BP101: Studying in Canada

How to Change DLI (Designated Learning Institution) Number in Canada

This article outlines the process for changing a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number in Canada, detailing eligibility, required documentation, and steps for both in-country and overseas students.
Written by: BorderPass Corp.
Last updated:  
April 2024

Canada's education system is one of the best in the world, so you can always make the most of it for your professional development and future business endeavors, even if you enroll in a program and want to switch it. In that case, you’ll want to know how to change your DLI number, what that process entails, and, most importantly, how to make that process as simple and fast as possible.

This article will guide you on steps you should take in the application process, whether in or out of Canada, and preparing the required documentation.

Most importantly, you’ll be aware of how to facilitate the process at BorderPass, which will automatically inform you about your study permit on the user-friendly platform. 

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Reasons for changing DLI
  • When can international students change their DLI?
  • Step one: check eligibility for changing a DLI 
  • Step two: Prepare the required documentation
  • How to change your DLI if you are outside of Canada
  • How to change a university/college or program within Canada
  • FAQ

Let’s dive in!

Reasons for Changing DLI

Education in Canada maintains a high level, so even in case of a change of DLI, for personal or educational reasons, you can find new opportunities for further education. 

Reasons for changing the DLI number vary, whether it's a desired program at a different school, specific visa regulations, better career opportunities, or you were advised to shift to a different DLI school. There is a solution for you in whatever situation you find yourself in.

There’s also an impact on the study permit as you can also decide to extend it if you want to continue your studies beyond the validity period of your permit. But remember, if you don't meet the study requirements, for example, due to financial problems or poor academic performance, the extension of your student permit can be rejected.

Let’s take a look at three main reasons for changing DLI.

Changes in Study Program or Course 

If the academic program doesn’t meet your expectations, you can transfer to another institution that offers the program or course you need. Or simply another institution that has a better reputation or more resources.

If you are looking into the requirements to change their DLI number in Canada, that means:

  • You enrolled in a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • You are currently attending a specific program


You must contact the Government of Canada if:

  • You are a high school student
  • You have a work permit for a cooperative
  • You need to change the conditions on your study permit

Taking Additional Study Programs

To further your education, you’ll probably consider changing DLI for additional study programs. In this case, you should thoroughly research prospective institutions whose programs meet your academic and career goals.

You aim to amend your employability after finishing school and take full advantage of the labor market. You will be interested in the importance of post-study work permits later on. You should switch if other DLI programs and courses are more current with new industry trends and technological advances and provide the skill set needed for professional development and modification to the market.

Always be aware of all the implications of change and your immigration status when revising the DLI details. and consult with your appointed immigration advisor in a timely manner to guide the process smoothly.

Legal Requirements Under Your Study Permit

You must know the rules and regulations regarding changing your DLI to ensure you maintain your legal status in Canada. Some include consulting your appointed immigration advisor or contacting Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for guidance on the process and implications of changing your DLI.

First of all, you must have a valid study permit. Second, ensure your permit doesn’t expire; otherwise, you must renew it before changing your DLI.

Understanding and complying with the legal regulations will help you go through the process more quickly and easily and maintain your status as an international student in Canada.

Also, if you are applying for a study permit for a minor, you should submit a letter of acceptance from the school in Canada where the child is attending, except that children don’t need a study permit if the program lasts 6 months or less.

When Can International Students Change Their DLI?

In case you want to know how to change your DLI number, you also need to know when you can do it.

You can change your DLI:

  1. When your study visa application is in progress
  2. When it is approved but you are outside of Canada or, 
  3. When you land in Canada, get your study permits at the airport
  4. Before starting the school you are enrolled in, or when you finish your first semester,

As long as your study permit meets the established standards, you can change your DLI. You need to open an online account and link your application. Another important thing for international students and the requirement for a DLI change you mustn’t omit is a new letter of acceptance from another DLI.

Now that you have basic information on why and when you should do it, it’s time to delve into the most crucial part: how to change DLI.

Step One: Check Eligibility for Changing a DLI 

If you want to go through the process smoothly, follow the guidelines to renew the DLI number.

Before transferring from one institution to another, a provincial or territorial government must approve the new DLI institution you are considering. To ensure that everything is in accordance with Canadian immigration regulations, you can check the status of the appointment of the new institution.

You need to check your eligibility for a Canadian study permit, so you will need an acceptance letter from DLI, proof of financial support, and certain documents that vary by country and nationality.

Who Can Change Their DLI?

Generally, not all students are eligible to change their DLI number under certain circumstances. Everyone must comply with legal rules, including updating their information with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and maintaining full-time student status.

As a foreign citizen with a study permit, you can change your level of study, institution of study, or study program. If you want to pursue another academic program, adjust to another institution, or move to another city, you can change your DLI.

What to Consider Before Applying to Make a Change?

When you change universities or programs, it is a significant change in your life. Therefore, you must know what to consider when it happens.

Here are some key considerations:

  • Make sure this changing process doesn’t affect your immigration status
  • The Canadian government must recognize the new university
  • Check the new DLI credit transfer rules
  • Assess whether tuition and living expenses are proper for you
  • Submit the required documentation for change as a condition for re-enrollment
  • Check if you need to renew your study permits

Another critical point is that if you are married and want to bring your spouse to Canada, you must apply for an official Canadian study permit and spouse visa in Canada. In this case, the IRCC speeds up the process and encourages this application. You and your spouse can apply simultaneously or separately when you arrive in Canada.

Feel free to seek advice from academic advisors who will provide valuable guidance.

Step Two: Prepare the Required Documentation

As an international student seeking a new academic opportunity, filling out the necessary paperwork to replace the DLI number is essential.

Official Document Requirements

Below is a list of documents they may require from you:

  • A letter from your current DLI proving that you have completed the program
  • Acceptance letter by which the new DLI institution confirms that you have enrolled in a specific program
  • Personal documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates if you are married and passport
  • Proof of financial stability means you can cover all tuition and living expenses.
  • A letter explaining why you want to change your DLI (private or academic reasons)

Obtain an Acceptance Letter Using the New DLI Number

You will prove you changed your DLI by submitting a new acceptance letter and completing the IRCC web form.

Obtain an acceptance letter using your new DLI number if:

  • Your application has been approved
  • Your study permit has been approved, and if you have changed your DLI, you submit a new application for a study permit, which includes a letter of acceptance and the payment of all fees for the new application. 

Complete the ‘Change of DLI’ process in your BorderPass account

You should follow certain steps to proceed properly with the “Change of DLI” process in your BorderPass account.

When you apply and want to amend the DLI registration, you can use BorderPass to notify IRCC, which is a relief.

It is necessary to:

  • Sign in to your BorderPass account
  • Go to the section "Change DLI
  • Complete the DLI Change Assessment
  • Upload any remaining documents to DLI, such as your study permit and letter of acceptance from your new learning institution.
  • Submit all documents for the attorney to revise.

BorderPass will notify IRCC, and your profile will be updated accordingly. After completing the process, every student has an updated DLI number.

You may wonder what happens to your BorderPass membership if you change DLI. You may need to re-subscribe if you enrolled in a previous DLI with BorderPass and now altered the DLI.

Original Study Permit Application Form and Application Process Details

A permit authorizes students to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.

As we mentioned, you must meet the eligibility requirements when you apply for a study permit. When your permit will be processed depends on the country you are coming from. There is compliance and verification by authorities when it comes to this.

Of course, without an acceptance letter, you can’t complete the process. Since it takes some time for a new DLI to receive that letter, do your best to find out about the start of your new program and the application process in time.

Besides, you can prepare your study permit application if you meet all the eligibility requirements and have all the correct documents. You can apply online by creating an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and uploading scanned or electronic copies of documents. You also have the option to apply on paper and mail it to the Visa Application Center (VAC) for your country.

How to Change Your DLI If You Are Outside of Canada

It is unnecessary to complete everything while in Canada, as it is understandable that you will be out of the country at some point. Although you can handle many things outside of Canada, you can’t board the plane if you change your DLI before arriving in Canada without notifying IRCC.

Here's how you can change your DLI if you're outside of Canada:

  • If your application is still in progress
  • If you submit a new acceptance letter using the IRCC web form
  • If your application is approved

However, if the government grants you a study permit and you change your DLI, you must submit a request to adjust the DLI number and acceptance letter and pay all fees for the new application.

If you selected a new DLI in Quebec, the previous one was out of province, you will need a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ).

How to Change University/College or Program Within Canada

While you are still in Canada and want to change university/college or program, you must still inform immigration officials that you are registered at another university. Otherwise, non-compliance with the legal regulations regarding study permits may result in deportation or denial of rights when studying in Canada.

To complete this procedure, you must:

  1. Open an online account
  2. Provide the DLI number of the new school that you will find in the list of DLIs in Canada
  3. Provide a new student ID number, which you’ll find in your acceptance letter
  4. Provide your study permit number, which is located in the top right-hand corner of the study permit, starting with the letter 'S'
  5. Indicate the date of departure to the new university

After you have received a new DLI number after making changes and meeting these requirements, you can pursue your course or study program in a new DLI.

Key Takeaways

Students worldwide seeking quality education and a prosperous business future choose Canada. The number of international students is currently over one million, according to official figures proving that Canadian universities and their programs are highly rated. According to the Data Pandas, Canada ranks as the 11th country globally regarding its educational system. Plus, Canada is a safe country for international students based on accepted diversity and tolerance.

A study permit is the first item they must comply with when they come to Canada to study. This is preceded by receiving a letter of acceptance from a Canadian school and then applying for a study permit to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

But what exactly happens when you want to change DLI at some point? If you want a simplified and faster process, contact us at BorderPass. We’ll help you to collect documentation as quickly as possible and apply for enrollment in a new DLI institution in one place.


Can I Switch My DLI While in Canada?

Yes, if you are considering switching their DLI institution, you should notify IRCC of changes if you are in Canada. You also need to modify your DLI  information with IRCC by logging into your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) account to include the change in your DLI, including the name and DLI number of the new institution.

Of course, you need a valid study permit and confirmation that the institution you want to transfer to is approved by the provincial or territorial government.

How Much Does It Cost to Change College or University in Canada?

Yes, there is a fee for changing colleges or universities if you come to study in Canada as a foreign national. The fee usually depends on the province or territory you study in. It's not the same in British Columbia, where the fee is CAD $ 200, and in Ontario, where it is CAD $ 150.

Can I Change My University from One Province to Another Province in Canada?

You can change a university from one province to another province in Canada. When you are awaiting confirmation after transferring to a new DLI, and then you have been accepted, you must notify IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). You aren’t obliged to change your study permit. The period during which you can start a new program is 150 days.

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