Prepare to study in Canada

(Date modified: 2018-04-20)

Designated learning institutions

Provinces and territories approve (or “designate”) schools that can enrol international students. These schools are known as designated learning institutions (DLI).

If you need a study permit, your acceptance letter must be from a DLI. If it isn’t, we will refuse your application.

All primary and secondary schools in Canada are DLIs. You can search a list of the post-secondary schools, such as colleges and universities, and language schools that have been designated.

How to apply to a school, college or university

Once you choose a school, college or university, you must apply to go there. Every school has different rules on how to apply.

Make sure you apply at least:

  • six months in advance if you want to study at a primary or secondary school,
  • a year in advance for a post-secondary program at a university, college, etc.

Contact the school where you want to study to learn how to apply. They will give you the list of all the documents you need to send them. Your school will be able to tell you about:

  • the cost to apply
  • tuition fees
  • health insurance
  • rent and how much it costs to live in Canada
  • language tests.

Fill out the application forms for the school or schools of your choice. Follow their instructions to submit them.

If the school admits you as a student, they will send you an acceptance letter. You need this letter to apply for a study permit.

Health insurance

The Government of Canada doesn’t pay for the medical costs of foreign students.

Health coverage for foreign students is different depending on where you live. Contact the school you are applying to for more information about health insurance.

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