Study or exchange programs lasting 6 months or less
If you come for a study program that is 6 months or less or if you come for a one-semester exchange, you don’t need to get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] (CAQ) or a study permit. You have to follow the necessary steps to enter Canada as a visitor. However, if you want to have the right to work on campus or if you have to do a mandatory internship as part of your student exchange agreement (with the exception of a healthcare internship), you must apply for a study permit even if your studies will be for 6 months or less and, if the internship takes place off campus, an internship-work coop permit. You are, however, exempt from needing a CAQ.
When you arrive at a Canadian port of entry, you will need your acceptance letter from the Registrar’s Office confirming the length of your study or exchange program. Visit the Travelling to Canada and clearing Canadian customs page to prepare for your arrival in Canada.
To determine whether your study or exchange program is 6 months or less, you have to check the length of the program on the offer of admission from Université Laval. Even if you intend to physically stay in Canada for only six months or less, what is important is the length of the study program. So, if your acceptance letter says that your study program is longer than six months, you have to take the necessary steps to get a CAQ and a study permit. If that is the case for you, follow the instructions in the section on Study or exchange programs lasting more than 6 months. This is usually the case if you are in one of the following situations:
- Study program that started via distance learning outside Canada, even if you have less than 6 months left to complete the program in Canada
- Master’s double degree program
- Cotutelle (joint supervision) agreement that involves being at Université Laval for six months or less
- PhD defence
Getting the necessary documents to enter and stay in Canada can take several months, so we strongly advise you get started as soon as possible. You can begin the immigration process when you receive your offer of admission. The Registrar’s Office (for regular students) or the International Office (for exchange students) will email you your offer of admission. You won’t receive a printed copy of your offer of admission by mail.
Students admitted to a virtual mobility program aren’t being asked to travel to Canada, so this information isn’t intended for them.
If you are a training or research intern, postdoctoral fellow, clinical instructor, professor, or visiting researcher, see this section.
You must use the official website of the Canadian government to complete the immigration steps.
For your protection, if you would like to use an immigration representative for the process, make sure they can legally carry out this role. See the MIFI (in French only) and IRCC websites about this.
We recommend that you make sure your passport will be valid for at least three months after the end of your study or exchange program in Canada. If you need to renew your passport, do so now. You should factor in the processing time for this when planning your application.
Entering Canada as a visitor
To enter Canada as a visitor, you will only need to get a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) depending on your nationality (there are certain exceptions). It is best to get your visa or eTA before booking your flight to Canada or making other travel arrangements.
If you don’t have to get a visa, you must get an eTA to enter Canada by air; this applies to citizens of all countries except the United States and other minor exceptions.
The eTA is linked directly to your passport. It is valid for five years or until your passport expires.
You can apply for an eTA online; it takes only a few minutes. To apply, you have to have a valid passport, an email address, and a credit card to pay the fee ($7).
The visa application is made through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It costs $100 for the visa application and $85 for biometrics. Processing times for visa applications vary depending on where you are applying from. The visa is placed directly in your passport.
You have to apply online by creating a IRCC secure account (details on creating, preparing and submitting an online application). Please note that IRCC is phasing in a new portal for online applications. If you are directed to the new portal, there will be discrepancies with the information provided here. Among other things, you will not be asked to fill out an application form in PDF format. Fees and processing times remain the same, regardless of the portal used.
Once your application is approved, you will need to send your passport to the Canadian visa office that serves your country of residence so the visa can be placed in your passport.
We suggest that you don’t spend any money out of pocket or make any commitments until you have your visa.
See the instruction guide on the IRCC website for help filling out the forms and gathering the required supporting documents.
Documents to send
- “Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) Made Outside of Canada [IMM 5257]” form
- The form must be validated (with barcodes) in order to upload it. (You don’t have to sign it.)
- Here are some guidelines to help you complete the forms:
- “DETAILS OF VISIT TO CANADA” section
- Box 4: You can put Université Laval and its address down (2325, rue de l’Université, Québec, G1V 0A6).
- “DETAILS OF VISIT TO CANADA” section
- Passport: A clear copy of the ID page as well as all pages where there are stamps, visas, or entries.
- Acceptance letter: The offer of admission issued by the Registrar’s Office.
- Proof of sufficient financial resources: The documents must be recent. For more details, see the section “Details about proof of financial support” on Study or exchange programs lasting more than 6 months website.
- Photo: It must be in colour and show the full front view of the head, with the face in the middle of the photo, and include the top of the shoulders. You can take it yourself with a digital camera. The image pixel size must be at least 420 x 540.
- Recent transcript.
- Citizens of all countries (except the United States and other minor exceptions) have to give their biometrics. If you have already given your biometrics for a Canadian visa or permit application, your biometrics will remain valid for 10 years.
- You must pay the biometrics fee ($85) when you submit your application. Within 24 hours, you will receive an instruction letter in your secure IRCC account indicating where to go for the biometrics data collection. You will then have 30 days to make an appointment and go to an official biometrics collection site. You must bring the instruction letter and your passport with you. This step should be done as soon as possible, as processing times are calculated starting on the date the biometric information is received.
- Important: You must give your biometrics to the Canadian government even if you have a biometric passport.
Residence permit from the country you are living in when you apply, if that country is different from your country of citizenship, as well as a letter of explanation about your intention to return, at the end of your studies at Université Laval, to your country of origin or to the country you are living in when you apply.
Applying for a study permit
If you want to have the right to work on campus or if you have to do a mandatory internship in Canada as part of your program (with the exception of a healthcare internship), you must apply for a study permit even if your studies will be for 6 months or less and, if the internship takes place off campus, an internship-work coop permit. You will, however, be exempt from needing a CAQ. Exchange students for 6 months or less are not allowed to work off-campus, even if they have a study permit.
The steps for applying for a study permit are in the section on Study or exchange programs lasting more than six months.
Since you are exempt from needing a CAQ, you will have to send a signed and dated explanatory letter in place of a CAQ with your study permit application. The explanatory letter should specify that you would like to get a study permit even though you are studying for less than six months and are exempt from needing a CAQ. Here is a sample you can use as a template: Sample Explanatory Letter.
If you apply for a study permit from outside of Canada, the application automatically includes your visa or eTA at no additional cost. If you are from a country for which a visa is required, you will need to send your passport to the Canadian visa office that serves your country of residence so the visa can be placed in your passport. IRCC will provide you with instructions at the appropriate time.
We suggest that you don’t spend any money out of pocket or make any commitments until you have all the necessary legal documents (study permit approval, eTA or visa).
If you have to do a mandatory internship as part of your student exchange agreement in Canada, you will need to get a co-op work permit (with the exception of a healthcare internship). For this, you will have to apply for a study permit even if you are staying for less than six months (see the instructions above about this). Also, you will receive specific instructions about this when you get your offer of admission.
Last updated on: 2023-06-19