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Postdoctoral and medical fellows

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the procedure for inviting someone to do an internship has changed. Please read about it on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website (in French only).

If you are a professor at Université Laval and would like to invite a foreign worker, please follow the instructions on the VRRH intranet.

Have you been invited to Université Laval as a foreign postdoctoral or medical fellow?

Canadian immigration considers you to be a foreign worker.

To be invited, you must be eligible for a status at Université Laval and hold a work permit or authorization to work from Canadian immigration. If you have an open work permit, notify the person inviting you.

Foreign workers are responsible for their immigration procedures, for respecting the conditions of their invitation and Canadian work authorization, and for obtaining and extending their Canadian work permit if necessary. If their working conditions change, for more or less, a new invitation letter and work permit may be required.

Eligibility and invitation

You must be eligible for postdoctoral fellow status and be invited by a professor at Université Laval. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, the professor must write to

Valid passport

You must have a passport that will be valid more than three months after the end of your stay. The dates of your stay and your immigration documents cannot extend beyond your passport’s expiry date.

Processing times

Start procedures at least 4 months in advance to allow sufficient time for immigration processing.

Invitation letter

You will need an invitation letter for your stay. The letter will include an LMIA-exempt job offer number and a description of your working conditions. This letter is essential for your immigration procedures and your entry into Canada.

Immigration procedure

Postdoctoral and medical fellows must apply for a work permit. They are exempt from an LMIA if they meet the following criteria:

LMIA exemption C-44 for postdoctoral fellows: Applicants must have completed their doctorate or plan to complete it shortly (i.e., have successfully defended their thesis and met the PhD requirements) and must have been invited to work for remuneration in their field (the source of remuneration is of no consequence for immigration purposes).

LMIA exemption C-45 for medical fellows: Applicants must hold a medical degree equivalent to that of a Canadian medical doctorate (including in dental medicine) as well as a medical specialization.

The procedure for postdoctoral and medical fellows applying for an LMIA-exempt work permit is as follows:

  1. If required, take the Canadian immigration medical exam. This step is always required for medical fellows and may be required for postdoctoral fellows.
  2. If required, obtain permission from a professional order. This step is always required for medical fellows and may be required for postdoctoral fellows.
  3. Apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit.

If you are unsure, contact the faculty immigration resource person.

Plane ticket

Please note that if you require a visa and/or a work permit, you must wait until you receive your visa and/or the approval for your work permit before buying your plane ticket.

In all cases, wait until you have all the required documents listed in step 8 for entry into Canada before buying your ticket, making arrangements for your stay, and coming to Canada.

Plan to arrive a few days before your fellowship starts to complete the administrative procedures.

Arrangements for your stay

For suggestions on accommodation and practical tips for your stay, see the section on Living in Québec City, in the section for International Students on the Student Life Office (BVE) webpage. Even though you don’t have access to BVE services as a foreign worker, some of the information will be useful.

Going through Canadian customs

You will go through customs at the first Canadian airport you arrive at.

Please note that you should keep the following documents with you rather than in your checked baggage:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid electronic travel authorization or visa
  • A letter approving your work permit: follow the instructions on it and show it to the customs officer so they can print out your work permit
  • Your invitation letter with the host professor’s phone number
  • Proof that the criteria for the LMIA exemption you used (e.g., a letter confirming a grant, your doctoral degree, proof that you are a professor in another country, etc.)
  • If required, proof that you have passed a medical exam
  • If required, permission from a professional order
  • Any other document Canadian immigration might require before entering Canada, according to the following requirements:

The customs officer has the final say on your entry to Canada. If everything is in order, the officer will issue your work permit. Before leaving customs, check that all the information on your work permit is accurate, including your identity, employer (Université Laval), the city (Québec City), the status under which you were invited (visiting professor, visiting researcher, postdoctoral fellow, medical fellow, or training or research intern), the expiry date (same length as the invitation unless your passport expires first), the LMIA-exempt job offer number and the conditions listed (e.g., if you have taken the medical exam, there should be no restrictions on working with patients, children, or the elderly). A mistake in any of this information could prevent you from working in Canada for several weeks and it’s much easier to correct any errors directly at customs.

Social insurance number (SIN)

You must have a social insurance number (SIN) to receive a salary or scholarship (grant) from Université Laval or another Canadian employer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still apply for a SIN, after completing your mandatory quarantine. An appointment must be made here. You must bring your original work permit.

Health and hospitalization insurance

As a postdoctoral or medical fellow you will normally be eligible for the Québec health insurance plan. Barring exceptions, you will qualify after a waiting period of up to 3 months after you register. You will need to take out private health and hospitalization insurance to be covered during this waiting period.

If you have family members with you, make sure they have adequate health insurance coverage.

Depending on your personal or family needs, take out complementary private insurance of your choice.

If you have any questions about insurance, send an email to


You must register at the Registrar’s office before starting your fellowship. Plan to arrive a few days in advance to complete this process.

Work permit extension

If necessary, extend your work permit.

Permanent residence

Some postdoctoral fellows can apply for permanent residence.

For more information

Depending on where you are, you can refer to the following resources:

Outside Canada:

Inside Canada:

If necessary, you can submit your question to the Université Laval faculty respondent.

This website is intended to provide general information on current procedures, which may change at any time without notice. Québec and Canada laws and regulations in effect as well as the websites of the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion (MIDI) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) take precedence over this website.

This page was last updated on: 2019-07-15