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International Students

Thank you for your interest in Northern Lakes College (NLC).  We are a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and can accept and enroll international students who have the needed study permits. Please read the following information carefully. Remember that it is your responsibility to obey immigration regulations and maintain your immigration status while in Canada. As well International students are responsible for ALL study permits, travel, health insurance, housing, and financial arrangements. 

Admission Deadlines for International Students

Academic Upgrading Deadlines Post-Secondary Deadlines

Fall Semester – May 1 deadline
Winter Semester – October 15 deadline

Fall Semester – May 1
Winter Semester – October 15
Spring Semester – January 1

View Our International Student Guide

Who is an International Student?


International students are individuals who are NOT one of the following:

  • Canadian Citizens – no specific ID required​
  • Permanent Residents (includes 'landed immigrants') – a certified true copy of a Provincial Government ID card, motor vehicle license, or permanent resident card is required to be kept on the student file
  • Refugee/Protected Persons – documentation is required as proof of this status. Click here to find out what documentation you are required to present.
    • Please note, students who have valid proof of Refugee or Protected Persons status:
      • Are required to submit study and/or coop work permits
      • Do NOT pay international student rates.

Before You Apply


Check admission requirements by program

On the website, find the program for which you want to apply. It is here that you check the admission requirements and confirm that you have successfully completed the high school subjects at the minimum grade. Please note, you must meet all general admission requirements for admission at Northern Lakes College. Click here to see a list of programs that may be of interest to you.

  • You must meet the minimum academic requirements for the program
  • All general admissions requirements must be met
  • Admissions will only accept official documentation that demonstrates your qualifications for entry to the College and its programs

Meet English language proficiency requirements

English is the language of instruction and communication at Northern Lakes College. If your primary language is not English, you must include proof of English language proficiency.

We accept a number of the standardized language tests as proof of English language proficiency. Click here to see a list of approved tests. The scores you require can vary according to program type. Applicants MUST submit evidence that English language proficiency as part of the application process.

Test scores must be no more than two years old.

Click here to see a list of exempt countries. We reserve the right to request proof of English language proficiency, even from applicants of countries on the exemption list.

Confirm admission deadlines

You must apply four months in advance of the start of the program.  This gives you time to provide your documents and other information required by admissions. Application deadlines are firm.

Academic Upgrading Deadlines Post-Secondary Deadlines

Fall Semester – May 1 deadline
Winter Semester – October 15 deadline

Fall Semester – May 1
Winter Semester – October 15
Spring Semester – January 1

Student funding

It is your responsibility to have your funding in place at least TWO months prior to the program start. Forward letters of Funding Sponsorship to our Student Records office at Include your student ID number on Letters of Funding Sponsorship.

Application Process


Apply online

Go to our website to apply online. There is a $50.00 non-refundable application fee for each application. This applies to all career programs.  This amount is subject to change without notice.

Submit application documents

Northern Lakes College cannot begin to review international applications until we receive copies of all of your supporting documents. If your documents are in a language other than English, you will need to submit both the original language document and a certified English translation, which must be complete, literal, word-for-word and in the same format as the original document.

If you attended an educational institution outside of Canada, we require specific documents to assess your credentials correctly. Arrange to have your academic transcript(s) from each institution (High school and post-secondary) sent directly to our office. If institution(s) give you documents in a sealed envelope, do not open the sealed envelope. All original documentation and sealed envelopes must be mailed to Admissions.

Organizations that provide transcript evaluations accepted by Northern Lakes College for review are those included in the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC), specifically:

International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)

The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC)

When arranging for a transcript evaluation, ensure that you choose the assessment meant for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. Completed results of the assessment are to be sent directly from the issuing body to the college along with a copy of the transcripts.  All assessment and shipping costs are the responsibility of the student. Note, the Admissions Department reserves the right to request further documentation.

Placement Testing at NLC

You may choose to take a placement test to show that you have academic requirements. Testing is done online and can be arranged by sending an email to Should you have any questions please call our Accuplacer line at 780-849-8609. Please note, that space is limited for testing, if you book a time you are expected to take your test.

Applicants who are applying for Academic Upgrading will require a placement test. This is to ensure you are placed in courses to meet with the best success.

All test results are valid for TWO years. You are not permitted to rewrite the test. You will NOT receive your test results. After test results are analyzed, you are informed in writing, via e-mail, if you have met the academic requirements or not.

Applicants who take the placement test and score too low for programming cannot then present additional supporting documents for review. The placement test is valid for TWO years.

Notice of Decision

Check your email. We will send you important information that will assist with your application.

We email several letter types to applicants. They include:

Pending – we have received and are processing your application. Submit all documents to Northern Lakes College at this time. Northern Lakes College will NOT reassess your application if you provide additional documentation after we close your application. It is important that you provide ALL documents.

Conditionally Accepted – we have reviewed all documents. You have met the entrance requirements. Next, you must provide your study permit and co-op work permit (if your program has a practicum placement). 

Waitlisted – we added you to a list because our program is full. We will contact if you a seat becomes available. We contact waitlisted applicants in order.

Accepted – you are admitted into the program

Registered – you have made payment in full for the program

Closed – you did not meet the requirements for your program and your application is closed

After You Confirm Admission


Tuition and Fees

If accepted into the program, you must pay a non-refundable commitment fee of $300.00. Upon registration, this fee is deducted from your tuition.

You will receive an email outlining your tuition for the program. Please know that this amount does not include mandatory non-instructional or student association fees. Click here to see tuition amounts by program.

Make all payments online at If you are having difficulty making an online payment, you may find this “how-to” helpful.


We supply textbooks to students enrolled in Academic Upgrading after paying the Learning Resource Fee (LRF).

Students in post-secondary programs are required to purchase their own textbooks. Find the approved program textbook list, including pricing estimates, on our website. You are strongly encouraged to purchase textbooks prior to the start of term. You are not required to purchase new textbooks; however, you are responsible to ensure that textbooks are current.

Providing Copies of Permits

Present your study permit at least THREE weeks prior to the start of the program start date. In addition, you must present a copy of Government issued photo identification.

It is your responsibility to inform Canadian Immigration and Citizenship if you are changing post-secondary institutions.

If you will not finish courses before the end date on your permit, you MUST apply to extend your stay as a student. Visit this website for instructions:

Use our Designated Learning Number (DLI) number on your application. Our number is O19391056848. For details on obtaining study permits (student visas), contact the Canadian Embassy or Consulate in your home country or visit

Programs SHORTER than Six Months

Due to COVID-19, if you want to study in Canada for 6 months of less, you are now required to have a valid study permit.  

Programs LONGER than Six Months

To enroll in a program longer than six months, you are required to have a VALID study permit.  

ALL Programs with a Practicum or Work Study

No matter the length of your program, if your program has a practicum or work-study, you MUST obtain a study permit AND co-op work permit BEFORE you start the program.

If entering a program with a practicum, you must present a satisfactory Police Information Check (“PIC”; or Criminal Record Check) to the program coordinator. Note, this documentation is NOT used to determine acceptance into a program but is required for practicum placement.

  • If outside of Canada or if you have lived in Alberta for less than six months, your criminal record check must come from the country or province of residence.

Present ALL documentation along with government issued photo identification no later than THREE weeks prior to program start dates.

Health insurance

Students are responsible for ensuring they have health care coverage during their stay in Canada.  International students and their dependents, planning to remain in Alberta for 12 months or more, can apply for coverage with the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).  They should apply within 90 days of arrival in Alberta. 

  • Students who have a 12 month Study Permit (for an Alberta Institution) and who will reside in Alberta for 12 months or more are eligible for AHCIP coverage.
  • Students with Study Permits valid for three months, but less than 12 months, may be eligible for AHCIP coverage when the application is accompanied by a letter from the student confirming their intent to reside in Alberta for at least 12 months.
  • If the application for AHCIP coverage is received within three months of entry into Alberta, coverage is effective on the date of either entry into Alberta or the date signed on the Study Permit, whichever is later.

The following link provides more information on temporary residents and AHCIP:

Applicants planning to reside in Alberta for less than 12 months will have to arrange for their own health care coverage.

Course Selection

Academic Upgrading – a Campus Instructor or Coordinator will assist you with course selection

Post-Secondary – if needed, a program Coordinator or Chair will assist you with course selection

International Student Frequently Asked Questions


1. When should I apply for my program?

You must have applied a minimum of four months prior to the program start date. This will help ensure that the timelines are met for receipt of study permits and assessment of your academic credentials.

2. How long will it take my application to be processed?

Once we have received all required documents, your application will take approximately two weeks to process.

3. What happens if I apply after or miss the deadline?

If you apply after the deadline, your application is closed. You must reapply to be considered for the next intake.

4. What happens if the timeline for receipt of my permit (co-op work or study) is not met?

If your permits fail to arrive on time, your application is closed. You must reapply to be considered for the next intake.

5. Can I bring my international transcripts to Northern Lakes College for assessment?

No. You must have your transcripts assessed by an external Canadian service such as International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS). To obtain information about IQAS visit their website at

6. What happens if I disagree with my academic credential assessment used for admission? (i.e. IQAS)

We recommend you pursue an appeal through the organization that assessed your out of country transcripts.

7. What happens if I do not meet the admission requirements for my program?

If you do not meet the entrance requirements, your application is closed. We may offer other programming options, such as Academic Upgrading or College and Career Preparation courses.

8. What happens if I do not submit a permit?

Your application is closed. You must meet all regulations as set out by Canadian Immigration and Citizenship

9. If my program has a practicum (work-study) component, what documents must be provided?

You must provide both a study permit AND a co-op work permit.

10. If my program is normally offered as a full-time program for less than six months and I would like to take the program as part-time student for a period longer than six months, can I do this?

Your permit must show the length of time you will be enrolled. Please note that part-time studies will not qualify you for a post-graduate work permit in Canada. You must be a full-time student for at least 8 months.

11. What happens if my work permit or my study permit ends before the program completion date?

You must extend your permit by applying to Canada Immigration and Citizenship a minimum of three months (90 days) BEFORE the end of your current permit. Provide evidence of extension request to If your permit expires, you are withdrawn from the program and must reapply.

12. What happens if my study permit is not approved before the program start date?

Your application will be closed. Submit your study permit at least THREE weeks prior to the program start date.

13. Are there any special international admission requirements for applying for a trade?

Yes. To apply for a trade program, applicants must be a Canadian citizen or Landed Immigrant.

All trades programs require that you be a registered apprentice with Alberta Industry and Training to be eligible to take the program.  For more information, please refer to

14. What happens if I wish to switch programs after I have been accepted?

All documents would be reassessed to determine if you meet the new program admissions requirements.  Your study permit would have to reflect any change in program timeline.

15. When and how should the program fees be paid?

After processing your application and conditional acceptance is granted, a commitment fee of $300.00 is required. A commitment fee is a tuition deposit. After providing a copy of your study permit (and coop work permit for programs with a practicum), you will receive full acceptance.  Program enrollment documents and full payment will be due no later than ten business days prior to the start of your program.

International students are assessed 3x the domestic rate for tuition fees only. Non-instructional and Student Association fees are assessed at domestic rates.

16. If I am unable to attend my program will I be refunded?

Please refer to our website for information on Fee and Refund practices.

17. Are there bursaries or scholarships available to international students?

Not at this time.

Contacting Student Admissions


If you have questions about the application, process, or our programming please contact or call admissions at 1-866-652-3456. Our offices are open Monday to Friday 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (MST) Monday to Friday. You may leave an email or voice message after hours.

Our address is:
Admission Services
1201 Main St. SE
Slave Lake, AB  T0G2A3

English Language Proficiency Tests and Minimum Scores Required


Proficiency Test

Full Name of Proficiency Test

Minimum Score Required


Canadian Academic English Language

Score of 60 with no subtest below 60


Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment

Score of 8 with no skill score below 7


Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program - General

Score of 8 with no skill score below 7



110 overall with no subtest below 100


International English Language Testing Systems – Academic

Score of 6.0 with no band score below 6.0

PTE Academic

Pearson Test of English – Academic

Score of 50


Test of English as a Foreign Language

Internet based (iBT) score 84 (no section below 21) ; Paper based score 560 with TSE 50

Computer based score 220 and TSE 50


Test of English of International Communication

Score 730/790 and TSE 50

Note: Individual program requirements may apply.  An interview with the program advisor may also be required.

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Exempt Countries


Below is a list of countries recognized as ELP exempt. Northern Lakes College reserves the right to request an ELP, even from applicants of countries on the exemption list, if there is evidence that the applicant may not be proficient in all areas of the English language.

American Samoa

Falkland Islands


St. Lucia


Fiji Montserrat

St. Vincent and the Grenadines


Ghana New Zealand Tanzania




Trinidad and Tobago

Bahamas Great Britain Pacific Islands Turks and Caicos Islands
Barbados Grenada Ryukyu Islands Uganda
Belize Guam Seychelles United States of America
Bermuda Guyana Singapore  
British Honduras Ireland/Northern Ireland South Africa  
Canada (when educated in English) Jamaica St. Helena  
Cayman Islands Malta  

St. Kitts and Nevis