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Immigration Glossary

A - C

Authorization to study

In order to legally study in Canada, you must be authorized to do so by the appropriate immigration authorities. If you will be completing a program of studies with a duration of less than six months, then you are authorized to study without a CAQ and Study Permit and may study in Canada with a visitor status. For more information, see our Exchange and Visiting Students section of our website. If you will be completing a program of studies with a duration of more than six months, then you are authorized to study only if you have a valid CAQ and study permit. You are also authorized to study while waiting for your study permit extension application to be approved as long as you remain in Canada after the expiry of your previous study permit. Please see the definition of maintained status for more information.


Biometrics data is the collection of your fingerprints and photo. For more information on biometrics, please see IRCC’s website.


CAQ- Certificat d’acceptation du Québec- Quebec Acceptance Certificate issued by Immigration Quebec. This document authorizes you to study in Quebec and is a required document to apply for your study permit.

Common-Law Relationship

A relationship in which a couple has lived together for at least one year in a conjugal relationship. For more information, please see IRCC’s website.

Conditional Letter of Acceptance

Immigration Canada may refuse your study permit application if they believe that your Letter of Acceptance/Offer of Admission letter was conditional and you failed to demonstrate that you met all the conditions listed on your Letter of Acceptance – e.g. you did not provide your high school transcript as requested in your letter of acceptance. NOTE: in general a refusal for a conditional letter of acceptance is unusual, as most letters of acceptance from McGill are not conditional.

Co-op Work Permit

Work permit that is issued to students who have a mandatory work component (co-op, internship, practicum, etc. ) as per the requirements of their program.

F - L

Financial capacity documents

Documents that demonstrate that you have enough funds to pay for one year’s worth of tuition and living expenses (approximately $14,349 for one person per year). For more details please see Immigration Quebec’s website.

“Fiche d’Identification”

Cover sheet sent by Immigration Quebec with the Intention of Refusal Letter.

Immigration Canada

Federal government officially known as Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Immigration Quebec

Provincial government officially known as the Ministry of Immigration, Frenchisation and Inclusion (MIFI).

Initial Study Permit Application

Your first study permit application to come to McGill.

Intention of Refusal

Letter issued by Immigration Quebec requesting additional documents or additional explanations.

Loss of status

This occurs when you have not applied to extend your study permit before it expires and you remain in Canada after your study permit has expired. When you lose your status as a student in Canada, you must either apply to restore your status or leave Canada. You are not authorized to study or work while you await a decision on your restoration application.

M - O

Maintained status

If a returning student applies to renew their study permit from INSIDE of Canada AND BEFORE the expiry date of their current one, they will have “maintained status” while their application is being processed as long as they do not leave Canada after their study permit expires. If a student has maintained status, they can continue to study and work under the same conditions as their most recent study permit. The processing time for study permit extensions varies. In general, online applications are processed significantly faster than paper applications. If the standard estimated processing time for your study permit extension has passed, please contact Immigration Canada via telephone and/or Web Form to follow-up on your file.

Note that if a student graduating from a Canadian high school applies to extend their stay in Canada with a Letter of Acceptance from McGill before their secondary (high school) level study permit expires, they have maintained status as a temporary resident and are authorized to remain in Canada while their application is being processed.

“Make your studies your principal activity”

As a CAQ holder, you have an obligation to study full-time and be registered for a minimum of 12 credits per term, with the exception of your last term. Examples of when Immigration Quebec considers that you have not met this obligation are: you failed, abandoned or withdrew from courses, you were registered part-time, you took a leave of absence, or you have a gap in your studies (i.e. you were not registered). Immigration Quebec expects students to provide explanations and supporting documents to justify any term(s) where they did not earn at least 12 credits. If you did not provide sufficient explanations and supporting documents, you may receive an Intention of Refusal letter indicating that you did not make your studies your principal activity.

Offer of Employment

If you are a post-doctoral fellow, your department must submit an offer of employment before you can submit your application for a work permit and provide you with the offer of employment number that you must include with your work permit application.

Official Transcript

Your printed transcript issued by Service Point in a sealed envelope or your electronic transcript issued in a certified PDF format by Service Point and sent via email, see McGill website for more information.

One year exclusion order

A removal order issued by the Canada Border Services Agency that prohibits you from entering Canada for a period of one year.

Online Eligibility Questionnaire

This is the questionnaire that you must fill out when applying online through IRCC’s website for your federal immigration documents (e.g. Study Permit or Work Permit). After you have completed this questionnaire, you will receive your document checklist and forms.

Open Work Permit for Spouse

Work permit issued to the spouse of a full-time international student who has a valid study permit.

P - V

Port of Entry

Airport or land border from where you enter Canada and meet border officials.

Proof of Enrolment

Self-printed letter from Minerva that confirms your registration for a particular term.

Refusal Letter

Letter from Immigration Quebec stating that your CAQ application has been refused. This letter usually comes after the Intention of Refusal Letter if Immigration Quebec is not satisfied with your additional documents or if they did not receive your additional documents.

Restoration of Status

This occurs when you have lost your status and you have applied to restore your status within 90 days of losing your status. While under restoration of status, you are not authorized to study or work.

Six-month ban

A six-month ban from applying for another study permit may be issued if you have worked or studied without authorization and a period of at least six months from when you ceased working or studying without authorization has not elapsed. For more details see IRCC’s website.

Study Permit

This is a document issued by Immigration Canada that authorizes you to study in Canada and grants you the status of a student in Canada. If you applied for your study permit from outside of Canada, the document is issued to you at a Port of Entry. If you applied for your study permit from inside of Canada, the document is mailed to your Canadian mailing address. Your Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), which is a “sticker”/counterfoil in your passport, is not a Study Permit. Your TRV grants you entry to Canada but does not provide you with student status. NOTE: Not all students require a TRV to enter Canada. Only citizens of certain countries require a TRV.

Study Permit Extension Application

This is the application that you complete when you need to continue your studies beyond the expiry date of your initial study permit. Most students apply online from within Canada for their study permit extension.

Visitor Visa

Visa that allows you or your spouse to enter Canada as a visitor or tourist. This is also referred to as an “Entry Visa” or “Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)”. A Visitor Visa does not authorize you to study.

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