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Designated Learning Institutions

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When applying for a Canadian study visa, prospective international students who desire to study at a Canadian post-secondary university must usually produce a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution.

The Designated Learning Institution number (DLI #) for the applicant’s preferred school must be provided.
On the study permit application form, the DLI number is the number that starts with the letter “O.”

Students may be excluded from producing a letter from a DLI or from supplying a DLI number in their application under specific circumstances.
Examples of these scenarios include, but are not limited to:

  • Students enrolled in a primary or secondary school. There is no DLI number assigned to these schools because they are all automatically allocated.
  • A family member of a foreign national who has received written approval for a work permit or a study permit before the foreign national enters Canada. A family member may be able to receive an open study permit in this situation.
  • The provincial government has designated several institutions in Quebec, but they do not have a unique DLI number.

Institutions may lose their designated status at any time. The international student’s status may be affected depending on when it is lost.

  • If an individual files a study permit application with a letter of acceptance from a non-DLI university, the study permit application will be denied.
  • If a student submits a study permit application with a letter of acceptance from a DLI but the institution loses its designated status before the study permit is issued, the student has three alternatives. He or she could:
      o Withdraw the application;
      o Submit a letter of acceptance from a different DLI;
      o If you do nothing, the application will be processed based on the information you submit. As a result, the application will be denied.
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