English as a Second Language (ESL) + Undergraduate or Graduate Programs

If you are applying for English as a Second Language (ESL) + Undergraduate or Graduate program, please follow the instructions on International Education Admissions.

English as a Second Language (ESL) only

If you are only applying for English as a Second Language (ESL), basic English language proficiency is required. Students need to submit one of the test scores listed on International Education Admissions as proof of English language proficiency. Even if you are only applying to study English as a Second Language (ESL), an English language proficiency test result is still required. The ESL program cannot accept students who are at the very beginning level of using English. If you want to directly enter a specific ESL level, please check the Direct Entry with IELTS/TOEFL tab below. When you are ready to apply, please follow the steps below:  

Frequently Asked Questions: Attending ESL

We strongly recommend submitting your application online. The application process for international students is different than for domestic students. The application below is for students who are not Canadian Citizen or Permanent Residents.

  • Scan your passport (photo) page
  • Fill in the on-line International Application for Admission form, which includes uploading your passport copy and selecting your method of payment.
  • Pay the $150 (CAD) non-refundable Application Processing Fee (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are preferred.  Cheque, money order, and electronic transfer also accepted). 
  • Once you have submitted your online application you will receive an acknowledgement email with the receipt of payment.


Your application will not begin to be processed until the $150 (CAD) application fee is received, and all scanned required documents are uploaded.

International Application for Admission

  • Once your application fee has been paid and all of your documents have been received, your application will begin to be processed.
  • It can take from 2-8 weeks to process an application. Having all your documents scanned and attached to the online application decreases wait time. 
  • If you have met the admission requirements, you will receive a Letter of Offer from international admissions. This letter will contain information on program start dates and instructions for payment of your tuition deposit. The tuition deposit is usually the equivalent of the first semester’s tuition.
  • In order to secure your place in a program, you must pay the deposit fee by the deadline date indicated in Letter of Offer. Once the deposit is paid an official “Letter of Acceptance” will be emailed to you. You will need this letter to apply for a study permit at a Canadian Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission.


VIU reserves the right to cancel any scheduled program or course if there is insufficient enrollment. In such cases, every reasonable effort will be made to notify you as early as possible.

VIU also accepts paper applications by mail. However, please note that paper applications will take longer to process.

International Admissions
Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street
Nanaimo, BC, V9R 5S5

English Test Requirement

Level of Direct Entry

IELTS 6.5 (with no band below 6.0)


TOEFL iBT 88 (with no section below 20)

Graduate Preparation


IELTS 6.0 (with no band below 5.5)

University Preparation 5 (UP5)

IELTS 5.5 (with no band below 5.0)

 University Preparation 4 (UP4)
 IELTS 5.0 (with no band below 4.5Language Foundations 3 (LF3)

IELTS 4.5 (with no band below 4.0)

Language Foundations 2 (LF2)

IELTS 4.0 (with no band below 3.5)

 Language Foundations 1 (LF1)