Before reviewing the information below, please see ISS' COVID-19 FAQs and resources pages for up to date information on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration related matters.
Do I need a CAQ and Study Permit?
Depending on the length of your studies at McGill, you may or may not need to apply for a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) and Study Permit.
If you will be studying at McGill for more than 6 months (e.g. a two-term exchange), you must apply for both a CAQ and a Study Permit. See our CAQ and Study Permit application guides for guidance on how to apply for these documents.
If you will be studying at McGill for 6 months or less (e.g. one-term exchange), you do not require a CAQ or Study Permit. However, you may choose to apply for these documents as a Study Permit may be beneficial to you depending on your plans.
2-term exchange (studies more than 6 months)
If you will be studying at McGill for more than 6 months (e.g. a two-term exchange), you require a CAQ and Study Permit. See our CAQ and Study Permit application guides for guidance on how to apply for these documents.
One-term exchange (studies of 6 months or less)
If you will be studying at McGill for 6 months or less (e.g. one-term exchange), a CAQ and Study Permit are optional.
BENEFITS of holding a CAQ and Study Permit:
- You will be able to work on-campus
- If you decide to extend your exchange from one-term to two-terms, or if you decide to continue your degree at McGill (i.e., transfer to McGill), you will have a better chance of starting your next term on time as you will be able to benefit from maintained status when extending your Study Permit. This means that you will be able to continue studying and working as per the conditions of your previous Study Permit, while you await a decision on your application as long as you applied for the extension before the expiry of your Study Permit and you remain in Canada while your application is being processed.
*NOTE: If you decide to extend your stay in Canada and you do not already have a Study Permit, you will not benefit from maintained status. This means that you may not continue studying after the expiration of your authorized stay while you await a decision on your Study Permit application.
ONE-TERM EXCHANGE WITHOUT A CAQ OR STUDY PERMIT (i.e. TRV/ETA ONLY)
To participate in a one-term exchange at McGill, you do not require a CAQ and Study Permit.
Depending on your country of citizenship, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA to enter Canada.
If you are a one-term exchange student and you have decided not to apply for a CAQ and Study Permit and you require a TRV to enter Canada:
- Create an online account with Immigration Canada.
- Once you are signed in, select “Visitor visa, study and/or work permit” to continue.
- Complete the online questionnaire and record your personal reference code (this code is generated for you after you complete the online questionnaire).
- Answer “Temporarily – less than 6 months” to the question How long are you planning to stay in Canada?
- Once you have entered your personal reference code, follow the instructions to complete your application.
- Complete, validate, save, and upload the Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) form (IMM 5257, in PDF format)
- Answer “Short-term studies” to the question Purpose of my visit (Details of Visit to Canada)
- Upload supporting documents. You will be asked to upload a list of supporting documents based on the answers you provided to the online questionnaire.
- Click on the "?" if you need more details about the supporting documents in question.
- You will be prompted to upload a “Letter of Acceptance” and an “Invitation Letter”. Since McGill does not provide an Invitation Letter, you can either:
- Upload your “Offer of Admission” letter from McGill two times – i.e., in both the section for “Letter of Acceptance” and in the section for “Invitation Letter”, OR
- Upload your “Offer of Admission” letter from McGill in the “Letter of Acceptance” section and upload a cover letter in the “Invitation Letter” section. Your cover letter should explain that McGill does not provide Invitation Letters and that the Offer of Admission letter is the only official letter that McGill provides to its students.
8. After you submit your payment, you will receive a confirmation notice from Immigration Canada confirming that your application was submitted.
9. Once your application is approved, Immigration Canada will let you know how and where to submit your passport so that the TRV (counterfoil) can be affixed to your passport.
ONE-TERM EXCHANGE WITH CAQ, STUDY PERMIT & TRV/ETA
While not required, you may decide to apply for a CAQ and Study Permit to participate in a one-term exchange at McGill.
To apply for your CAQ & Study Permit:
1 Apply for your CAQ. When you are submitting your supporting documents to Immigration Quebec via the Arrima portal, include a cover letter, include a cover letter (a) indicating that although you will be studying at McGill for less than 6 months, you are applying for a CAQ and Study Permit and (b) explaining your reasons(s) for doing so – e.g. in case you wish to extend your studies at McGill for another semester and/or in order to work on campus during your studies.
Once you have your CAQ approval letter, you may apply for your Study Permit.
- Answer “study” to the question, What would you like to do in Canada?
- Answer “Temporarily – less than 6 months” for the question, How long are you planning to stay in Canada?
- Answer “Yes” to the question, If your current study program lasts for 6 months or less, but you wish to continue your studies after completing this program, you’ll need to apply for a study permit. Do you want to apply for a study permit?
See here to determine whether you need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA.
Proof of financial capacity & how to prepare for your arrival
Regardless of the length of your studies, you should be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of your stay in Canada.
Applications for CAQs, Study Permits, and Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) require proof of financial capacity. While you do not need to provide financial proof when applying for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you may be asked to demonstrate financial capacity when you enter Canada.
It is always a good idea to travel with proof that you have enough funds to cover your tuition and living expenses for the duration of your stay in Canada in the event that you are asked by a border officer to demonstrate that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your stay in Canada – i.e., proof that you are capable of paying tuition (if applicable) and living expenses.
Quebec expects students to have approximately $12,538 (or approximately $1,045 per month) for living expenses for one year. You can calculate your living expenses based on when you plan to enter and exit Canada. For example, it is recommended that one-term exchange students demonstrate financial capacity to cover at least 6 months of living expenses.
EXAMPLES OF PROOF OF FINANCIAL CAPACITY:
We recommend students include:
- A recent bank letter, on bank letterhead, indicating the total balance in the account(s) of the person(s) funding their studies; AND/OR
- 3 to 4 most recent bank statements of the person(s) funding their studies
- A letter from the person(s) funding their studies indicating that they will be paying for the cost of the student’s exchange at McGill
- Proof that you are not required to pay tuition fees to McGill (this information may be included in your Offer of Admission letter from McGill and/or in a letter from your home university.
- Proof that you have already paid tuition to your home university (if applicable)
- Proof that you have paid fees for student residence (if applicable)
Can I work during my exchange?
If you entered Canada as a visitor (i.e., you do not have a Study Permit), you are not authorized to work during your studies as a visitor.
Can I stay in Canada after my exchange ends to travel?
You may remain in Canada to travel after your exchange ends:
- If you entered as a visitor, you are still within the period authorized for your stay and:
- Your passport was not stamped upon arrival, you may remain in Canada as a visitor for 6 months from your entry date. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply to extend your stay as a visitor by or before the 6 months is up.
- Your passport was stamped upon arrival and the border officer entered an end date, you must leave Canada or extend your stay by or before the end date written in your passport.
- If you have a Study Permit and it is still valid.
*Your Study Permit becomes invalid 90 days after you complete your studies. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply to extend your stay as a visitor by or before the expiration of your Study Permit.
Can I stay in Canada and work after my exchange ends?
If you wish to stay in Canada and work after your exchange ends, you must apply for and obtain the appropriate work permit.
If you have a Study Permit, you may work on-campus and off-campus as long as you are registered as a full-time student. You must stop working on-campus and off-campus as soon as you are no longer registered full-time. For example, if you were registered full-time for the Winter term, you must stop working when that term ends.
Citizens of certain countries may be able to work in Canada via:
- International Experience Canada (IEC). You can read more about the program here.
- SWAP Working Holidays. You can read more about the program here.