Please visit our COVID-19 page for the latest news, resources, and FAQs.

COVID-19 Updates from International Student Services: MAY 2021:
1. Newly admitted international students should apply before MAY 15th to ensure they will receive their Study Permit on-time for the start of the Fall semester.
2. International students with a valid study permit (or approval letter) can travel to Canada (McGill is on the list of DLIs with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan).
3. 14-day quarantine is still required from ALL travellers entering Canada (even if vaccinated). For travellers arriving by air, the first three days of the quarantine must be done in a hotel designated by IRCC.

Please visit our COVID-19 page for additional news, resources, and FAQs.

Immigration FAQs - COVID-19

Please review the official government resources before reviewing the FAQs. Many answers to your questions can be found on Immigration Canada's and Immigration Quebec's websites.

General FAQs

I have applied for my CAQ. More than four weeks have passed since I sent my supporting documents and I have still not received any communication from MIFI (Immigration Quebec). Should I be worried?

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, due to delays caused by COVID-19, the processing times for the CAQ may be longer than normal.

We do not recommend that you resubmit your supporting documents. You should continue to monitor the information on your CAQ online portal to verify if any updates have been made in your file.

If more than 8 weeks have passed, you may wish to contact Immigration Quebec to follow up on your application.

I am applying for my CAQ, can I submit my supporting documents electronically?

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.

Please see our CAQ Application Guide and CAQ Renewal Guide for step-by-step instructions on how to submit an application.

My courses will now be held online, can I study part-time?

Under the current conditions for CAQ holders, international students must make their studies their principal activity. This means that in order to respect your CAQ conditions, you must maintain a full-time student status every term for the duration of your program, with the exception of your last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements to work on-campus and off-campus, international students must maintain a full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

Under the current eligibility requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), international students must maintain a full-time student status every term for the duration of their program, with the exception of their last term.

Until further notice, we are currently encouraging all international students* to maintain a full-time student status for the duration of their program with the exception of their last term, so as not to compromise their ability to extend their CAQ, maintain authorization to work on and off-campus or their eligibility for the PGWP. *This applies to newly admitted and current students studying inside of Canada or from outside of Canada.

If the CAQ conditions or PGWP eligibility requirements change, we will update our website.

If you must be part-time due to course cancellations as a result of COVID-19, please contact us so that we may best advise you.

I am applying for my CAQ but due to COVID-19, I cannot obtain my printed official transcript. What should I do?

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 all of the following documents instead of a scanned copy of their printed official transcript:

  1. A cover letter explaining that you are providing a copy of the electronic official transcript instead of a scanned copy of the printed official transcript. You can mention that the electronic version of the official transcript is the only version available since the Registrar’s Office is closed to the public due to COVID-19 and is therefore not issuing printed official transcripts.
    • 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 your 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.
  2. A copy of your official eTranscript (order an electronic official transcript)
  3. A copy of McGill’s Student Records webpage confirming that printed official transcripts are currently not available AND a copy of the "Services not currently available" letter issued by the Registrar.

When submitting your supporting documents to MIFI electronically through Arrima, you should combine and save all of the above documents into a single PDF and upload the PDF file in the transcript section of the checklist.

Please contact us if you receive an Intention of refusal letter from MIFI requesting that you provide them with additional documents.

I have applied for a study permit, work permit or temporary resident visa, do I have to submit biometrics?

It depends. All temporary resident applicants have to provide their biometrics, unless exempt (e.g. US citizens). If you are not exempt and have not provided your biometrics in the past 10 years, then you will be required to provide your biometrics when applying for your temporary resident documents.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC has put in place a temporary measure that exempts temporary resident applicants applying from within Canada from the biometrics requirement. This temporary measure only applies to applications submitted from inside Canada. See IRCC’s website for full details.

Applicants applying from outside Canada must still provide their biometrics.

For more information, see IRCC's COVID-19: Biometrics webpage and ISS' Immigration Resources.

I am a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident who is currently outside of Canada and my CAQ application has been approved. Should I apply online for my study permit now or should I wait and apply for my study permit at a Port of Entry (e.g. airport or land border) when I travel to Canada?

Given the impact of COVID-19 on services at ports of entry (POEs), IRCC is recommending that students who are U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents apply for their study permit online instead of at a POE. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you may still apply for your study permit at a POE if you choose to do so. However, the issuance of the study permit will be at the discretion of the border officer.

*NOTE: U.S. permanent residents applying for a study permit online or at a POE must provide biometrics. Those applying for their study permit at a POE will be able to provide their biometrics at the POE.

Please see our Entering Canada webpage, Travel FAQs and our COVID-19 Immigration Resources (with links to official government websites) before making any travel plans.

New Students FAQs

I will be less than 18 years old when I plan on travelling to Canada to begin my studies. Am I exempt from the mandatory COVID-19 entry requirements?

No. All travellers entering Canada by land or air – including minors - must respect the mandatory COVID-19 entry requirements currently in place, including having a fourteen-day quarantine plan and completing pre-arrival and post-travel COVID-19 testing requirements. However, unaccompanied minors (i.e., minors less than 18 years of age travelling to Canada alone) are exempt from the mandatory three-night stay in a government approved hotel but must still comply with all other entry requirements.

For a complete list of the requirements in place to enter Canada at this time, please see the Entering Canada section of our website.

I applied for a study permit with an admission letter from another institution. I have now been admitted to McGill, do I need to apply for a new study permit?

It depends.

If you are currently outside of Canada and your study permit application is still processing and has not yet been approved, you can submit your letter of admission from McGill and your CAQ approval letter via the IRCC Web form. However, if your study permit application has already been approved, you should submit a new study permit application with your letter of admission from McGill and CAQ approval letter.

If you are currently inside of Canada with a valid study permit and you are attending another institution, you will need to notify IRCC that you have changed institutions via your MyAccount. Please see the IRCC website for instructions on how to do so.

For more information, please see IRCC’s website: Students – Processing: COVID-19 program delivery

I have been admitted to a program that starts in the Winter 2021 term and plan on remaining outside of Canada for my first term at McGill. May I begin my courses online from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ and/or study permit?

Yes. You may begin your courses online from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ and/or study permit.

However, you must wait for the approval of your CAQ and study permit before making any plans to travel to Canada and follow instructions regarding travel restrictions and quarantine that will be in effect at that time. Please see our Entering Canada webpage, Travel FAQs and our COVID-19 Immigration Resources (with links to official government websites) for more information.

Once your courses return to an in-person format, you must have a valid CAQ and study permit to study in Canada. We therefore strongly encourage you to apply for your CAQ and study permit as soon as possible.

While you may begin your studies remotely from outside of Canada without your CAQ and study permit, government regulations from our Ministry of Education require that McGill have a copy of your valid immigration documents on record throughout your registration at McGill. As a result, you may receive automated emails from McGill Legal Documents requesting a copy of your CAQ and study permit. See the Legal Documents website for information on what to do if you are missing any of your immigration documents, in particular the yellow COVID-19 box.

You should also be aware that beginning online courses from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ or study permit approval letter may have an impact on your eligibility for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP). For more detailed information on how studying outside of Canada as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic may effect your PGWP eligibility, please see the How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected section on IRCC’s website and our Work FAQs.

I am a newly admitted student and I would like to defer my studies. Will this impact the validity of my CAQ and/or study permit?

If you are admitted to the Winter 2021 term and you defer the start of your studies to any other term (e.g., Summer 2021, Fall 2021 or Winter 2022), you will need to apply for a new CAQ before you can begin your program.

Your study permit or Port of Introduction letter (i.e., your study permit approval letter) will remain valid until the date of its expiry. You will not need to apply for a new study permit and you can use your study permit approval letter to travel to Canada to begin your Summer 2021, Fall 2021 or Winter 2022 semester as long as you do so within the validity period indicated in the letter. Your actual study permit document will be issued to you at your Port of Entry upon arrival to Canada.

Current Students FAQs

My CAQ and study permit are expiring before the start of the Fall 2021 term but registration for the 2021/2022 academic year will only open in June. Should I apply to renew my CAQ and/or study permit before I receive proof of registration for the Fall 2021/Winter 2022 terms?

It depends. We generally recommend returning students to wait until they have proof of registration for a future term(s) before applying to renew their CAQ and study permit. However, this year, Fall registration for returning students only opens on June 1st. For certain students, this may be too late for them to start the process of renewing their immigration documents. We therefore recommend that the following students apply to renew their documents prior to June registration.

Students who should not wait until June to apply to renew their CAQ and/or study permit:

  • Students whose Study Permit will expire before June
  • Students who were not continuously enrolled full-time every term (i.e., part-time terms, withdrew from courses reducing course load to less than 12 credits, leave of absences, gaps in their studies, etc.)
  • Students who did not successfully pass many courses
  • Students who would like to travel and do not plan on returning to Canada before their current immigration documents expire.

NOTE: All other students may wish to wait to apply until June once they have proof of registration for the Fall 2021/Winter 2022 term(s). Students who are not in one of the above-mentioned situations but are worried about receiving their documents on time can choose to apply before they have proof of registration for a future term(s).

***NOTE FOR STUDY PERMIT:

  • Applying before June registration: When applying to renew your study permit, follow the instructions mentioned below (Documents to include if applying before June). Then, once you are registered, make sure to submit your proof of enrolment letter(s) via the IRCC Web Form and request that it be added to your pending study permit application.
  • Applying after June registration: When applying to renew your study permit, make sure to include proof of enrolment for the Fall 2021 term and Winter 2022 term, where applicable.

Documents to include if applying before June

When applying for your CAQ and study permit renewal, you should include the following documents in lieu of proof of future registration:

Undergraduate students:

  • Proof of Credits Completed To-Date letter from Minerva for your most recent term of registration (e.g. Winter 2021). If this letter is not accurate (e.g. does not correctly show the number of credits remaining), please contact Service Point
  • June Registration Dates Letter - for the Academic Year 2021-2022*
  • Your official transcript
  • Cover letter (signed and dated) that explains why you are applying to renew your CAQ before obtaining proof of registration for the 2021/2022 academic year
  • If possible, a letter from your academic advisor with your expected graduation term.

Graduate students:

  • Proof of enrolment letter for the Winter 2021 and Summer 2021 terms
  • A letter from your department that provides your expected graduation date
  • Your official transcript
  • June Registration Dates Letter - for the Academic Year 2021-2022*
  • Cover letter (signed and dated) that explains why you are applying to renew your CAQ before obtaining proof of registration for the 2021/2022 academic year

Instructions on how to obtain the special June Registration Date letter:

  1. Go to the Service Point contact-Us page: https://www.mcgill.ca/servicepoint/contact-us
  2. Select the Email / Web form Options tab
  3. In the Email Options tab select “Current McGill Student”
  4. Using your McGill first.last [at] mcgill.ca username and password log into the web form
  5. Select your Faculty and choose Enrolment Letter Request
  6. Using your McGill first.last [at] mcgill.ca username and password log into the web form
    1. Undergraduate students: follow instructions under 1.a.i.
    2. Graduate students: see section “To renew your CAQ and/or study permit:”

IMPORTANT: If you receive an intention of refusal notice from Immigration Quebec requesting additional documents for your CAQ application, please contact our office right away.

I am registered for the Winter 2021 term and I am currently residing outside of Canada. All of my courses will be held online. Can I continue to attend my courses online from outside of Canada even if my CAQ and/or study permit have not yet been approved?

Yes. You may continue to attend your courses online from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ and study permit. If you have not yet done so, we recommend that you apply for your CAQ and/or study permit as soon as possible.

You must wait for the approval of your CAQ and study permit before making plans to travel to Canada and follow instructions regarding travel restrictions and quarantine that will be in effect at that time. Please see our Entering Canada webpage, Travel FAQs and our COVID-19 Immigration Resources (with links to official government websites) for more information.

Once your courses return to an in-person format, you must have a valid CAQ and study permit to study in Canada. We therefore strongly encourage you to apply for your CAQ and study permit as soon as possible.

While you may continue your studies remotely from outside of Canada without your CAQ and study permit, government regulations from our Ministry of Education require that McGill have a copy of your valid immigration documents on record throughout your registration at McGill. As a result, you may receive automated emails from McGill Legal Documents requesting a copy of your CAQ and study permit.

IMPORTANT: See the Legal Documents website for information on what to do if you are missing any of your immigration documents, in particular the yellow COVID-19 box.

You should also be aware that studying online from outside of Canada without a valid CAQ or study permit approval letter may have an impact on your eligibility for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP). For more detailed information on how studying outside of Canada as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic may affect your PGWP eligibility, please see the How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected section on IRCC’s website and our Work FAQs.

IMPORTANT: If you are currently in Canada, you must maintain valid immigration status for the entire duration of your stay. This means that before your current study permit expires you must do one of the following:

Only full-time students who hold a valid study permit or who applied to extend their study permit before their current study permit expired (maintained status) are authorized to work on and off-campus.

Visitors in Canada are not eligible to apply for a study permit from inside Canada unless they fall under a limited number of exemptions. See IRCC’s website for more details.

I am registered for the Winter 2021 term and I am inside Canada. All of my courses will be held online. Can I continue to attend my courses online from inside of Canada even if my CAQ and/or study permit have not yet been approved?

In order to attend your courses from inside of Canada, you must have a valid CAQ and study permit or a valid CAQ and maintained status as a student. This requirement applies even if your courses are being held online.

If you are currently in Canada, you must maintain valid immigration status for the entire duration of your stay. This means that before your current study permit expires you must do one of the following:

Only full-time students who hold a valid study permit or who applied to extend their study permit before their study permit expired (maintained status) are authorized to study and work on and off-campus.

NOTE: If you do not currently hold a valid CAQ and valid study permit or you are not under a maintained status as a student, you are not authorized to begin or continue your studies while residing inside Canada until your CAQ has been approved and you have been issued a study permit.

My study permit is expiring soon and I would like to apply for my study permit extension from within Canada, but I am missing one or more of the required documents. What should I do?

If you are in Canada, it is very important that you submit your study permit extension application before your current study permit expires in order to remain in Canada under maintained status. If you apply to extend your study permit online from inside Canada before it expires, you will benefit from maintained status while your application is processing, after your study permit has expired, as long as you remain in Canada. While you have maintained status, you may continue to study and work as per the conditions of your current study permit.

If you are missing a document (e.g. passport, financial documents, CAQ), you must apply to extend your study permit with a cover letter explaining why you do not have the document. If your reason is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, mention this. If possible, you should also include supporting documents that demonstrate all efforts that you have made to obtain the missing document (e.g. proof that you have applied to renew your CAQ* or passport). *If your CAQ is still processing, include a copy of your online CAQ application and a screenshot of your application history/timeline.

As soon as you obtain the missing document(s), you must submit it to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through the IRCC Web Form and request that IRCC add it to your pending study permit application. 

The decision to approve your study permit application will be at the discretion of the officer reviewing your application.

Please contact us if you have further questions.

I applied for my study permit from within Canada before my current study permit expired, can I leave Canada while my application is processing and then return to Canada

If you are currently in Canada under maintained status (i.e., you submitted an application to extend your study permit and it is still processing), you can leave Canada if you wish. However, once you leave Canada, you will lose your maintained status. This means that you must obtain a study permit and the necessary travel document (TRV or eTA) in order to return to Canada to resume your studies. Your study permit extension application will continue to process even if you leave Canada. Once your application has been approved, the actual study permit will be mailed to the Canadian address you included in your application form. If you require a TRV based on your country of citizenship, you will have to apply for one separately, after your study permit has been approved

*Please review IRCC resources on travel restrictions and exemptions*

What happens if my CAQ and study permit expire while I am outside of Canada and I want to return to Canada for the Winter 2021 or Summer 2021 term?

If your immigration documents will expire while you are outside of Canada, you will need to apply for them before returning to Canada to resume your studies. Please see our CAQ Renewal Guide and our Study Permit Renewal Guide (under “Applying for Your Study Permit from Outside Canada”) for more detailed instructions. If you apply for your new study permit from outside of Canada, a new eTA or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) will be automatically issued at the same time your study permit is approved.

*Important: Please review Entering Canada webpage, Travel FAQs and our COVID-19 Immigration Resources before making any plans to travel to Canada.

If I leave Canada will my CAQ and Study Permit remain valid?

Your CAQ and study permit both remain valid until their expiry date. You may use them to enter Canada and resume your studies in the Winter 2021 or Summer 2021 term. In order to enter Canada, you must have a valid CAQ, study permit and Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or eTA.

*Important: Please review our Travel FAQs before making any plans to travel to Canada. If you leave Canada now, you may not be able to return to Canada under the current travel restrictions.

Updated January 26 2021

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