In order to apply for your study permit in Canada, you first need to secure admission from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). The admission process is very competitive and receiving a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) can involve a few too many steps that can overwhelm anybody.
Don’t worry! We are here to help. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about LOA.
In this article, we will cover:
- What is an LOA (Letter of Acceptance)?
- What all a Letter of Acceptance from a Canadian DLI include?
- How to get a Letter of Acceptance?
- How long does it take to get a Letter of Acceptance?
- What to do after you get an LOA?
- What is a conditional Letter of Acceptance?
- Who doesn’t need a Letter of Acceptance for a study permit in Canada?
- Does having an LOA guarantee a study permit?
- Do you need an LOA to extend your study permit?
What is a LOA (Letter of Acceptance)?
A Letter of Acceptance (LOA) also known as an acceptance letter or offer to study, is an official confirmation that is sent to you by the Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) announcing that you can come to Canada as a student.
Students undergo rigorous screening and admission processes in order to get the LOA from a Canadian University. Only after getting an LOA, can you apply for a study permit to come to Canada and start your studies.
As an international student, you need to apply for a study permit if your Canadian study program is more than six months long and you are planning to apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) or work part-time while studying in Canada.
What all a Letter of Acceptance from a Canadian DLI include?
The Government of Canada has a Letter of Acceptance template that learning institutions can use to send to the students which they can then attach to their study permit application.
Your Letter of Acceptance includes the following information:
- Your full name and date of birth.
- Your student ID number.
- If your DLI is based in Quebec, it includes your Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) details.
- Your mailing address in your current country of residence.
- The educational institution’s information – full name, DLI number, address, contact information, and whether it’s a public or private institution.
- Details about the program include whether the course is full-time or part-time, hours of instruction per week, internship or co-op work requirement.
- Estimated tuition fees for the first year of study, and whether you’ve paid these in advance.
- Any scholarship, teaching assistantship, or other financial aid.
- Conditions of acceptance, if any.
- Program duration.
- Your Letter of Acceptance’s expiry date.
- Other relevant information.
- Name and signature of the institution’s representative.
How to get a Letter of Acceptance
You need to apply for a relevant study abroad program at an institution of your choice to get a Letter of Acceptance. Here are the key steps for getting:
How to apply to a Canadian university or college of your choice
Canada has a lot of Universities and colleges that are renowned for their world-class education and culture diversity. Based on the study program you’re interested in and the course you want to pursue, it’s a good idea to list down DLIs you’re likely to qualify for.
Keep track of the timelines so that you don’t miss out on any institution of your choice. Prepare your application and all the required documents in advance. Doing this will help you remain ahead and relieve you of all the unwanted pressure at the last moment.
Hiring a study abroad consultant at this time could be of huge help as they can help you prepare everything and make sure there are no loose ends. After you apply, the DLI will assess your academic track record, work history, and extracurricular achievements.
Some DLIs may also ask for a Statement of Purpose (SOP) to make sure you are a good fit for the institution and the study program. You will also have to appear for an English language test (IELTS or CELPIP) and fetch a minimum score to qualify for admission.
Please Note: Most DLIs charge a non-refundable application fee that ranges between $50 CAD to $500 CAD, so try applying to a school you are most likely to qualify for. At this point, it is also a good idea to look for relevant scholarships you might get based on merit or by appearing for a test.
Secure admission and get an offer to study from your dream university or college
Once the college or the University accepts your application for one of the study programs they offer, you will receive an intimation about the same. You will get a few days to accept their offer.
In order to accept the offer, you might have to pay the first year’s fee, including tuition, accommodation and non-tuition fees, upfront before you get your Letter of Acceptance.
Please check your school’s refund policy before paying the fee. In case your study permit is rejected, you will be charged an administration fee between $100 and $1,000 and the remaining amount will be refunded to you.
Please Note: If you are planning to apply for a study permit through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), you must have a GIC ( Guaranteed Investment Certificate) and must proof that you paid tuition for your first year of study and if you’re applying through the regular channel, prepayment of fees can be used as proof of financial capability.
How long does it take to get an acceptance letter?
This depends upon the University or the study program you are applying for. Most Canadian schools take at least four to six weeks to determine whether you qualify. It’s a good idea to check your school’s website for specific timelines and plan everything accordingly. Having a study abroad consultant by your side at this stage can help you figure everything faster and will ensure that everything is done on time.
What to do after you get an LOA
Once you receive your LOA, you will have to file your study permit application and start preparing for your life in Canada. Your LOA is valid for a limited time. So apply for a study permit as soon as possible.
In order to apply for your study permit online, you will have to upload a scanned copy of your LOA. For paper-based applications, you must submit the original LOA. It will be a good practice if you have everything ready for your study permit application in advance so that you can file as soon as you receive your LOA.
In addition to your LOA, you should have the below documents early on:
- Proof of financial support: You can show proof of funds in the form of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) ( Read all about GIC here)
- Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ): If you’re accepted into a school in Quebec, you will need a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) once you receive an LOA.
- Statement of Purpose: Also called Letter of explanation to help a visa officer understand why you wish to study in Canada.
- Police certificate and medical exam results: To show that you’re not inadmissible to Canada.
The processing time is usually 12 weeks excluding the time needed to submit your biometrics. Residents of 14 countries, including India, China, and the Philippines, may apply under the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program for faster processing.
What is a conditional Letter of Acceptance?
In some cases, your Letter of Acceptance may be conditional, that is you might be required to complete certain tasks or submit additional documents before you start your study program. For example, if you were accepted into a graduate program while awaiting results for an undergraduate program in your home country, your LOA will be conditional on the successful completion of your undergraduate program or scoring a minimum grade point average (GPA).
Your LOA may also be conditional upon the completion of a prerequisite course, such as an English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) or French course. In this case, your study permit will initially be valid for the duration of the prerequisite course. Once this course is completed, you will have to apply for a fresh study permit to start your study program.
Also, if your LOA is conditional on prepayment of the first year’s tuition, you will have to make the full payment before you apply for the study permit in Canada.
Who doesn’t need a Letter of Acceptance for a study permit in Canada?
There are two notable exceptions for this.
- Your spouse or partner is already approved for a study or work permit in Canada. Please note: This does not guarantee a study permit as your application can still be rejected if you don’t qualify.
- Your study program is shorter than six months. In this case, you won’t be eligible to work during your studies or apply for a PGWP after you graduate.
Does having an LOA guarantee a study permit?
An LOA is one of the essential but not the only documents required for your study permit application and therefore, it cannot guarantee a study permit.
The IRCC may still reject your study permit application if:
- You are unable to show sufficient proof of funds.
- You are unable to convince a visa officer you’ll leave Canada after completing your studies.
- You fail to fulfil any conditions listed on your LOA.
- Your chosen study program is not in sync with your past academic or work experience.
- You lie or give incomplete information on your study permit application.
- You are ineligible for entry due to health, security, or criminality reasons.
Do you need an LOA to extend your study permit?
As an international student, you may want to extend your study permit. For that, you typically do not need another Letter of Acceptance however, you must apply for extension 30 days before your study permit expires.
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