Obtaining a Letter of Acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is the first step in the application for a Canadian study permit.
The Letter of Acceptance is mandatory in the application for a Canada study permit. To obtain a Letter of Acceptance, a potential student may first submit an application to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). If he or she is successful, the institution may issue a Letter of Acceptance. For the purposes of a study permit application, all the following elements are required in the Letter of Acceptance:
- The student’s full name, date of birth, and mailing address;
- The student’s ID number, if applicable;
- The name of the institution, and the name of the official contact person;
- The contact information of the institution;
- If the DLI is a private institution, the licensing information for the institution should be clearly stated (usually in the institution’s letterhead);
- The DLI number;
- The type of school or institution (e.g. private, public, post-secondary college, community college, or technical college — this list is not exhaustive);
- The study program, level, and year of study into which the student is accepted;
- The estimated duration of the study program, or estimated date of completion of the study program;
- The start date of the study program;
- The latest date by which a student may register for the study program;
- Whether the study program is full-time or part-time;
- The estimated tuition fees for the first year of study, and scholarships or other financial aid (if applicable);
- The details of a required internship or work placement, if applicable;
- The expiry date of the Letter of Acceptance*;
- Conditions of acceptance to the DLI (if applicable) — this may include prerequisite courses, previous qualifications, or proof of language knowledge;
- If the DLI is in Quebec, the requirement of aQuebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) should be clearly stated;
*The Letter of Acceptance is required to state a date of expiry. If processing of the study permit application has not been completed before the expiry date of the Letter of Acceptance, an extension letter may be requested from the institution and submitted to IRCC to support the study permit application.
Immigration, Citizenship, and Refugees Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) provides a template for the Letter of Acceptance, and instructions for completing the required information.
It is important to note that a Letter of Acceptance from a DLI is not a guarantee that the study permit application will be approved. It is at the discretion of IRCC to approve an application for a study permit.
Exemptions from the Requirement for a Letter of Acceptance
Certain potential students may be exempt from the requirement for a Letter of Acceptance.
- If a foreign national receives written approval for a temporary work or study permit before entering Canada, his or her family members may apply for a study permit without a Letter of Acceptance.
- Potential students who wish to pursue a study program of six months or less in duration do not need to obtain a Letter of Acceptance, because they do not require a study permit.
Study Permits for More than One DLI
If an applicant is applying for a study permit for a study program offered by more than one institution, the Letter of Acceptance should state this clearly. Both institutions must be DLIs. The Letter of Acceptance should be issued by the DLI issuing the degree, diploma, or certificate. If the degree, diploma, or certificate is issued by more than one DLI jointly, the Letter of Acceptance should be issued by the DLI where the student intends to begin his or her study program. In this situation, the Letter of Acceptance should clearly state:
- The name, type, and location of the other institution;
- The course(s) the potential student intends to pursue at a different institution; and/or
- The semester(s) that the potential student intends to spend at a different institution.
When the study permit is issued, the DLI may be specified as the institution that issued the Letter of Acceptance. However, other institutions may be listed in the Remarks section of the study permit.
Conditional Letter of Acceptance
A Letter of Acceptance may be issued to a potential student stating that the offer of a place in a study program is conditional on the student first completing a prerequisite course or study program. For example, a potential student may be required to complete an English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FRSL) course before pursuing the more advanced study program. In these situations, a study permit is issued for the duration of the prerequisite program only. After successfully completing the prerequisite, a student may apply for another study permit for the next study program.
Renewal of a Study Permit
A second Letter of Acceptance is not generally required for the renewal of a study permit. However, the immigration officer examining an application for a study permit renewal has the right to request proof that the applicant has met the requirements of the original study permit. This may manifest as a letter from the institution clarifying that the student has been actively pursuing his or her studies.