Please visit our COVID-19 page for the latest news, resources, and FAQs.

COVID-19 Updates from International Student Services
International students with a valid study permit or study permit approval letter can now travel to Canada as long as they are registered at a designated learning institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. McGill is one of the institutions on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. Students travelling to Canada will need to have a self-quarantine plan to ensure that they can self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.

Please visit our COVID-19 page for additional news, resources, and FAQs.

FAQs for Fall 2020 graduates

Is Fall your last term?

If so, please refer to the sections on the left navigation bar for important FAQs about travelling, applying for your PGWP, your IHI coverage, and applying for your CSQ (if you are interested in applying to become a permanent resident via a program offered by Immigration Quebec).

Travelling over the winter holiday break:

Fall 2020 is my last term and my study permit expires after December 31, 2020. Can I leave Canada during the Winter holiday break and return to Canada before my study permit expires in order to apply for my PGWP from inside of Canada or while my PGWP application made from inside of Canada is processing (if you apply for your PGWP before leaving Canada)?

It depends. In order to enter Canada as an international student under the current travel restrictions, you must:

  • Hold a valid study permit*
  • Be attending an educational institution that is on the list of institutions with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place, which McGill is;
  • Not have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19; AND
  • Have a plan to quarantine for 14 days.

* See our Entering Canada COVID-19 page for full details on the requirements to enter Canada and a list of documents you should bring when entering Canada.

Since you will be entering Canada after you have completed your studies and you will no longer be registered at McGill (i.e., no longer an active student), a border agent may determine that your purpose for travelling to Canada is not essential and you may be denied entry to Canada. This may occur even if your primary residence is in Canada and/or even if you have a valid job offer. It will be to the discretion of the border agent to determine if you meet the requirements to enter Canada.

To avoid the risk of being refused re-entry to Canada, we are currently recommending that Fall 2020 graduating students not travel outside of Canada over the Winter holiday break and only leave Canada once they have obtained their PGWP from within Canada. In addition to a valid PGWP, you will also need either a valid eTA or valid TRV in order to return to Canada (unless you are a U.S. citizen, in which case you do not need an eTA or TRV). If you need a TRV, you will need to apply for one separately after you receive your PGWP.

If you choose to travel outside of Canada over the Winter holiday break, we recommend that you apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada and return to Canada only once your PGWP has been approved and you meet any additional requirements under the current travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers (see below). *NOTE: If you are entering Canada from the United States, you may be able to apply for your PGWP upon entry to Canada if you are TRV-exempt.

If you have applied for your PGWP from within Canada and choose to travel over the Winter holiday break while your PGWP application made from within Canada is pending, we recommend that you only make plans to return to Canada once your PGWP has been approved. Since the application was made from within Canada, your PGWP will be mailed to your home address in Canada. You may wish to ask a friend to check your mail and send you the original PGWP (via a trackable courier service) or a scanned copy of your PGWP (via email). If you require a temporary resident visa (TRV), you will need to apply for your TRV separately, from outside of Canada, once your PGWP has been approved.

Under the current travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers, your travel is considered essential (non-discretionary) if you’re in either of these situations:

  • You have a valid work permit and normally live in Canada.
    • This applies even if you’ve been laid off.
  • You’re a worker who meets all of the following:
    • has a letter of introduction* for a work permit (open or employer-specific) *work permit approval letter
    • has a valid job offer
    • can work once you enter Canada and complete your 14-day quarantine (unless you’re exempt)

See the FAQ about “flag-poling” under 'Applying for your PGWP on the left navigation bar'.

Fall 2020 is my last term and my study permit will expire on or before December 31, 2020. Can I leave Canada during the Winter holiday break and return to Canada after my study permit expires in order to apply for my PGWP from inside of Canada or to wait in Canada while my PGWP application made from inside of Canada is processing (if you apply for your PGWP before leaving Canada?

No. In order to enter Canada as an international student under the current travel restrictions, you must

  • Hold a valid study permit*
  • Be attending an educational institution that is on the list of institutions with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan in place, which McGill is;
  • Not have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19; AND
  • Have a plan to quarantine for 14 days.

* See our Entering Canada COVID-19 page for full details on the requirements to enter Canada and a list of documents you should bring when entering Canada.

Since you will not meet all of the requirements above, you will not be exempt from the travel restrictions.

If you choose to travel outside of Canada over the Winter holiday break, we recommend that you apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada and only make plans to return to Canada once your PGWP has been approved and you meet any additional requirements under the current travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers (see below). *NOTE: If you are entering Canada from the United States, you may be able to apply for your PGWP upon entry to Canada if you are TRV-exempt.

If you have applied for your PGWP from within Canada and choose to travel over the Winter holiday break while your PGWP application made from within Canada is pending, we recommend that you only make plans to return to Canada once your PGWP has been approved. Since the application was made from within Canada, your PGWP will be mailed to your home address in Canada. You may wish to ask a friend to check your mail and send you the original PGWP (via a trackable courier service) or a scanned copy of your PGWP (via email). If you require a temporary resident visa (TRV), you will need to apply for your TRV separately, from outside of Canada, once your PGWP has been approved.

Under the current travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers, your travel is considered essential (non-discretionary) if you’re in either of these situations:

  • You have a valid work permit and normally live in Canada.
    • This applies even if you’ve been laid off.
  • You’re a worker who meets all of the following:
    • has a letter of introduction for a work permit (open or employer-specific) (ie.work permit approval letter)
    • has a valid job offer
    • can work once you enter Canada and complete your 14-day quarantine (unless you’re exempt)

See the FAQ about “flag-poling” under 'Applying for your PGWP on the left navigation bar'.

If you choose to remain in Canada, you must maintain a valid immigration status for the duration of your stay in Canada. Please see our FAQs under “Applying for your PGWP”.

Applying for your PGWP

You can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) as soon as you have official written confirmation from McGill that you have completed your studies. Proof of completion of studies for the purposes of applying for the PGWP can be in one of the following forms:

  1. A Proof of Graduation Letter that you can generate yourself on Minerva after Senate has met to officially approve degrees. If Fall 2020 is your final term of studies, your degree should be granted in February 2021 (when Senate meets to approve degrees).
  2. A Proof of Completion of Studies Letter* issued by Service Point (Enrolment Services) confirming that you have completed your program requirements. You can request this letter if you have extenuating circumstances that require you to apply for your PGWP before Senate has met – e.g. study permit expiring or job offer to start before Senate meets. Service Point can only issue this letter once your faculty has approved you for graduation.

I am currently in Canada, Fall 2020 is my last term, and my study permit will expire on or before December 31, 2020. I want to apply for my PGWP from inside Canada but I am worried I may not get proof of completion of my studies before my study permit expires. What should I do?

If you are concerned that you may not obtain proof of completion of your studies before your study permit expires, we recommend that in order to maintain a valid immigration status in Canada you either:

  1. Apply to extend your CAQ for an extra 90 days past your last registered term and apply to extend your study permit before it expires (see instructions below); OR
  2. Apply to extend your stay as a visitor before your study permit expires. NOTE: You may apply for your PGWP as a visitor in Canada but you will not be authorized to work while you PGWP application is processing; OR
  3. UPDATED December 21, 2020: Apply for your post-graduation work permit without proof of completion of studies (see instructions below).

Instructions for option 1: Apply to extend your CAQ for an extra 90 days past your last registered term and apply to extend your study permit before it expires.

In your CAQ application, you should include a cover letter where you explicitly state that you do not want to benefit from the automatic CAQ extension to December 31, 2020 and that you would like to obtain a CAQ valid until March 31, 2020. You should mention the purpose of your request – e.g., that you wish to maintain your student status in Canada while you wait to obtain proof of program completion and then apply for your PGWP.

You must apply to extend your study permit before your current study permit expires. In your study permit extension application, you should include a cover letter where you explicitly state that you would like to obtain a study permit valid until March 31, 2020 and that you have obtained (or applied for) a CAQ extension until March 31, 2020 as you do not want to benefit from the automatic CAQ extension. You should mention the purpose of your request – e.g., that wish to maintain your student status in Canada while you wait to obtain proof of program completion and then apply for your PGWP. If you do not receive your CAQ before your study permit expires, you will have to apply to extend your study permit with proof that you have applied for your CAQ (e.g. screenshot of your CAQ application timeline and a copy of your online CAQ application form). See our study permit renewal guide for more information.

Instructions for option 3: UPDATED December 21, 2020: Apply for your post-graduation work permit without proof of completion of studies

Instead of uploading proof of completion of studies with your application, you should upload a personal letter where you explain the following:

  • That your CAQ was automatically extended until December 31, 2020 (if this is the case) and that your study permit expires on December 31, 2020;
  • That Fall 2020 is your last term;
  • That you are waiting to obtain proof of completion of your studies, but that this proof can only be obtained after December 31, 2020;
  • That as soon as you receive proof of completion of your studies, you will send it to IRCC via the IRCC webform.

You will still need to include your electronic transcript even if you have not received your final grades. Note: if the COPY water remarks appear on the transcript, please see the following instructions on our FAQ: I am applying for my PGWP, but due to COVID-19 I cannot obtain my printed official transcript. What should I do?

NOTE: If while your PGWP application is processing, you fail a course/program requirement and will no longer complete your studies at the end of Fall 2020, you must contact ISS office right away.

*Important points to take into consideration when making plans to apply for your PGWP with the proof of completion of studies letter issued by Service Point: 

1. If you are a graduate thesis student and you will submit your final thesis before December 15th, you may be able to obtain a proof of completion of studies letter from Service Point before December 31, 2020. We recommend that you speak to your department to make sure it is possible for your final thesis to be approved in time for you to obtain a proof of completion of studies letter from Service Point and submit your PGWP application before your study permit expires.

2. If you are an undergraduate student or graduate non-thesis student, in order to obtain proof of completion of studies all of your final grades must be uploaded on Minerva and your Faculty must have approved your graduation. It is unlikely that you will be able to obtain a proof of completion of studies letter from Service Point before December 31st.

3. Students should expect a 5 to 7 business day turnaround time for the issuance of this letter and there maybe additional delays due to the Winter holiday break.

4. Service Point will be closed during the Winter holiday break from December 24, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

5. Service Point will not be able to expedite the issuance of this letter prior or shortly after the Winter holiday break.

Fall 2020 is my last term. Can I apply for my PGWP by “flagpoling” at a US/Canada land border?

Under the current travel restrictions, flagpoling in order to apply for immigration documents is not considered an essential reason to travel to Canada and is highly discouraged. Students should not travel to the US/Canada land border to apply for their PGWP. Instead students should apply online for their PGWP. For more information, please see CBSA’s website.

If you choose to try to flagpole, an agent may refuse to process your application and you may be subject to the 14 day quarantine requirement upon your re-entry to Canada.

McGill’s International Student Health Insurance (IHI)

Fall 2020 is my last registered term. Am I eligible to keep my IHI coverage beyond December 31, 2020?

Yes. Graduating students who are registered for at least one term within the current academic year, are eligible to keep their IHI contract until the end of the academic year – i.e., until August 31st. For example: If a student’s last registered term is Fall 2020, the student is eligible to keep their IHI contract that they had during Fall 2020 until the end of the 2020-2021 academic year (i.e., until August 31, 2021). *Students pay IHI fees for the entire 2020-2021 academic year with their Fall 2020 tuition payment, and can therefore benefit from coverage through to August 31 of the academic year.

Am I eligible for healthcare in Quebec when I graduate from McGill University?

Students who have graduated from McGill and who have obtained a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) are eligible for Quebec’s provincial healthcare coverage (i.e., coverage under the Régie de l'assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ)). For registration information, please contact the Quebec Medicare office by calling their office. We recommend that you apply for RAMQ coverage as soon as you obtain your PGWP since there is a three-month waiting period following your registration with the RAMQ. Once RAMQ coverage has been obtained, you may need to purchase supplemental health insurance. RAMQ provides only basic benefits. For more information on what services are covered, please visit the RAMQ website.

I am in Canada and I am graduating in the Fall 2020, can I cancel my IHI coverage for Winter 2021 and Summer 2021?

Yes. You can get a partial adjustment of your IHI contract if you wish. To do so you will need to have an “expected graduation” flag indicated on your unofficial transcripts on Minerva. Once your unofficial transcript has been updated on Minerva, please email international.health [at] mcgill.ca your request. Please indicate Graduating Fall 2020 term in the subject line along with your McGill ID number. It is important to note that upon the adjustment, your IHI contract will end on December 31, 2020. If you will be remaining in Canada after December 31st, 2020, we strongly recommend that you maintain healthcare coverage for the duration of your stay in Canada – e.g., either by keeping your IHI coverage until August 31, 2020 or obtaining alternative health insurance coverage for yourself and your dependents (if applicable).

I have been attending classes remotely from outside of Canada and I am graduating in Fall 2020. Can I cancel my IHI coverage?

Yes. You will need to have “expected graduation” flag indicated on your unofficial transcripts on Minerva. Once your unofficial transcript has been updated on Minerva, please email international.health [at] mcgill.ca your request. Please indicate Graduating Fall 2020 term in the subject line along with your McGill ID number. It is important to note that upon the adjustment, your IHI contract will end on December 31, 2020.

PEQ

Fall 2020 is my last term and I will obtain proof of completion of studies (confirmation of degree granted) after December 31, 2020. Do I qualify for the PEQ programs under the previous selection criteria?

Please note that our office does not advise on permanent residence. Immigration Quebec states the following on their website:

  • All foreign students who obtained an admissible diploma under the PEQ or who will obtain one by December 31, 2020, can submit an application for permanent selection based on the selection conditions that were in place before July 22, 2020.
  • If you have finished your study program during the 2020 fall session, that is, by December 31, 2020 or before this date, you can take advantage of the PEQ selection conditions that were in place before July 22, 2020, which means being selected on the basis of an eligible diploma without having to acquire work experience after completion of a study program, even if your attestation of successful completion or your diploma is issued by an educational institution after December 31, 2020.

For more information, see Immigration Quebec’s FAQs under If I obtain my diploma before December 31, 2020, can I submit an application for permanent selection based on the selection conditions in effect before the changes were made to the Québec Immigration Regulation on July 22, 2020?

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