The Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) is a mandatory immigration document for all international students at McGill*.
You should apply for your CAQ as soon as you've been admitted to McGill. After applying, you should continue to monitor the information on your CAQ online portal to verify if any updates have been made in your file. Under normal circumstances, the standard processing time for the CAQ is 20 business days from the day Immigration Quebec confirms in your online portal that they have received your supporting documents. However, the processing times for the CAQ may be longer. If more than 8 weeks have passed, you may wish to contact Immigration Quebec to follow up on your application. We do not recommend that you resubmit your supporting documents or start a new application.
*Please note that some foreign nationals are exempt from requiring a CAQ (for example - if you are coming are admitted into a program of study that is LESS than six months). See Immigration Quebec's website for more detailed information.
Applying for your CAQ for the FIRST time
Instructions - How, Where, When to Apply
NOTE: As of January 26, 2021, it is no longer possible to submit a paper application for a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ – Québec Acceptance Certificate) nor is it possible to submit your CAQ supporting documents to the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) by mail.
All applications for a CAQ for studies must now be submitted electronically and all supporting documents will have to be submitted electronically via the Arrima portal. After you submit the online application and pay the processing fee, you will receive a CAQ personalized document checklist. The checklist will provide instructions on how to submit your supporting documents to MIFI electronically using the Arrima online system. *At this time, the Arrima system is available in French only.
MIFI has created an English instruction guide (in PDF format) that explains how to submit CAQ supporting documents electronically. There is also a webform that students can use to ask technical questions, as well as a video tutorial (in French only).
Step 1: Complete the application online and pay the processing fee by credit card.
- You will have to access your admission letter through either Minerva (undergraduate students) or UApply (graduate students). It is very important to note that the electronic version is the only version of the admission letter you will receive. You will not receive a paper version of the admission letter through the mail. You should download and save a copy of your admission letter, as you may be required to provide it in future applications. Generally, the conditions listed on your letter of admission are related to your registration for classes. You do not have to wait to meet those listed conditions to apply for your immigration documents.
- In the section Accompanying persons, immediate family members include: De facto (common law) spouse, child, spouse (married), mother and father who are temporary residents in Canada (visitors, students, workers), refugees, persons without status, foreign diplomats and consulars, permanent residents or Canadian citizens.
- For the start and end date of your program, indicate approximate dates for the duration of your entire degree or program of studies (example: Undergraduate, PhD degree: Maximum 4 years; Masters Degree: Maximum 2 years). For the start date, you can indicate the first day of courses. You can see Key Academic Dates for details.
- For the annual tuition fees, refer to the McGill Fee Calculator for Undergraduate and Graduate studies.
- Depending on your current country of residence* (see point 4.), you may be asked for proof of your financial capacity. If this is the case, you will be asked who will pay for your living expenses and tuition. If you are a graduate student receiving a stipend, award or grant, please select “Myself” as the person who will be responsible for your living expenses and tuition. *The current place of residence means the country or territory where you are now living, whether it is a permanent or temporary address.
Step 2: Obtain your personalized checklist
- Once you complete your online application & pay the processing fee, you will obtain a personalized checklist of the supporting documents that you need to submit to Immigration Quebec.
- Your checklist will provide instructions on how to submit your supporting documents to MIFI electronically using the Arrima online system.
Step 3: Gather all the supporting documents on your personalized checklist.
- Along with your document checklist, you will receive a Declaration, commitments and authorizations form that you must sign. It is very important that you carefully read the form as it describes the obligations that you must respect as a student in Quebec.
IMPORTANT: You must print out and physically sign and date by hand your Declaration, commitments and authorizations form before uploading it as a pdf. Your name and signature must match the name and signature in your passport. Electronic signatures will not be accepted.
- Save a copy of all the documents on your checklist before submitting them to Immigration Quebec via the Arrima online system. Keep these on file for your records. *You will also be uploading some of these documents in support of your study permit application.
- If your checklist includes a request for proof of financial capacity, you - or your financial guardians (parents, or whoever is supporting you) - should provide a confirmation that you/they can cover your tuition and fees and living expenses for your first year of studies. (If you are applying for U.S. government aid, please note that a copy of your application for aid will not be sufficient: the approval of aid awarded will be required.)
IMPORTANT: If a third party, such as your parents or legal guardian, will be financially supporting you, make sure that the third-party completes and signs the Declaration of financial support letter. The Declaration of financial support letter must be printed and physically signed and dated by hand by your financial supporter before uploading it as a pdf to your Arrima account. Electronic signatures will not be accepted.
- The amount of annual financial capacity that you will have to demonstrate depends on whether or not any family members will be accompanying you to Canada. For living expenses for one person 18 years or older, Immigration Quebec requires a minimum of $13,481.00 per year or approximately $1,100 per month. For an estimate of living expenses depending on your situation, see Immigration Quebec’s website.
- If you are a minor and under the age of 17, you will have to provide additional documents. If your custodian will be the Associate Dean of Students, please see the instructions on our website.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to include scanned copies of original documents for all items listed on your personalized checklist. NOTE: Any document not in English or French must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Step 4: Submit supporting documents electronically to Immigration Quebec via the Arrima online system.
- MIFI has created an English instruction guide (in PDF format) that explains how to submit your documents through the Arrima online system. There is also a webform that students can use to ask technical questions, as well as a video tutorial (in French only).
- Once you have created your Arrima account, you can begin to upload the documents on your checklist by clicking “Joindre des documents”; a drop-down menu indicating the type of document you are uploading will appear. You will receive a confirmation pop-up message once all your required documents have been uploaded.
- After uploading all your required documents, be sure to click “Déposer” (Deposit) to submit them to Immigration Quebec and complete the application process.
IMPORTANT: If you do not click “Déposer”, your documents will not be submitted and your application will remain pending!
NOTE: Any additional document that is not included on your checklist can be combined into one pdf and uploaded in the “Autres types de documents” (other types of documents) section of your Arrima account.
Step 5: Once your CAQ application is approved, you will receive an email from Immigration Quebec instructing you to check your online CAQ portal.
- Once your CAQ application is approved, you will receive an email from Immigration Quebec instructing you to verify your online CAQ portal for your electronic CAQ approval letter. Your CAQ approval letter will be available to save or download in pdf format. You can use this electronic CAQ approval letter to apply for your study permit. You do not have to wait to receive the original/hardcopy CAQ certificate in the mail in order to apply for your study permit.
- You will also receive two original CAQs by mail (to your mailing address as indicated on the application). One hard copy of the CAQ will be for Immigration Canada, which you can submit with your study permit application if you have not yet submitted the electronic CAQ approval letter. The other hard copy will be for your records.
*IMPORTANT: If you receive an Intention of refusal letter (Intention de refus) from Immigration Quebec requesting that you provide them with additional documents, contact us right away for guidance on how to proceed. You will also have to submit your additional, required documents to Immigration Quebec electronically through the Arrima system.