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International Students

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HWDSB welcomes international students to live and learn in our safe, diverse and welcoming community. Students visiting Hamilton from abroad have a great opportunity to get a high-quality education while learning about other cultures and perspectives. In addition, teachers and staff at HWDSB have experience helping international students adapt to life in Canada.

Learn more by visiting our:


Admissions Criteria

All secondary school (grade 9 -12) applicants must have a B average or greater (approximately 70%).

Elementary (Kindergarten to grade 8) students must live with an immediate family member while studying with Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

Students studying longer than 6 months must have a valid study permit.

School Placement

Secondary school (grade 9-12) placement will be determined by Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and is subject to the student’s home address and English assessment result.

Elementary students (Kindergarten to grade 8) will be placed in the grade for which they are age-appropriate. Elementary school placement is subject to the student’s home address.

Application Deadline

Secondary School (grades 9 – 12)

  • First semester: September to January; application deadline – May 31
  • Second semester: February to June; application deadline – Nov 30

Elementary School (Kindergarten – Grade 8)

  • First semester: September to December
  • Second semester: January to June
  • Can enroll during the semester. Application deadline is more flexible.

Apply Online

Please submit an international student application online by clicking here.

  • If an Agency is submitting a student application, please click the “Agents Start Here” link on the online application website.
  • If a parent, relative or friend is submitting a student application, please click the “Parents Start Here” link on the online application website.

An Agent Portal Guide and a Family Portal Guide are available on the website. Please read either Guide accordingly for detailed instructions on how to submit an international student application online.

If you have any further questions, please email us at [email protected].

Fees and Payment


Application fee:

$350 Canadian dollars (non-refundable)

Tuition :

  • $14,850 CDN (2 semesters, max 8 credits) – Secondary
  • $7,425 CDN (1 semester, max 4 credits)- Secondary
  • $14,850 CDN (full school year, 10 months) – Elementary
  • $1,856.25 CDN per additional summer/Night/Saturday/online credit
  • Additional fees for the IB Program
  • Short term (less than one semester) fees are prorated.

Medical insurance:

$659 CDN (12 months)

Payment Options

CIBC International Student Pay (Online Portal)

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has partnered with CIBC to provide students with a fast, easy and more secure way to pay study expenses in your preferred currency from anywhere in the world at any time.

When paying from a bank in Canada, parents can choose to pay by Debit Direct (Electronic Fund Transfer) or Credit Card.

When paying from a foreign bank account outside of Canada, parents can pay by Bank Wire, Visa, MasterCard, China UnionPay, and or ACH (Direct Debit) depending on the country they are paying from.

To learn more about how to make a payment, please watch the ‘how to’ video by clicking on your preferred language below:

Go to https://pay.cibc.com/hwdsb to access the portal and follow the steps below.

You may select your preferred language in the top right corner inside the portal.

  1. Log In
    Access the CIBC International Student Pay secure web portal and enter your student details
  2. Provide Payment Details
    Simply enter the amount in Canadian dollars, then select your country and payment currency.
  3. Enter Payer and Student Details
    Enter your student information and the payer details. Your Student ID is the first four-digit number on your invoice.
  4. Initiate Transfer
    Carefully review the Terms & Conditions provided by CIBC, and when ready, click “Accept” and “Submit”.
  5. Track your payment
    Track your payment anytime by selecting ‘track your payments’ on the CIBC International Student Pay portal.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we currently do not accept money orders or bank drafts.

Refund Policy

Tuition Refund Policy Agreement – Effective June 2023

Please note that every refund is subject to a CAD $600 administration fee. The Application fee is not refundable. Medical Administration fee is not refundable if medical insurance has been ordered.

A full refund of the tuition fee, minus $600 administration fee, will be issued if Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not approve a Study Permit. The following documents must be submitted to the Admissions Office within 30 days of the Study Permit rejection in order to receive the refund:

  • A written refund request signed by the parent including the name and address of the refund recipient.
  • Copy of the Letter of Rejection from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

There will be no refund of the tuition fee in the following circumstances:

  • The student decides not to come to study at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board for reasons other than their Study Permit has been rejected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • The student chooses to withdraw during the school year.
  • The student is found in violation of Ministry regulations or policies or procedures of Hamilton-Wentworth-District School Board, and as such is directed to withdraw from Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s school system.

If the student or the accompanying parent/guardian/caregiver changes their immigration status during the period for which the student has paid the tuition fee for, there will be no refund of any paid tuition fee. If parents/guardians/caregivers or students are anticipating a change in their immigration status, they may consider paying the student’s fees by semester instead of by school year.

Studying at HWDSB

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is a large school board located in the province of Ontario. HWDSB services the communities of Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek.

Secondary Schools

  • Grade 9 to 12 (Full days Monday to Friday for about 6 hours per day)
  • In Ontario, attendance at school is compulsory to 18 years of age.

School Year at a Glance

  • September to June
  • Winter Break in December/January
  • Spring Break in March

Schools provide notification of Professional Activity Days and public holidays such as Thanksgiving Day, Good Friday and Victoria Day. Learn more about the School Year Calendar.


International fee-paying students must make an intake and assessment appointment with the Admissions Office prior to attending school at HWDSB.

All International Fee Paying Students must present the following documentation to the Admissions office at the time of their scheduled intake appointment/assessment.

  • Study Permit
  • Passport
  • Previous School Record
  • Custody Information (if applicable)
  • Proof of valid Health Insurance Coverage
  • Proof of residency in Hamilton (relative or custodian)

The Welcome Centre reviews the student’s understanding of English and Mathematics. During the assessment, the teacher will work one-on-one with the student and observe some of the factors that might affect success in his/her new school.

Updated on Monday, October 02, 2023.
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