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Study Permit - FAQs

Immigration Essentials for International Students in Graduate Programs at McGill

New Students

1. Should I apply for my study permit through the IRCC secure account (GCKey) or the IRCC portal? 

It depends.

When to use the IRCC Secure Account

  • If you are inside of Canada and are applying for an extension of your current study permit. You can study under maintained status even after your study permit expires if you apply using the IRCC secure account.
  • If you are applying for a study permit from outside of Canada and you have accompanying dependents who also require a permit or visa.
  • If are applying for a study permit for the first time from inside Canada and are eligible to do so.

When to use the IRCC Portal

2. Do I need to get a new Study Permit if I am transferring to McGill from another school in Canada?

You do not have to apply for a new Study Permit but do need to inform IRCC of the change in schools through your online account.

Please note, all international students studying in Quebec must have a valid CAQ for the appropriate level of studies.

If you are a high school or secondary school student coming to McGill and want to be able to work while you study, you must apply to change the conditions of your study permit. There is a fee to make this change. To do this, you’ll need to apply for a new study permit from within Canada.

Visit the IRCC website for more details.

3. Am I required to provide biometrics when applying for my study permit?

Most study permit applicants from outside Canada will need to provide biometrics.

US citizens are exempt from the requirement to provide their biometrics when applying to come to Canada to study.

All other foreign nationals applying to extend their stay in Canada as a student must provide their biometrics unless they are exempt or have already provided their biometrics within the past ten years.

There is a fee of $85 CAD to have your biometrics collected.

If you are not exempt and have not provided your biometrics in the past 10 years, then you will be required to provide your biometrics when applying for your study permit and will receive a Biometrics Instructions Letter with more details from IRCC. Your study permit application cannot be finalized until IRCC receives your biometrics.

4. Am I required to have a valid medical exam in order to enter Canada?

It depends.

You are required to have proof of valid immigration medical examination results when entering Canada if you have resided in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months within the past year, OR if you will work in a position that puts you in close contact with people, for example as:

  • a medical student
  • a student in a health sciences field who will have placements in health-care or home-care settings
  • an education student who will have placements in primary or secondary schools

The requirement to have valid immigration examination results applies to ALL students, regardless if you are a returning student entering Canada with a valid study permit OR a new student entering Canada with a study permit approval letter (letter of introduction). If your medical exam will no longer be valid (i.e., the results are more than 12 months old) when you plan to enter Canada, you will need to complete another medical exam before travelling to Canada.

IRCC may contact you to inform you that your medical exam is no longer valid, but in some cases, you may not receive a correspondence letter from IRCC. Should this be the case then you must follow the instructions for upfront medicals and submit proof of having done your medical via the IRCC Web Form.

It is a student’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all the requirements to enter Canada. If you are unsure if you need to redo your medical exam, you should contact IRCC via their webform.

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

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.

6. I am a U.S. citizen/P.R., currently outside of Canada, with an approved CAQ. Should I apply for my study permit online or at the border?

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you may apply for your study permit online or at a port of entry. Note the issuance of the study permit at the POE will be at the discretion of the border officer, see our study permit guide for a list of documents you should bring when applying at the POE.

NOTE: U.S. permanent residents applying for a study permit online or at a POE must provide biometrics. Those applying for their study permit at a POE will be able to provide their biometrics at the POE.

7. I am currently outside of Canada and I do not have a valid passport. Can I apply for my immigration documents?

No. In order to apply for your study permit, 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.

IMPORTANT: The expiry of your study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or eTA is dependent on the expiry of your passport; these documents generally cannot be issued past the expiry of your passport.

8. I applied for study permit with an admission letter from another institution. Now admitted to McGill, should I apply for a new study permit?

It depends.

If you are currently outside of Canada and your study permit application is still processing and has not yet been approved, you can submit your letter of admission from McGill and your CAQ approval letter via the IRCC Web form. However, if your study permit application has already been approved, you should submit a new study permit application with your letter of admission from McGill and the CAQ approval letter.

If you are currently inside of Canada with a valid study permit and you are attending another institution, you will need to notify IRCC that you have changed institutions via your MyAccount. Please see the IRCC website for instructions on how to do so.

If you obtained a CAQ for a different institution, you may use it for your studies at McGill if the CAQ is for the same level of studies as your new program at McGill. For example, if your CAQ is for Université - premier cycle, you may use it to complete your undergraduate studies at McGill. If it is for Université - deuxième or troisième cycle, you may not use it for your undergraduate studies as these are for Master’s and Doctorate studies, respectively.

9. I am a new student with a study permit approval letter. I want to defer my studies. Will this impact my study permit approval letter?

It depends.

Your study permit or Port of Introduction letter (i.e., your study permit approval letter) will remain valid until the date of its expiry. You will not need to apply for a new study permit and you can use your study permit approval letter to travel to Canada to begin your Summer 2023 or Fall 2023 semester as long as you do so within the validity period indicated in the letter. Your actual study permit document will be issued to you at the Port of Entry upon arrival to Canada.

10. I am a current undergraduate student who will start a graduate program in the upcoming academic term. My study permit expires in a year. Should I apply for a new study permit?

Your study permit is not level specific. You may therefore use it to begin your studies in the Fall and for as long as it remains valid. 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.

IMPORTANT: Your CAQ is level specific, which means you will need a different CAQ for undergraduate, master and doctoral studies even if you have a valid study permit. 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.

11. Can I apply for my Study Permit and TRV/Entry Visa at the same time?

It depends where you are applying for your Study Permit:

  • If you are applying for a Study Permit outside of Canada, your TRV is included in the same application and you are exempt from paying the TRV application fee. 
  • If you are applying to renew your Study Permit inside Canada, you will have to wait to receive the new Study Permit before you apply for your new TRV.  Read the TRV application guide for instructions.

Current Students

1. My study permit is 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 study permit before I register for the Fall 2024/Winter 2025 terms?

It depends.  Ideally, you should always 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 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 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) to apply for their study permit renewal. Students who are not in one of the above-mentioned situations but who are worried about receiving their documents on time can also  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 study permit before Fall 2024/Winter 2025 registration opens (i.e., before May 29th, 2024): 

When applying to renew your 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. 

  • Cover letter (signed and dated) that explains why you are applying to renew your 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. 

  • Registration Dates Letter Fall 2024-Winter 2025. 

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

NOTE FOR STUDY PERMIT (ALL STUDENTS): 

  • 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. 

 

2. Should I apply for my study permit through the IRCC Secure Account (GCKey) or the IRCC portal?

It depends.

When to use the IRCC Secure Account

  • If you are inside of Canada and are applying for an extension of your current study permit. You can study under maintained status even after your study permit expires if you apply using the IRCC secure account.
  • If you are applying for a study permit from outside of Canada and you have accompanying dependents who also require a permit or visa.
  • If are applying for a study permit for the first time from inside Canada and are eligible to do so.

When to use the IRCC Portal

3. Am I required to provide biometrics when applying to extend my study permit from inside Canada?

It depends.

US citizens are exempt from the requirement to provide their biometrics when applying to come to or extend their stay in Canada temporarily.

All other foreign nationals applying to extend their stay in Canada as a student must provide their biometrics unless they are exempt, or have already provided their biometrics within the past ten years. 

There is a fee of $85 CAD to have your biometrics collected.

If you are not exempt and have not provided your biometrics in the past 10 years, then you will be required to provide your biometrics when applying to extend your study permit from inside Canada and will receive a Biometrics Instructions Letter with instructions on how to do so from IRCC.

Your study permit extension application cannot be finalized until IRCC receives your biometrics.

See IRCC’s website for full details on who is required to provide their biometrics when applying to come to or extend their stay in Canada temporarily.

4. Am I required to have a valid medical exam in order to enter Canada?

It depends.

You are required to have proof of valid immigration medical examination results when entering Canada if you have resided in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months within the past year, OR if you will work in a position that puts you in close contact with people, for example as:

  • a medical student
  • a student in a health sciences field who will have placements in health-care or home-care settings
  • an education student who will have placements in primary or secondary schools

The requirement to have valid immigration examination results applies to ALL students, regardless if you are a returning student entering Canada with a valid study permit OR a new student entering Canada with a study permit approval letter (letter of introduction). If your medical exam will no longer be valid (i.e., the results are more than 12 months old) when you plan to enter Canada, you will need to complete another medical exam before travelling to Canada.

IRCC may contact you to inform you that your medical exam is no longer valid, but in some cases, you may not receive a correspondence letter from IRCC. Should this be the case then you must follow the instructions for upfront medicals and submit proof of having done your medical via the IRCC Web Form.

It is a student’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all the requirements to enter Canada. If you are unsure if you need to redo your medical exam, you should contact IRCC via their webform.

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

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.

6. I am a U.S. citizen/P.R., currently outside of Canada, with an approved CAQ. Should I apply for my study permit online or at the border?

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you may apply for your study permit online or at a port of entry. Note the issuance of the study permit at the POE will be at the discretion of the border officer, see our study permit guide for a list of documents you should bring when applying at the POE.

NOTE: U.S. permanent residents applying for a study permit online or at a POE must provide biometrics. Those applying for their study permit at a POE will be able to provide their biometrics at the POE.

7. I am currently outside of Canada and I do not have a valid passport. Can I apply for my immigration documents?

No. In order to apply for your study permit, 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.

IMPORTANT: The expiry of your study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or eTA is dependent on the expiry of your passport; these documents generally cannot be issued past the expiry of your passport.

8. I am waiting for my CAQ to be issued and don’t think I will have it before my study permit expires. Can I apply to extend my study permit without my new CAQ?

Applying to extend your study permit without your CAQ should only be done in exceptional circumstances. Students should apply for their new CAQ at least three months prior to the expiration of their study permit to ensure it is issued with ample time to submit their study permit extension application. That said, should you find yourself in a situation that requires you to apply to extend your study permit without yet having your CAQ in order to be able to continue studying under maintained status, please see below.

IMPORTANT: If you submit an application to extend your stay in Canada as a student without a valid CAQ, your application may be refused or rejected as incomplete*, as having a valid CAQ is a required document when applying for your study permit. The decision to keep your application open until you have submitted your CAQ will be at the discretion of the Immigration Agent processing your file.

*If your application is rejected as incomplete, it is as if the application was never submitted and you would not have maintained status after your study permit expires.

The deadline to submit an application to extend your study permit is 11:59pm Coordinated Universal Time (or UTC) on the last day of your study permit’s validity. For example, if your study permit is valid until March 31, 2024, you would have until 11:59pm (UTC) on March 31, 2024 to submit your study permit extension.

You must submit an application to extend your study permit before your current study permit expires to maintain your status in Canada as a student. If you do not apply to extend your study permit from inside Canada before it expires, you will lose your status as a student and cannot study until you obtain a new study permit.

NOTE: If you lose your status as a student, you have 90 days from the day your study permit expired (or was refused, if applicable) to apply to restore your status as a student. Please see our Maintained Status vs Out Of Status information page for more details.

The following are the instructions you should follow in order to apply to extend your study permit if you have not yet obtained your CAQ, and which documents to include in lieu of your CAQ with your online application.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In the field requesting your new CAQ, upload a Cover Letter explaining when you applied for your CAQ, why you are applying without your CAQ and request that the Immigration Officer holds off on processing your study permit application until you have uploaded your new CAQ via the IRCC web form.
  2. Your Cover Letter (Sample draft):

To whom it may concern,

I am a returning student at McGill University pursuing a degree in [PROGRAM]. As you can see from my attached documents, I applied for my new Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) on [DATE] and it is currently being processed.
 

OPTIONAL: Include reasons why you have not yet obtained your CAQ.

Because I would like to ensure that I obtain maintained status, I am applying for a Study Permit without my new CAQ approval letter. As soon as I receive my CAQ approval letter, I will upload it via the IRCC Web Form. I am requesting that you allow my file to remain open until I submit my CAQ.

If you need to contact me, you can reach me at [YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS] and/or [YOUR PHONE NUMBER].

  1. You also need to include a screenshot of your online application summary for a new CAQ that shows all of the relevant dates for your application including the date you applied, the date you paid and any other milestones such as the dates your documents were received by Immigration Quebec; and
  2. CAQ - Document checklist; and
  3. CAQ – Application Summary and Arrima Account Summary; and
  4. Proof of payment for your new CAQ; and (if applicable);
  5. If you have received an Intention to Refuse letter, you can include this as well.


All the above documents can be merged into one PDF and uploaded in the field for your CAQ.

Once you submit your study permit application, it will be pending until an officer opens the application. As soon as your new CAQ has been approved, you must send your CAQ Approval Letter to Immigration Canada so that they may add it to your pending study permit application via the IRCC Web Form. You should not wait for Immigration Canada to request your CAQ as they do not always do so.

  • If Immigration Canada sends a Request Letter asking for your new CAQ and you still do not have it, follow the instructions in that letter to request an extension to the deadline to provide your new CAQ.
     
  • If Immigration Canada sends a Request Letter asking for your new CAQ and you have already submitted it via the IRCC Web Form, follow the instructions in the letter and submit your new CAQ again.

If your study permit application is refused, please book an appointment with an ISS advisor as soon as possible.

9. I applied to extend my study permit inside Canada before it expired. Can I travel and re-enter Canada to resume studies while my application is processing?


It depends.

If you leave Canada while your study permit extension application is processing, you may lose the right to study and work in Canada. You may also be denied entry to Canada.

Before making travel plans, see which example below applies to your situation:
 

  1. You plan to return to Canada before your current study permit expires. You can re-enter Canada and resume your studies. You will benefit from maintained status from the date your study permit expires until a decision is made on your application as long as you remain in Canada. Under maintained status, you can continue to study and work as per the conditions of your previous study permit.
     
  2. You plan to return to Canada after your study permit has expired – e.g. your study permit expired while you were in Canada or will expire while you are outside of Canada. You will not benefit from maintained status. If you had maintained status before leaving Canada, you will lose this status when you leave Canada. This means that:
    • You will not be authorized to study or work in Canada until your new study permit has been issued.
       
    • You may be denied entry to Canada. If you are allowed to enter Canada, you will not be authorized to study or work in Canada until your new study permit has been issued.
       

NOTE: Your study permit extension application will continue to process even if you leave Canada. Once your application has been approved, the actual study permit will be mailed to the Canadian address you included in your application form. If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) based on your country of citizenship, you will have to apply for one separately, after your study permit has been approved. If you require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), it will automatically be renewed with your study permit. See IRCC’s website for more information on entry requirements, including TRV and eTA exemptions.

10. What happens if my CAQ and study permit expire while I am outside of Canada and I want to return to resume my studies?

If your immigration documents will expire while you are outside of Canada, you will need to apply for and obtain new ones before returning to Canada to resume your studies. Please see our CAQ Renewal Guide and our Study Permit Renewal Guide (under “Applying for Your Study Permit from Outside Canada”) for more detailed instructions.

You will also need to have a valid eTA or TRV to enter Canada, unless exempt. If you apply for your new study permit from outside of Canada, a new eTA or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) will be automatically issued at the same time your study permit is approved.

*Important: Please review the Travelling to and from Canada page and our COVID-19 Immigration Resources before making any plans to travel to Canada.

11. 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.

12. Do I have to apply for a new Study Permit if I change programs at McGill?

You do not have to apply for a new Study Permit if you change programs within McGill and do not need to inform IRCC of the change in program or level of study. 

Visit the IRCC website for more details.

13. Can I apply for my Study Permit and TRV/Entry Visa at the same time?

It depends where you are applying for your Study Permit:

  • If you are applying for a Study Permit outside of Canada, your TRV is included in the same application and you are exempt from paying the TRV application fee. 
  • If you are applying to renew your Study Permit inside Canada, you will have to wait to receive the new Study Permit before you apply for your new TRV.  Read the TRV application guide for instructions.

Study With A Work Permit

1. I am in Canada and hold a valid work permit, or have recently applied to extend my work permit. Can I study at McGill without a valid CAQ or study permit?

It depends. Effective June 27, 2023, IRCC implemented a new temporary public policy measure that allows eligible workers to study in Canada without a study permit. Immigration Quebec is also exempting these eligible workers from the requirement to hold a CAQ.

Who is eligible to benefit from this temporary public policy measure?
To be eligible to study at McGill without a CAQ or study permit under this temporary public policy, you must be authorized to work in Canada with either of the following:

  • You hold a valid work permit and the application associated with that permit was received by IRCC on or before June 7, 2023; or
  • You applied to extend your work permit and received a letter from IRCC with an issue date on or before June 7, 2023 authorizing you to work in Canada while your work permit extension application is being processed.
     

Who is not eligible to benefit from this temporary public policy measure?
Anyone who applied for their work permit (initial or extension) after June 7, 2023, is not eligible to benefit from this temporary public policy measure.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  • If you elect to study at McGill without a study permit under this temporary public policy, you will not be eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit. You must have a study permit and study full-time to be eligible for the PGWP.
  • If you elect to study at McGill without a CAQ and study permit under this temporary public policy, you are not required to be enrolled on a full-time basis. However, please note that departmental policies may still require full-time enrollment as a condition of your program.
  • If you’re a worker who is studying full time and considering applying for Permanent Residency, your work experience will not count toward your eligibility for the Canada Experience Class or for gaining Canadian work experience points under the Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
  • If you’re a worker who is studying full time and considering applying for Permanent Residency, your full-time studies will count toward the Federal Skilled Worker Program adaptability and Express Entry CRS points, but only if you study at a designated learning institution (DLI) that offers PGWP-eligible programs, which McGill is and does.

NOTE: This public policy is in effect until June 27, 2026 and may be revoked at any time, without prior notice. For more details, please visit the Immigration Canada and Immigration Quebec websites.

2. How long can I study at McGill without a CAQ or study permit under this temporary public policy measure?

  1. If you meet the eligibility requirements of this temporary policy, and you applied for a work permit before or on June 7, 2023, you can study without a CAQ and study permit until the earliest of the two following dates:
  • the expiry date on your work permit; OR
  • June 27, 2026 (the date IRCC’s temporary public policy expires)
  1. If you meet the eligibility requirements of this temporary policy, and you had a work permit extension application in progress on June 7, 2023, you can study without a CAQ and study permit until the earliest of the three following dates:
  • the expiry date on your approved work permit extension;
  • the date your work permit extension application is refused (if applicable); OR
  • June 27, 2026 (the date this temporary public policy expires)

3. My work permit will expire before I complete my program. Do I need a CAQ and study permit?

You will need to apply for a CAQ and apply for a study permit if:

  • Your courses, degree or program length will extend beyond the validity of your current work permit (to cover the period you will be studying after its expiry); or
  • Your work permit extension application is refused.

Provincial Attestation Letter

1. What is the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) and how do I obtain it?

Immigration Canada now requires most undergraduate students to obtain a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) to apply for their study permit.  

In Quebec, the CAQ will also serve as the PAL. For your CAQ to act as your PAL, it must include the following line: “This letter of attestation confirms that the applicant has a place in the Québec share of the distribution of study permit applications or that he or she has been exempted." 

 If you applied for your study permit before 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024, you do not require the above line on your CAQ.  

If you received a CAQ without the PAL line, you need to request an updated CAQ attestation letter from Immigration Quebec via their webform. Please review the webform instructions on the Immigration Quebec website. For students who apply for a CAQ after Feb 13, 2024, their CAQ will automatically have the PAL line. 

You can upload your CAQ in both the CAQ and PAL section of the study permit application.  

Undergraduate students renewing their study permits in Canada are exempt from the PAL requirement.  

Graduate students are exempt from the PAL requirement in all study permit application scenarios.  However, they are still required to obtain a CAQ. 

2. I am a graduate student (Masters or PhD) applying for a study permit, do I require a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)?

No, graduate students are exempt from the requirement of the PAL for their study permit applications. However, they are still required to obtain a CAQ.

When applying for the study permit, you should answer these questions in the following manner in order to not have the PAL as a requirement on your study permit document checklist:  

  • Do you have a provincial attestation letter? No  

  • Do you qualify for an exception? Yes 

  • Which exception do you qualify for? I am an applicant applying to study for a masters degree or doctoral degree program.  

3. The Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) is on my document checklist for my study permit renewal, do I need to provide a PAL for a renewal?

If you are applying for a study permit renewal inside of Canada, you are exempt from the requirement of the PAL.  

When applying for the study permit renewal you should answer these questions in the following manner in order to not have the PAL as a requirement on your study permit document checklist:  

Do you have a provincial attestation letter? No  

Do you qualify for an exception? Yes 

Which exception do you qualify for? I am an applicant applying within Canada as described under section 215(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). 

Please note, if you are applying for the study permit from outside of Canada, you will be required to provide a PAL for your study permit application. In Quebec, the CAQ will serve as the PAL. For your CAQ to act as your PAL, it must include the following line: “This letter of attestation confirms that the applicant has a place in the Québec share of the distribution of study permit applications or that he or she has been exempted." 

If your current CAQ does not include this remark, you must either apply to renew your CAQ (if it is expiring at the same time as your study permit) or request that your current CAQ be amended to include the PAL remark via the Immigration Quebec webform.  

4.I am a graduate student and therefore I am exempt from requiring the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL), do I still need a CAQ?

Yes, graduate students still require a Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec (CAQ) and a study permit to study at McGill. 

International students who are exempt from requiring the PAL, still need a CAQ. 

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