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.
The CAQ (Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec) is a mandatory immigration document for all international students at McGill*.
*Some foreign nationals are exempt from requiring a CAQ (for example - if you are admitted into a program of study that is LESS than six months). See Immigration Quebec's website for more detailed information. If you only have one semester left to complete your studies and your documents will expire, you will still need to renew your CAQ and study permit. You do not qualify for an exemption since the total length of your program of studies is more than six months.
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 a tutorial video (available in French only) that explains how to submit CAQ supporting documents electronically. There is also a webform that students can use to ask technical questions.
Step 1: Complete the application online and pay the processing fee by credit card.
- If you do not understand a question, click on the question mark icon ("?") next to each question for more details.
- 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 example, for the start date, you may indicate the first day of classes for the term you began your program. For the end date, you may indicate the last day of the last semester of your program according to, for example, the number of credits left in your program or your expected graduation date as confirmed by your department.
- For the annual tuition fees, refer to the McGill Fee Calculator for Undergraduate and Graduate studies.
- Make sure to have available your previous CAQ, as you will need to include certain details indicated on your previous CAQ in your extension application.
- For proof of your financial capacity, 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.
- For living expenses for one person 18 years or older, Immigration Quebec requires a minimum of $13,134.00 per year or approximately $1,100 per month. See Immigration Quebec’s Financial Capacity webpage for more information.
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.
- Scan and save a copy of your documents before submitting them to Immigration Quebec. Keep these for your records. *You will also be uploading some of these documents in support of your study permit application.
- 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 one year of tuition and fees plus one year of living expenses. (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 $13,134.00 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.
- Request an official electronic transcript (eTranscript) from Minerva. Please note, it is possible that the "COPY" watermark will appear on the eTranscript when you combine the eTranscript with other documents into one PDF, when you save the eTranscript to your computer, and/or when the immigration agent opens the file. You should mention this possibility in a cover letter and also ensure that you view/save your eTranscript according to the instructions provided by the National Student Clearinghouse when you order your eTranscript.
Service Point is currently not able to provide printed official transcripts due to the COVID-19 related campus closure. Since we do not know when Service Point will resume printing transcripts, we are recommending that students apply for their CAQ with their official electronic transcript. If your eTranscript has the “COPY” watermarks on it when uploading to Arrima, please see our General FAQs for detailed instructions on how to submit.
- If you were not a full-time student* in every academic semester (not including regularly scheduled breaks and your last term before graduation) you will need to include a letter of explanation and supporting documents. Contact ISS if you have any questions about what documents to include. NOTE: Examples of not maintaining a full-time student status: you took less than 12 credits in a semester; you started off full-time but then withdrew from a course (or courses) and ended up attempting less than 12 credits; you withdrew from the university; you were on a leave of absence (LOA); you were not registered for a semester and have been re-admitted.
- If you are a graduate student, include a letter from your department stating your expected graduation date and any other relevant information (e.g. funding, expected dates for initial and final thesis submission, etc.) and a Proof of Enrolment letter that you can print from Minerva.
- If you are an undergraduate student, include a Proof of Credits Completed To-Date letter that you can print from Minerva. If this letter does not accurately reflect the number of credits you have completed, or if you have already completed 120 or more credits, include a letter from your Academic Advisor explaining your situation (including your expected graduation date) and a Proof of Enrolment letter that you can print from Minerva. Your Proof of Enrolment letter should be for your most recent academic term, and if available, any upcoming term(s) for which you are already registered.
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.
- Immigration Quebec has created a tutorial video (available in French only) 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.
- 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. If you do not click “Déposer”, your documents will not be submitted and your application will remain pending.
NOTE: Any additional document, such as a letter of explanation, 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.
*IMPORTANT: Applying for your CAQ before your current CAQ expires does not give you maintained status in Canada. In order to have valid temporary resident status in Canada, you must have maintained status (i.e., you applied to extend your study permit from inside Canada before it expired and you have remained in Canada) or a valid study permit.
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 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 ISS for assistance. You will also have to submit your additional, required documents to Immigration Quebec electronically through the Arrima system.