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Study Permit - FAQs

Immigration Essentials for International Students in Graduate Programs at McGill

New Students

1. I may not receive my study permit in time to travel to Canada before the start of the Fall term on Aug 31. What should I do?

McGill’s official deadline to apply for a deferral of your admission is September 13th, 2022. You may therefore wish to wait until we are to closer to the deadline before deciding to defer your admission, as your study permit may be approved before then.

If you are certain that you wish to apply for a deferral, please note that in order for your deferral request to be processed, you cannot remain enrolled for any courses at McGill. This means that if you are currently registered for courses in the Fall 2022 and/or Winter 2023 term(s), you must drop them all in order for your deferral to be finalized.

In order to accommodate international students who are experiencing delays in obtaining their immigration documents, you may be able to defer your admission up until the add/drop deadline on September 13th, 2022; such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Please note that deferral to the subsequent Winter 2023 term is not guaranteed and you may have to defer until the Fall 2023 term.

Students arriving after the start of the Fall 2022 term on August 31st, 2022 and who wish to request academic accommodations for any missed classes should contact their professors and academic advisors directly.

IMPORTANT: We do not recommend that newly admitted undergraduate students miss more than one week of class, as it may prove difficult to catch up academically. We also do not recommend that students make travel plans until they have obtained their immigration documents.

For any questions about how arriving late or applying for a deferral after August 31st will affect your student housing, please contact the Student Housing Department.

If you have any questions about the deferral form or status of your deferral request, please contact the deferral [at] mcgill.ca (Enrolment Services Deferral office) directly.
 

Master’s thesis and PhD students: If you are concerned about arriving past the start date of the Fall 2022 term, please contact your department and your supervisor as soon as possible to discuss your options. All such inquiries will be handled on a case by-case basis to ensure you can progress towards your degree in a timely manner. 

Master’s non-thesis students: If you are concerned about arriving past the start date of the Fall 2022 term due to a delay in obtaining your immigration documents, contact your department as soon as possible. Academic accommodation requests for missed in-person classes are not guaranteed. 

NOTE: Graduate deferrals are handled at the departmental level. For questions about deferral options, contact your Graduate Program Coordinator.
 

2. Do I need to get a new Study Permit if I am transferring to McGill from another school in Canada?

You do not have to apply for a new Study Permit but do need to inform IRCC of the change in schools through your online account.

Please note, all international students studying in Quebec must have a valid CAQ for the appropriate level of studies.

If you are a high school or secondary school student coming to McGill and want to be able to work while you study, you must apply to change the conditions of your study permit. There is a fee to make this change. To do this, you’ll need to apply for a new study permit from within Canada.

Visit the IRCC website for more details.

3. Am I required to provide biometrics when applying for my study permit?

It depends.

US citizens are exempt from the requirement to provide their biometrics when applying to come to Canada temporarily. All other foreign nationals applying to come to Canada temporarily must provide their biometrics unless exempt.

On July 15, 2020, Immigration Canada implemented a facilitative measure that exempts temporary resident applicants who are applying from within Canada from the requirement to provide their biometrics. This temporary measure was invoked in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and only applies to applications submitted from inside Canada.

Applicants applying from outside Canada must still provide their biometrics. For more information, see IRCC's COVID-19: Biometrics webpage and ISS' Immigration Resources.

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 from outside Canada. Your study permit application cannot be finalized until IRCC receives your biometrics.

Please note, if you are unable to have your biometrics taken within the 30-day deadline provided to you by Immigration Canada because of COVID-19 related issues, such as a lockdown in your country or the closure of the Visa Application Center (VAC), you must contact IRCC before the deadline expires to indicate this AND request an extension, either through the IRCC webform or by following the instructions on your Biometrics Instruction Letter. Once IRCC receives your biometrics, they will be able to finalize the processing of your study permit application.

See IRCC’s website for full details on who is required to provide their biometrics when applying to come to Canada temporarily.

4. Am I required to have a valid medical exam in order to enter Canada?

It depends.

You are required to have proof of valid immigration medical examination results when entering Canada if you have resided in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months within the past year, OR if you will work in a position that puts you in close contact with people, for example as:

  • a medical student
  • a student in a health sciences field who will have placements in health-care or home-care settings
  • an education student who will have placements in primary or secondary schools

The requirement to have valid immigration examination results applies to ALL students, regardless if you are a returning student entering Canada with a valid study permit OR a new student entering Canada with a study permit approval letter (letter of introduction). If your medical exam will no longer be valid (i.e., the results are more than 12 months old) when you plan to enter Canada, you will need to complete another medical exam before travelling to Canada.

IRCC may contact you to inform you that your medical exam is no longer valid, but in some cases, you may not receive a correspondence letter from IRCC. Should this be the case then you must follow the instructions for upfront medicals and submit proof of having done your medical via the IRCC Web Form.

It is a student’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all the requirements to enter Canada. If you are unsure if you need to redo your medical exam, you should contact IRCC via their webform.

5. I am a dual US and French citizen. Does it matter which nationality I use when applying for my immigration documents?

You can apply for your documents under either nationality, however there are certain advantages to applying under your French nationality for your CAQ and your US nationality for your study permit.

French citizens are exempt from the international tuition fee. Therefore, when applying for your immigration documents and providing proof of your financial capacity, you should include proof of your French citizenship in order to prove why you are exempt from the international tuition fee.

If you are a US citizen or US permanent resident, you can apply for your study permit directly at the port of entry (land or air border between Canada and the US) and therefore should apply for your study permit with your US passport or US permanent resident card.

While you may be applying under one nationality for your CAQ and another for your study permit, it is still recommended to include proof of your dual nationality in both applications for the reasons mentioned above.

6. I am a U.S. citizen/P.R., currently outside of Canada, with an approved CAQ. Should I apply for my study permit online or at the border?

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you may apply for your study permit online or at a port of entry. Note the issuance of the study permit at the POE will be at the discretion of the border officer, see our study permit guide for a list of documents you should bring when applying at the POE.

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.

7. I am currently outside of Canada and I do not have a valid passport. Can I apply for my immigration documents?

No. In order to apply for your study permit, you must have a valid passport. If you have not yet applied for your passport, you should do so immediately and request expedited processing of your passport.

IMPORTANT: The expiry of your study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or eTA is dependent on the expiry of your passport; these documents generally cannot be issued past the expiry of your passport.

8. 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. However, as a minor student, you do not have to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to enter Canada. Please note, the border agent will make the final determination regarding allowing you entry into Canada and issuing your study permit.

For more information, please refer to IRCC’s Foreign workers and students webpage as well as our “Exemptions” tab.

9. I applied for study permit with an admission letter from another institution. Now admitted to McGill, should I 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 the 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

If you obtained a CAQ for a different institution, you may use it for your studies at McGill if the CAQ is for the same level of studies as your new program at McGill. For example, if your CAQ is for Université - premier cycle, you may use it to complete your undergraduate studies at McGill. If it is for Université - deuxième or troisième cycle, you may not use it for your undergraduate studies as these are for Master’s and Doctorate studies, respectively.

10. I am a new student with a study permit approval letter. I want to defer my studies. Will this impact my study permit approval letter?

It depends.

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 2022 or Fall 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 the Port of Entry upon arrival to Canada.

11. I am a current undergrad who will start a graduate program in Fall 2022. My study permit expires in a year. Should I apply for a new study permit?

Your study permit is not level specific. You may therefore use it to begin your studies in the Fall and for as long as it remains valid. You will have to renew it before it expires as you must have a valid study permit for the entire duration of your studies in Canada.

IMPORTANT: Your CAQ is level specific, which means you will need a different CAQ for undergraduate, master and doctoral studies even if you have a valid study permit. You will therefore need to apply for and obtain a new CAQ before starting your graduate studies in the Fall. When applying for your new CAQ, please follow the CAQ renewal guide as your application will be considered an extension and not a first CAQ application.

12. I applied to renew my study permit without proof of registration for the F22/W23 terms. Do I need to submit an updated proof of registration to IRCC?

YES. Now that you are registered for the Fall 2022 and/or Winter 2023 term(s), 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.

IMPORTANT: If you do not submit proof of enrollment for the Fall 2022/Winter 2023 term(s), your study permit application may be refused.

13. Can I apply for my Study Permit and TRV/Entry Visa at the same time?

It depends where you are applying for your Study Permit:

  • If you are applying for a Study Permit outside of Canada, your TRV is included in the same application and you are exempt from paying the TRV application fee. 
  • If you are applying to renew your Study Permit inside Canada, you will have to wait to receive the new Study Permit before you apply for your new TRV.  Read the TRV application guide for instructions.

Current Students

1. Am I required to provide biometrics when applying for my study permit?

It depends.

US citizens are exempt from the requirement to provide their biometrics when applying to come to Canada temporarily. All other foreign nationals applying to come to Canada temporarily must provide their biometrics unless exempt.

On July 15, 2020, Immigration Canada implemented a facilitative measure that exempts temporary resident applicants who are applying from within Canada from the requirement to provide their biometrics. This temporary measure was invoked in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and only applies to applications submitted from inside Canada.

Applicants applying from outside Canada must still provide their biometrics. For more information, see IRCC's COVID-19: Biometrics webpage and ISS' Immigration Resources.

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 from outside Canada. Your study permit application cannot be finalized until IRCC receives your biometrics.

Please note, if you are unable to have your biometrics taken within the 30-day deadline provided to you by Immigration Canada because of COVID-19 related issues, such as a lockdown in your country or the closure of the Visa Application Center (VAC), you must contact IRCC before the deadline expires to indicate this AND request an extension, either through the IRCC webform or by following the instructions on your Biometrics Instruction Letter. Once IRCC receives your biometrics, they will be able to finalize the processing of your study permit application.

See IRCC’s website for full details on who is required to provide their biometrics when applying to come to Canada temporarily.

2. Am I required to have a valid medical exam in order to enter Canada?

It depends.

You are required to have proof of valid immigration medical examination results when entering Canada if you have resided in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months within the past year, OR if you will work in a position that puts you in close contact with people, for example as:

  • a medical student
  • a student in a health sciences field who will have placements in health-care or home-care settings
  • an education student who will have placements in primary or secondary schools

The requirement to have valid immigration examination results applies to ALL students, regardless if you are a returning student entering Canada with a valid study permit OR a new student entering Canada with a study permit approval letter (letter of introduction). If your medical exam will no longer be valid (i.e., the results are more than 12 months old) when you plan to enter Canada, you will need to complete another medical exam before travelling to Canada.

IRCC may contact you to inform you that your medical exam is no longer valid, but in some cases, you may not receive a correspondence letter from IRCC. Should this be the case then you must follow the instructions for upfront medicals and submit proof of having done your medical via the IRCC Web Form.

It is a student’s responsibility to ensure that they meet all the requirements to enter Canada. If you are unsure if you need to redo your medical exam, you should contact IRCC via their webform.

3. I am a dual US and French citizen. Does it matter which nationality I use when applying for my immigration documents?

You can apply for your documents under either nationality, however there are certain advantages to applying under your French nationality for your CAQ and your US nationality for your study permit.

French citizens are exempt from the international tuition fee. Therefore, when applying for your immigration documents and providing proof of your financial capacity, you should include proof of your French citizenship in order to prove why you are exempt from the international tuition fee.

If you are a US citizen or US permanent resident, you can apply for your study permit directly at the port of entry (land or air border between Canada and the US) and therefore should apply for your study permit with your US passport or US permanent resident card.

While you may be applying under one nationality for your CAQ and another for your study permit, it is still recommended to include proof of your dual nationality in both applications for the reasons mentioned above.

4. I am a U.S. citizen/P.R., currently outside of Canada, with an approved CAQ. Should I apply for my study permit online or at the border?

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you may apply for your study permit online or at a port of entry. Note the issuance of the study permit at the POE will be at the discretion of the border officer, see our study permit guide for a list of documents you should bring when applying at the POE.

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.

5. I am currently outside of Canada and I do not have a valid passport. Can I apply for my immigration documents?

No. In order to apply for your study permit, you must have a valid passport. If you have not yet applied for your passport, you should do so immediately and request expedited processing of your passport.

IMPORTANT: The expiry of your study permit and temporary resident visa (TRV) or eTA is dependent on the expiry of your passport; these documents generally cannot be issued past the expiry of your passport.

6. I applied to extend my study permit inside Canada before it expired. Can I travel and re-enter Canada to resume studies while my application is processing?


It depends.

If you leave Canada while your study permit extension application is processing, you may lose the right to study and work in Canada. You may also be denied entry to Canada.

Before making travel plans, see which example below applies to your situation:
 

  1. You plan to return to Canada before your current study permit expires. You can re-enter Canada and resume your studies. You will benefit from maintained status from the date your study permit expires until a decision is made on your application as long as you remain in Canada. Under maintained status, you can continue to study and work as per the conditions of your previous study permit.
     
  2. You plan to return to Canada after your study permit has expired – e.g. your study permit expired while you were in Canada or will expire while you are outside of Canada. You will not benefit from maintained status. If you had maintained status before leaving Canada, you will lose this status when you leave Canada. This means that:
    • You will not be authorized to study or work in Canada until your new study permit has been issued.
       
    • You may be denied entry to Canada. If you are allowed to enter Canada, you will not be authorized to study or work in Canada until your new study permit has been issued.
       

NOTE: 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 Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) based on your country of citizenship, you will have to apply for one separately, after your study permit has been approved. If you require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), it will automatically be renewed with your study permit. See IRCC’s website for more information on entry requirements, including TRV and eTA exemptions.

7. What happens if my CAQ and study permit expire while I am outside of Canada and I want to return to resume my studies?

If your immigration documents will expire while you are outside of Canada, you will need to apply for and obtain new ones 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.

You will also need to have a valid eTA or TRV to enter Canada, unless exempt. 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 the Travelling to and from Canada page and our COVID-19 Immigration Resources before making any plans to travel to Canada.

8. I am currently outside Canada and both my CAQ and study permit are still valid. Can I return with these documents to continue my studies?

Your CAQ and study permit both remain valid until their expiry date and you may use them to enter Canada to resume your studies. 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 and Travelling to and from Canada page before making any plans to travel to Canada.

9.Do I have to apply for a new Study Permit if I change programs at McGill?

You do not have to apply for a new Study Permit if you change programs within McGill and do not need to inform IRCC of the change in program or level of study. 

Visit the IRCC website for more details.

10. Can I apply for my Study Permit and TRV/Entry Visa at the same time?

It depends where you are applying for your Study Permit:

  • If you are applying for a Study Permit outside of Canada, your TRV is included in the same application and you are exempt from paying the TRV application fee. 
  • If you are applying to renew your Study Permit inside Canada, you will have to wait to receive the new Study Permit before you apply for your new TRV.  Read the TRV application guide for instructions.
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