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Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in Canada

Understand why it is important to study in a DLI

No wonder Canada is a popular study abroad country among international students. It offers ample research opportunities, multicultural and safe environment, affordable, high-quality education as well as lucrative post-study work opportunities. 

If you want to pursue any study program in Canada for more than six months, you need a study permit, and it is only valid for institutions recognised as Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) by the Canadian government. 

Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs)

A Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is an approved educational institution that can host international students by the province or territory it is bound to in Canada. So, if you plan to pursue your higher education in Canada, it’s important to ensure that your institution is on the approved list of DLIs, else your study permit stands invalid. 

Here’s how you can check if your institution is on the approved list. 

Step 1: Visit the official government website.
Step 2: Choose the province/ territory your institution is based.
Step 3: Search with the name of the school, city and other related details.
Step 4: Note down the DLI number under the section namely as Details of intended study in Canada on your study permit application.

Note: A Canadian institution with several campuses or colleges may have a different DLI number for each of its location. When searching, make sure you type in the right location.

How to get a study permit 

To get your study permit, you must have an acceptance letter from your approved DLI with a valid passport or travel document. You’ll have to submit these along with the financial proofs depicting you can support yourself and your family member (if any) during your course of study in Canada. 

In order to study in Canada, you will need to prove that you’ll leave the country by the end of your authorised stay. In addition, as a study permit holder you:

  • Shall get enrolled, and remain enrolled, at a DLI until you complete your studies; and 

  • Shall actively pursue your study program 

Note: The above-mentioned conditions have to be followed as a valid study permit holder, even if you change your institution 

Are all DLIs eligible for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

As a pre-requisite for PGWP, you need to have graduated from a DLI but do remember that not all DLIs make you eligible for the PGWP Program i.e., graduates from certain DLIs are eligible for a work permit. Besides, while graduating from an eligible DLI will not automatically get you work permit, you are equally required to meet other criteria to obtain the PGWP.

You can check with our international education experts if your institution qualifies for the same.

Check your DLI’s COVID-19 readiness plan 

As announced by the Canadian government on October 22, DLIs who have their COVID-19 readiness plan approved by their provincial or territorial authorities are authorised to invite its international students (who are currently outside Canada) to the country. So, if you are planning to travel Canada as an international student then do ensure that:

  • Your institution is on the list of DLIs with approved COVID-19 readiness plans

  • You need a valid study permit or must have been approved for a study permit

Note: This will apply to all international students, irrespective of the country from which they travel. 

Remember, if your DLI isn’t included in the list, you will not be able to travel to Canada and may not be allowed to board your flight or asked to return from the port of entry. 

Here’s a list of all approved DLIs with COVID-19 readiness plans.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1: What if I change my study program?

A: If you choose to change programs within the same DLI, you don’t need to change your study permit. However, a few exceptions to this are:

  • If your study permit has certain conditions listed on it and if these conditions are affected by the change in programs

  • If you switch to a program of longer duration compared to the validity of the study permit, then you need to apply for the extended study permit before the original expiration date

Q2: What if I change my institution?

A: If you choose to transfer institutions within the same study level, you are not required to obtain a new study permit, but you need to contact the IRCC to notify them of this change. Also, ensure that your new institution is in the DLI list as non-DLIs aren’t eligible for the study permit.

Q3: What if I change my institution?

A: It’s not necessary to obtain a new study permit, if you switch between different post-secondary levels of education for instance, from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree.

Updated on January 24, 2021

Read more insightful articles by our Canada experts

Why choose Canada?

Colleges vs Universities

Blended learning in Canada

Study bachelors in Canada

Co-op education in Canada

Travelling to Canada during Pandemic

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