As an international student, there are two steps to coming to Canada. You will need a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to be eligible to apply for a Study Permit to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
A DLI is any school that can admit international students. All primary and secondary schools in Canada are DLIs. However, post-secondary institutions require approval from the provincial government to admit international students and be considered as DLI.
If you are planning to come to Canada for post-secondary education, then you must ensure that the institution you are interested in is eligible to admit international students. Graduating from certain DLIs will also allow you to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after the completion of your study program.
International students with valid Study Permits can change their school, program, field, or level of study without applying for a new permit for notifying the IRCC. They can simply update this information on their MyCIC account.
How to Identify Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs)?
All post-secondary institutions in Canada that are eligible to admit international students will have a unique DLI number. This number will begin with the letter “O” and can be found on the Study Permit application form.
As an international student, you must first ensure that your institution is a DLI. If you have applied for a university with several campuses or smaller colleges in different locations, then every location will have a different DLI number.
Can International Students Enroll in Non-DLI Schools?
No. If a school is not designated by the provincial or territorial government to admit international students, then you can not apply for it. If you do apply, your application will be refused.
If the school you are currently enrolled at loses its DLI status, then you will be allowed to remain at the school until the completion of your study program. You may also be required to transfer to an alternate DLI if that option is available.
Are All Primary and Secondary Schools DLIs?
Yes. As mentioned above, all primary and secondary institutions in Canada are eligible to admit international students. Most of these institutions offer education from Grade 1 to Grade 12. Minor children accompanying international students can enroll in these institutions without requiring a separate Study Permit.
How to Change Your Canadian DLI Number?
Now, as an international student, you are permitted to change your institution, program, and level or field of study. Based on your intended change, you will be required to notify the concerned immigration authorities and apply for a new Study Permit or get a visa extension on your existing permit.
How Can International Students Change Their Study Programs?
If you change your study program within the same DLI, then there is no need to apply for a renewed or extended Study Permit. You don’t even need to contact the IRCC to update them on the change. However, there are a few exceptions under the following circumstances:
- If your Study Permit lists certain conditions which will be affected by changing your program, then you will have to contact the IRCC to update them of the changes
- If the new study program will last longer than the duration of your existing Study Permit, then you will have to apply for an extension of your Study Permit before its original expiration date