaranteed income source for living expenses, the GIC instils a sense of security among students, allowing them to focus wholeheartedly on their academic pursuits and adjustment to Canadian life.


  • Gateway to Canadian Banking: The GIC introduces students to the Canadian financial system at an early stage, laying the groundwork for establishing an economic footprint in the country and fostering familiarity with banking practices.


  • Access to Essential Services: The GIC may facilitate easier access to provincial healthcare and community resources by presenting the student's financial stability, enhancing their overall experience and integration into Canadian society.


Also, read: 1 Year Courses in Canada for Indian Students 2024

How Does GIC Work?

Understanding GIC investment is not difficult, as for this, you need to deposit some money from your bank account into your GIC account. GIC moneyback is the safest option for presenting solid proof of funds. Once you deposit a sum of money, the student will get interest from this account every month.


GIC is like a savings account for Student Direct Stream (SDS), and the interest rate does not change unless you choose one with variable interest. Also, GICs usually cannot be redeemed or cashed out. Before you apply for a GIC account, you must have a reliable financial institution.


Following this, you can sign up for a Secure Mail Account. Further, you must submit a copy of your passport and documentation to be given a GIC account number. For a single application to study in Canadian universities, you must wire over C$20,635 into that Canadian account.


Types of GICs for Indian Students

After a brief overview of how GIC works, let’s explore the types of Canadian Guaranteed Investment Certificates available to Indian students. You can choose a GIC investment based on your preferences for the approval of your student visa.

  • Non-Cashable GIC - If you can lock your funds in for a specific period, you can choose this type of GIC. Although the funds will not be accessible until they mature, you will get the highest rate of return.

  • Cashable GIC - Unlike non-cashable GIC, this type has no lock-in period, and you can withdraw your money anytime. Cashable GIC is mostly suitable for short-term investments, and there can be a monthly withdrawal limit.

  • Equity Linked GIC or Market Growth GIC - This kind of GIC offers returns based on market growth. You are eligible for a minimum guaranteed return and a potential bonus return based on market performance.


Interest Rates and Terms of GIC

After learning about the types of GICs, you must learn about interest rates and terms. So, let’s have a look below.

  1. Stability vs. Potential Gain: Fixed interest rates guarantee a consistent rate throughout the investment period, ensuring stability and predictability. Variable interest rates, on the other hand, are subject to market fluctuations, which may result in higher returns but also carry inherent risks.

  2. Investment Duration: Short-term investment options range from 30 days to less than a year and typically provide lower returns. Long-term investments, which can last a decade or more, typically yield higher interest rates, reflecting investors' commitment and patience for potential growth.


Also, read: Student Safety Guide for Indian Students in Canada

How to Purchase a GIC for Study in Canada?

Before knowing more about GIC’s interest rates and terms, you must examine its purchasing process. Head over to the below.

  • Purchase Options: GIC certificates are available through a variety of financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and trust companies. Each institution offers a unique set of GIC products designed to meet a variety of investment needs and preferences.

  • Acquisition Process and Interest Payment Flexibility: You can purchase GICs through multiple channels, including online platforms, in-person visits to branches, or via phone transactions. Further, interest payments can be structured according to your preferences, either disbursed at regular intervals or compounded and paid out upon maturity, providing versatility in managing investment returns.

How to open a GIC account?

Now that you have complete knowledge about GIC, let us look at how to open a GIC account to study in Canada.


Minimum GIC Required Amount:

  • Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) currently set the minimum GIC deposit amount at C$20,635.

  • The province of Quebec requires you to submit C$15,278.


Choosing a Bank for GIC in Canada:

Choosing the right bank to open your GIC account is crucial for Indian students. So, head over to the list of financial institutions below.


Scotiabank, Canada

SBI, Canada

ICICI Bank, Canada

Registration Mode




GIC + Processing Fee


C$20,785 (SBI International); C$20,735 (SBI India)


Name of the Confirmation Document

Investment Directions  Confirmation

Investment Declaration Advice

Investment Balance Confirmation

GIC Amount Transfer Mode

Wire Transfer

Wire Transfer

Wire Transfer

Processing or Program Fee




Interest Rate

0.1% – 1%



Withdrawal Terms

Monthly/Quarterly payouts

At maturity

Monthly/Quarterly payouts

Opening a GIC Account:

  • Pick a bank: Find and choose one that provides favourable GIC investment terms, rates, and support services to Indian students.

  • Apply for a GIC account: Complete the application online at GIC login or in person at the bank, ensuring accuracy and submitting the required documents, like a copy of your passport and admission letter.

  • Fund your GIC: As directed by the bank, transfer the required amount (CAD 20,635 for most of Canada and CAD 15,078 for Quebec) from your home bank account to the Canadian GIC account.


Eligibility for Canadian Guaranteed Investment Certificate

  • You must be from one of the following eligible countries: India, China, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Brazil, Colombia, Senegal, Vietnam, Peru, Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, or Trinidad and Tobago.

  • You must have an acceptance letter from a Post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.

  • Proficiency in the English language is required. IELTS scores should be 6.0 or higher.


Documents Required for GIC

  • Copy of student’s passport

  • Pan card

  • University offer letter/acceptance letter

  • Proof of enrollment or admission.

GIC Withdrawal and Management

Have you gathered all the information concerning GIC investment to study abroad in Canada and expedite the student visa process? If yes, you must also understand a few basic terms like withdrawal and management.

  • Withdrawal rules: Understand the terms under which you can withdraw funds from your GIC, mainly if it is non-redeemable.

  • Accessing funds: Banks often transfer living expenses from the GIC to the student's account in monthly or quarterly instalments.


Also, read: Cost of Studying in Canada

Tips to Choose the Right Canadian GIC

Now. let us look at some tips to follow as you will be going far away from your home and loved ones to study. You must manage your finances on your own. So, Canadian GIC investment is here to support all your living expenses.


Here are some tips to follow for GIC investment:

  1. Check the availability of a bank in Canada.

  2. Check availability in India.

  3. Make sure you understand the maximum investment limit.

  4. Having an appealing interest rate on your investment is an excellent choice.

  5. Check out the types of GICs offered by the bank.


To conclude, accurate and complete information about the Canadian Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is crucial for Indian students who wish to study in Canada. The GIC functions as both a financial tool and a visa requirement, offering stability, financial security, and access to critical services.


Make sure that you pick out the appropriate bank and GIC type, as these are the essentials for a successful transition to Canadian academic life. So, if you are looking forward to study in Canada, we encourage you to speak with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). Our counsellors will provide you with guidance throughout your study abroad. Get help with the application process, SOPs, and filing for a visa. Visit us and get one-to-one counselling, or avail yourself of free video counselling via our website. We will be happy to help you, so please do not hesitate to contact us at application02@meridean.org or 1800-1230-00011.


Question. How do I get a GIC certificate in Canada?

Answer: To get a GIC investment certificate in Canada, go to a bank or financial institution that offers GICs, apply for a GIC account either online or in person, provide the necessary documentation, such as your passport and admission letter, and then transfer the funds to the Canadian GIC account according to the bank's instructions.


Question. What do guaranteed investment certificates GICs mean?

Answer: Banks and financial organisations offer Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), which are secure investment instruments. They offer a guaranteed rate of return over a certain period, with the principal returned at the end of the term. GICs are commonly employed as a low-risk investment vehicle.


Question. How much is the GIC fee for Canada?

Answer: The GIC fee in Canada varies according to which bank or financial institution you choose. In general, administrative fees for opening and managing a GIC account can range from CAD 150 to CAD 200.


Question. What is the GIC limit in Canada?

Answer: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sets Canada's GIC limit. The current minimum GIC deposit amount for most of Canada is CAD 20,635. However, the province of Quebec requires a lower minimum of CAD 15,078.


Question. How to pay a GIC in Canada from India?

Answer: To pay a GIC in Canada from India, make a wire transfer from your Indian bank account to the Canadian GIC account. Make sure you follow the bank's specific guidelines for overseas transactions and supply all appropriate documentation.


Question. Is a GIC account mandatory for Canada?

Answer: Certain visa applications, such as those through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), require a GIC account. It confirms your financial stability and ability to afford living expenses while in Canada.


Question. How much GIC will I get every month?

Answer: The amount you earn from your GIC every month depends on the interest rate and terms of your GIC arrangement. GICs typically offer fixed or variable interest rates, with payments made monthly, quarterly, or at maturity.


Question. Which bank is best for GIC in Canada from India?

Answer: Scotiabank, SBI Canada, and ICICI Bank Canada are some of the most popular banks that offer GICs to Indian students. Each bank may have different GIC terms, rates, and processing fees, so compare and select the one that best meets your needs.


Question. Is a GIC amount refundable?

Answer: Yes, in certain cases, a GIC amount may be refundable. For instance, if your visa application is denied or you decide not to continue your studies in Canada, you may be entitled to a refund. However, administrative fees may be deducted from your refund.


Question. Can I withdraw my GIC anytime?

Answer: It depends on what type of GIC you have. Non-redeemable GICs typically have a set period during which funds cannot be withdrawn without penalty. On the other hand, cashable GICs let you take out your money whenever you choose without incurring any fees or limits.

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