ISS is available virtually and in-person Mondays-Fridays during business hours.

ARRIMA payment issues:  If you are having trouble with ARRIMA payment, please consult PDF icon Arrima troubleshooting instructions that ISS put together.

Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL): For more information regarding the PAL and how to obtain it, please go to our Study Permit FAQ's

Graduate Students: Graduate students who are exempt from requiring the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) are still required to obtain a CAQ in order to study at McGill. 

Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec (CAQ) Application Guide

The Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) is a mandatory immigration document for all international students at McGill*. 

The CAQ issued by Immigration Quebec. This document authorizes you to study in Quebec and is a required document to apply for your study permit. We recommend following our guide below to apply for the CAQ. Our Pre-Arrival Immigration Webinar: Immigration Essentials Recording may also provide you with further assistance.

3 things I wish I had known about CAQYou 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 MIFI online portal to verify if any updates have been made in your file.  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. 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

All applications for a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ – Québec Acceptance Certificate) for studies must be submitted electronically on the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) website. After you submit the online application, you will be prompted to create an account on the Arrima online system to pay the processing fee. Once your fee has been paid, you will receive a CAQ personalized document checklist on your MIFI portal. 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. 

    Follow our CAQ video or PDF tutorials for a step by step guide on submitting the CAQ application:

    Step 1: Complete the application online and pay the processing fee by credit card.
    Follow these steps to apply for your CAQ
    Follow these steps to apply for your CAQ

    • You will have to access your admission letter through the online application system. Be sure to save or print a copy of your letter: McGill does not send admissions decisions by mail. It is very important to note that the electronic version is the only version of the admission letter you will receive. 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
    A CAQ specimen
    A CAQ specimen

    • Once you complete your online application on the MIFI portal, you will be prompted to create an account on Arrima to submit the payment for the processing fee using your CAQ application number.
    • There is a video tutorial (in French only) on how to create an account on Arrima. There is also a webform that students can use to ask technical questions,
    • Once you pay the processing fee on Arrima, you will obtain a personalized checklist of the supporting documents, on your MIFI portal, 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. In order to upload your documents on Arrima, you will need your CAQ file number (this can take up to 48 hours to appear in your MIFI portal after the payment has been made). 

    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.
    • IRCC has increased the estimated cost of living in Canada for a single student to $20 635 per year. This increase will only affect students applying to study at an institution outside of Quebec. The estimated annual living expenses in Quebec is $15,078 for one student (18 and over). If you have accompanying dependents, please see Immigration Quebec’s Cost of Living webpage.
    • 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. 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.
    Uploading CAQ documents on the Arrima portal
    Uploading CAQ documents on the Arrima portal

    • Log back into your Arrima account in order to upload your documents. You will need your CAQ file number in order to start uploading documents to Arrima. The CAQ file number will be available in your MIFI portal about 48 hours after the CAQ application payment is made on Arrima. 
    •  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.
    • 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.
    • 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!

    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. For a tutorial on how to submit your additional document, please refer to our CAQ: Intention of Refusal Tutorial.

    Step 5: Obtain your Letter of attestation of issuance of your CAQ for studies from Immigration Quebec

    • Uploading Additional Documents to the Arrima Portal
      Uploading Additional Documents to the Arrima Portal
      Once your CAQ application is approved, Immigration Quebec will send you a Letter of attestation of issuance of your CAQ for studies directly in your MIFI portal. This is your official document confirming that you have been issued your CAQ for studies. You will not receive a hard copy of your CAQ Certificate in the mail.
    • You must include this Letter of attestation of issuance of your CAQ for studies when you submit your study permit application to Immigration Canada.
    • If you are a US citizen or permanent resident and will be applying at the Port of Entry (POE), print out your Letter of attestation of issuance of your CAQ for studies and bring it with you when travelling to Canada.


    In addition to the information above, please also review ISS' FAQs page.

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