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Membership Number: R515301 

Amro Hayek, RCIC

In most cases, prospective international students who wish to study at a Canadian post-secondary institution need to provide a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution when applying for a Canadian study permit.

Applicants must provide the Designated Learning Institution number (DLI #) for their school of choice. The DLI number is the number that begins with the letter “O” on the study permit application form. For a list of DLIs by province, click here.

In certain cases, students may be exempt from providing a letter from a DLI, or from providing a DLI number in their application. These cases may include, but are not limited to:

  • Students at a primary or secondary institution. These schools are all automatically designated, and no DLI number is provided.

  • A family member of a foreign national whose application for a work permit or a study permit is approved in writing before the foreign national enters Canada. In this case, the family member may obtain an open study permit.

  • Some institutions in Quebec are designated by the provincial government, but do not have a unique DLI number. 

Sometimes, institutions may lose their designated status. Depending on when the status is lost, the international student may be affected.

-If an individual submits an application for a study permit with a letter of acceptance from an institution that is not a DLI, the study permit application is refused.

-If an individual submits an application for a study permit with a letter of acceptance from a DLI, but the institution loses its designated status before the study permit can be issued, the student has three options. He or she may: 

  • Withdraw the application;

  • Submit a letter of acceptance from a different DLI;

  • Do nothing, in which case the application will be processed according to the information provided. The application will therefore be refused.

-If an individual receives a study permit for a DLI, and the institution loses its designated status after the study permit is issued, the student has two options. He or she may:

  • Transfer to another DLI;

  • Continue studying at the non-designated institution until his or her study permit expires. In this case, the study permit may not be renewed for the non-designated institution. 

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