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CAQ - FAQs

Immigration Essentials for International Students in Graduate Programs at McGill

New Students

1. I need help with the Arrima payment. What do I do?

Please consult the Arrima payment instructions prepared by the ISS immigration advising team.

2. More than five weeks have passed since I sent my supporting documents for CAQ and I have still not heard back from Immigration Quebec. Should I be worried?

Under normal circumstances, the standard processing time for the CAQ is 25 business days from the day Immigration Quebec confirms in your online portal that they have received your supporting documents. 

You should continue to monitor the information on your CAQ online portal to verify if any updates have been made in your file.

If more than 8 weeks have passed, you may wish to contact Immigration Quebec to follow up on your application.

3. Can I take less than 12 credits per term and study part-time?

Under the current conditions for CAQ holders, international students must make their studies their principal activity. This means that in order to respect your CAQ conditions, you must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of your program, with the exception of your last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements to work on-campus and off-campus, international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

We, therefore, recommend that all international students maintain full-time student status for the duration of their program with the exception of their last term, so as not to compromise their ability to extend their CAQ, maintain authorization to work on and off-campus or their eligibility for the PGWP.

If you must be part-time due to extenuating circumstances such as health issues or a family emergency, please contact us so that we may best advise you. You may also wish to review our part-time studies information sheet.

4. I am a dual US and French citizen. Does it matter which nationality I use when applying for my CAQ?

You can apply for your documents under either nationality, however there are certain advantages to applying under your French nationality for your CAQ and your US nationality for your study permit.

French citizens are exempt from the international tuition fee. Therefore, when applying for your immigration documents and providing proof of your financial capacity, you should include proof of your French citizenship in order to prove why you are exempt from the international tuition fee.

If you are a US citizen or US permanent resident, you can apply for your study permit directly at the port of entry (land or air border between Canada and the US) and therefore should apply for your study permit with your US passport or US permanent resident card.

While you may be applying under one nationality for your CAQ and another for your study permit, it is still recommended to include proof of your dual nationality in both applications for the reasons mentioned above.

5. I got my offer with certain conditions. Should I apply for CAQ with this or wait for a new admission letter once I demonstrate meeting the conditions?

The offer of admission letter that you will receive from McGill is the official and only letter you will receive. As soon as you receive your admission letter you should apply for your CAQ right away. You do not have to wait until you have met the conditions in your admission letter to apply for your CAQ.

6 I am currently outside of Canada and I do not have a valid passport. Can I apply for my CAQ?

No. In order to apply for both your CAQ, you must have a valid passport. If you have not yet applied for your passport, you should do so immediately and request expedited processing of your passport.

NOTE: When you apply for your CAQ, your passport must be valid at the time of submission but it does not have to be valid for the entire duration of your studies. As such, if your passport has not yet expired but will expire soon, you should apply for your CAQ before it does, as the expiry of your CAQ is not dependent on the expiry of your passport.

7. I am a newly admitted student and I would like to defer my studies. Will this impact the validity of my CAQ?

It depends. 

If you are postponing the start date of your studies by one term only, you can use the CAQ you already have and do not need to obtain a new CAQ.

Examples of situations where you would not require a new CAQ:

  • Deferring from the Fall to Winter term;
  • Deferring from the Winter to following Fall term.

However, if you are deferring the start date of your studies by more than one term, you will need to apply for a new CAQ before you can begin your program. 

As per Immigration Quebec:

“If you are postponing your studies for more than one semester, you will have to obtain a new CAQ for studies.

8. I am currently outside Canada and both my CAQ and study permit are still valid. Can I return with these documents to continue my studies?

Your CAQ and study permit both remain valid until their expiry date and you may use them to enter Canada to resume your studies.

In order to enter Canada, you must have a valid CAQ, study permit and Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA.

*Important: Please review our Travel FAQs before making any plans to travel to Canada.

9. My parents will support me financially using their joint bank account. For CAQ, do they each need to sign a separate Declaration of Financial Support letter? 

YES. If submitting financial capacity documents from a joint bank account, both account holders (in this case, your parents) each need to complete and sign a separate Declaration of Financial Support letter.

As a general rule, when submitting proof of financial capacity, each person who will be supporting you needs to individually sign and date a Declaration of financial support letter and provide supporting documents that clearly demonstrate their financial capacity to provide for you during your studies.

NOTE: If you will be receiving funding from your department, you should indicate that you are supporting yourself; your department does not need to sign the Declaration of financial support form.

10. Do I have to apply for a new CAQ if I change universities or programs?

You do not have to apply for a new CAQ if you change universities or programs as long as you meet the following conditions:

  1. Your program of studies is the same length as your original program;
  2. Your original CAQ was issued for university studies;
  3. You do not change the level of study (e.g. Bachelor to Masters).

NOTE:  You can find information on when to submit a new application for a CAQ for studies on the MIFI website.

*Please note that the information is only available in French.

11. What does "proof of financial capacity" mean and how do I demonstrate it?

If your checklist includes a request for proof of financial capacity, you - or whoever is supporting you - should provide a confirmation that you/they can cover tuition and fees plus one year of living expenses.  

Current Students

1. I need help with the Arrima payment. What do I do?

Please consult the Arrima payment instructions prepared by the ISS immigration advising team.

2. My CAQ and study permit are expiring on or before August 31, 2024 but registration for the 2024-2025 academic year only opens on May 29th. Should I apply to renew my CAQ and/or study permit before I register for the Fall 2024/Winter 2025 terms?

It depends.  Ideally, you should include proof of registration for a future term(s) with your CAQ and study permit renewal applications. However, 2024-2025 registration for returning students only opens on May 29, 2024. For certain students, this may be too late to start the process of renewing immigration documents. 

Students who should not wait until Fall 2024/Winter 2025 registration to apply to renew their CAQ and/or study permit: 

  • Students whose study permit will expire before May 29th, 2024 

  • Students who were not continuously enrolled full-time every term (i.e., part-time term(s), withdrawal from courses reducing course load to less than 12 credits, leaves of absence, gap term(s), etc.)  

  • Students who have many failed courses (Fs, Us, etc.)  

  • Students who would like to travel outside Canada and do not plan on returning before their current immigration documents expire. If this is your case, review our Travel FAQ’s for important information.  

NOTE: All other students may wish to wait until they have proof of registration for the Fall 2024/Winter 2025 term(s). Students who are not in one of the above-mentioned situations but who are worried about receiving their documents on time can choose to apply to renew their documents before they have proof of registration for a future term(s). 

Documents to include if you apply to renew your CAQ and/or study permit before Fall 2024/Winter 2025 registration opens (i.e., before May 29th, 2024): 

When applying to renew your CAQ and study permit, you should include the following documents instead of proof of registration for upcoming term(s): 

Undergraduate students: 

  • Proof of Credits Completed To-Date letter from Minerva for Winter 2024. If this letter is not accurate (e.g. does not correctly show the number of credits remaining), please contact Service Point to request a revised letter.  

  • Registration Dates Letter Fall 2024-Winter 2025. 

  • Your official transcript (for CAQ application only). 

  • Cover letter (signed and dated) that explains why you are applying to renew your CAQ and/or study permit before obtaining proof of registration for the 2024-2025 academic year 

  • If possible, a letter from your academic advisor confirming your expected graduation date  

Graduate students: 

  • Proof of Enrolment letter for the Winter 2024 and Summer 2024 terms. 

  • If possible, a letter from your department confirming your expected graduation date – you must include this letter if you are a thesis student. 

  • Your official transcript (for CAQ application only). 

NOTE FOR CAQ

  • If you receive an intention of refusal notice from Immigration Quebec requesting additional documents for your CAQ application, please contact our office right away. 

NOTE FOR STUDY PERMIT: 

  • Applying before Fall 2024/Winter 2025 registration: When applying to renew your study permit, follow the instructions mentioned above. Then, once you are registered for Fall 2024/Winter 2025, make sure to submit your proof of enrolment letter(s) via the IRCC Web Form and request that it be added to your pending study permit application.  

  • If you do not submit proof of enrolment to IRCC for the Fall 2024/Winter 2025 term(s), your study permit application may be refused. 

3. I'm applying to extend my CAQ. For electronic document submission through Arrima, how do I ensure my official transcript is “official”?

You can upload a copy of your official eTranscript (order an electronic official transcript

For the official eTranscript, please ensure that you view/save your eTranscript according to the instructions provided by MyCreds when ordering. It is possible that a "COPY" watermark will appear on the eTranscript when you combine the eTranscript with other documents into one PDF, when you save the eTranscript to your computer, and/or when the immigration agent opens the file. We therefore recommend that you include a signed cover letter with your official eTranscript that explains this possibility.

NOTE: When submitting your documents to MIFI electronically through Arrima, you should combine and save your signed Cover Letter and official e-transcript into a single PDF and upload the PDF file in the transcript section of the checklist. 

Please contact us if you receive an Intention of refusal letter from MIFI requesting that you provide them with additional documents.

4. More than five weeks have passed since I sent my supporting documents for CAQ and I have still not heard back from Immigration Quebec. Should I be worried?

Under normal circumstances, the standard processing time for the CAQ is 25 business days from the day Immigration Quebec confirms in your online portal that they have received your supporting documents. 

You should continue to monitor the information on your CAQ online portal to verify if any updates have been made in your file.

If more than 8 weeks have passed, you may wish to contact Immigration Quebec to follow up on your application.

5. Can I take less than 12 credits per term and study part-time?

Under the current conditions for CAQ holders, international students must make their studies their principal activity. This means that in order to respect your CAQ conditions, you must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of your program, with the exception of your last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements to work on-campus and off-campus, international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), international students must maintain full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

We, therefore, recommend that all international students maintain full-time student status for the duration of their program with the exception of their last term, so as not to compromise their ability to extend their CAQ, maintain authorization to work on and off-campus or their eligibility for the PGWP.

If you must be part-time due to extenuating circumstances such as health issues or a family emergency, please contact us so that we may best advise you. You may also wish to review our part-time studies information sheet.

6. I am a dual US and French citizen. Does it matter which nationality I use when applying for my CAQ?

You can apply for your documents under either nationality, however there are certain advantages to applying under your French nationality for your CAQ and your US nationality for your study permit.

French citizens are exempt from the international tuition fee. Therefore, when applying for your immigration documents and providing proof of your financial capacity, you should include proof of your French citizenship in order to prove why you are exempt from the international tuition fee.

If you are a US citizen or US permanent resident, you can apply for your study permit directly at the port of entry (land or air border between Canada and the US) and therefore should apply for your study permit with your US passport or US permanent resident card.

While you may be applying under one nationality for your CAQ and another for your study permit, it is still recommended to include proof of your dual nationality in both applications for the reasons mentioned above.

7. I recently completed my undergraduate degree at McGill and will be starting a graduate program in the upcoming academic term. My CAQ will only expire in a year. Do I need to apply for a new CAQ?

Your CAQ is level specific which means you will need a different CAQ for undergraduate, master and doctoral studies. You will therefore need to apply for and obtain a new CAQ before starting your graduate studies in the Fall. When applying for your new CAQ, please follow the CAQ renewal guide as your application will be considered an extension and not a first CAQ application.

Your study permit on the other hand is not level specific. If it is valid, you may use it to begin your studies in the Fall, right up until its expiry. You will have to renew it before it expires as you must have a valid study permit for the entire duration of your studies in Canada.

8. I am currently outside Canada and both my CAQ and study permit are still valid. Can I return with these documents to continue my studies?

Your CAQ and study permit both remain valid until their expiry date and you may use them to enter Canada to resume your studies.

In order to enter Canada, you must have a valid CAQ, study permit and Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA.

*Important: Please review our Travel FAQs and Travelling to and from Canada page before making any plans to travel to Canada.

9. My parents will support me financially using their joint bank account. For CAQ, do they each need to sign a separate Declaration of Financial Support letter? 

YES. If submitting financial capacity documents from a joint bank account, both account holders (in this case, your parents) each need to complete and sign a separate Declaration of Financial Support letter.

As a general rule, when submitting proof of financial capacity, each person who will be supporting you needs to individually sign and date a Declaration of financial support letter and provide supporting documents that clearly demonstrate their financial capacity to provide for you during your studies.

NOTE: If you will be receiving funding from your department, you should indicate that you are supporting yourself; your department does not need to sign the Declaration of financial support form.

10. What does "proof of financial capacity" mean and how do I demonstrate it?

If your checklist includes a request for proof of financial capacity, you - or whoever is supporting you - should provide a confirmation that you/they can cover tuition and fees plus one year of living expenses.  

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