Study or exchange programs lasting more than 6 months
If you come for a study program that is more than 6 months or for a two-semester exchange, you need to get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration [Québec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration] (MIFI) as well as a study permit (and work permit, if needed) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Getting the necessary documents to enter and stay in Canada takes 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.
If your study or exchange program includes a mandatory Québec-based internship, you can also apply for a co-op or internship work permit when you apply for a study permit. You don’t have to fill out a separate application for it.
Key steps in the immigration process
- First step after receiving your offer of admission
- Use the CAQ electronic notice of issuance that was sent to your secure MIFI account to start the study permit application step
- Biometrics (if required)
- Medical exam (if required)
- Co-op or internship work permit (if required)
- Visa (send passport) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Preparing for your arrival
- Buy your plane ticket
- Arrange accommodation
You must complete all the immigration steps before you arrive in Canada. You must have your CAQ and your IRCC study permit approval with you when you arrive. If you don’t, you may not be allowed into Canada when you arrive and you may be sent back to your home country, or you may only be admitted as a temporary visitor, which won’t allow you to study in Canada.
You must use the official websites of the Québec and Canadian governments to complete the immigration steps.
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 6 months, you have to take the necessary steps to get a CAQ and a study permit.
This is usually the case if you are in one of the following situations:
- Master’s double degree program
- Cotutelle (joint supervision) agreement that involves being at Université Laval for 6 months or less
- PhD defence
For your protection, if you would like to use an immigration representative for the process, make sure they can legally carry out this role.
MIFI reference: Regulation respecting immigration consultants (in French only)
IRCC reference: Using an immigration and citizenship representative
Immigration requirements (allow 2 to 6 months)
You must hold a valid passport to apply to study in Canada. We recommend that you make sure your passport will be valid for at least 3 months after the end of your studies in Canada.
Your immigration documents are valid only so long as your passport is.
It is possible to apply for a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] (CAQ) for studies using a passport that will expire during the course of your studies. However, we recommend that you apply for your study permit using a passport that will remain valid for the entire study period.
If you have to renew your passport, plan for this extra step. It will delay the other steps in the immigration process.
Extending your passport in Canada
If your passport expires while you are in Canada, you will need to get a new one so that you can renew your immigration documents before they expire. Contact your country’s consulate or embassy in Canada to find out more.
Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] (CAQ)
The first step in the immigration process is to apply for temporary selection ($117) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration [Québec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration] (MIFI). Most international students need a CAQ to study in Québec. However, certain categories of students are exempt.
You have to complete your application for temporary selection online and then submit supporting documents for your application through the Arrima platform.
The processing time for a CAQ application is approximately four weeks from the time the documents are received through Arrima, do not delay in sending them in.
1. Apply online for temporary selection for studies
a) Go to MIFI’s page “Online application for temporary selection for studies” to start your application.
b) Complete the application by following the on-screen instructions.
c) Create your online consultation profile, and save your application. Only applications filled in up to Step 10 can be saved.
d) Pay the processing fee ($117) with a credit card.
e) Receive your customized checklist, the document "Declaration, commitments and authorizations" and the forms that go with the application.
2. Submit supporting documents for your application using the Arrima platform
A customized list of documents to provide will appear at the end of your online application. It will mention the following:
- Signed document "Declaration, commitments and authorizations" and the checklist.
- Photocopy of the identity page of your passport (containing your photo and signature as well as the expiry date and number).
- Proof of your financial capacity (see details below). This is required only if you currently reside in Austria, Canada, the United States, France (including Réunion), Greenland, Hong King, Mexico, Monaco, or Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
- The offer of admission that you received from Université Laval’s Registrar’s Office. If you are enrolled in taking distance-learning courses from outside of Canada, you must provide, in addition to your offer of admission, a letter (dated and signed) explaining your situation as well as proof of enrolment for the current semester and/or for the upcoming semester (available through monPortail for CAN$8). If you have already finished one or more semesters, please also include your transcript (order through monPortail for CAN$9).
For the Arrima platform, we encourage you to visit the following pages to learn how to use it:
- Submitting documents – Application for temporary selection for studies
- Tutorial “Submitting documents” available (in French only) on the site Tutorials – Submitting documents for an application for temporary selection for studies
- Frequently asked questions
Here are a few more details:
- If you already have an Arrima account, you can use that account.
- All documents must have a handwritten signature: Print and sign the document "Declaration, commitments and authorizations" with a pen, scan it, and then send it.
- Some apps, such as Genius Scan, let you scan documents using a smartphone or tablet.
- Make only one PDF file for each type of document that is requested.
- To add a letter of explanation, you must select "Autre type de document" ["Other type of document"] in the drop-down menu in the Arrima upload window.
- Within 48 hours of submitting the application and paying online, you will receive a file number (beginning with "C000") in your online account. It will be at the top of your online application for temporary selection for studies. You will not receive any email notification that you have received the number in your account. So you have to go and check your secure file on a regular basis.
- To create an account in Arrima, you will have to answer authentication questions (last name, first name, date of birth, sex, and file number beginning with "C000"). The information has to be exactly the same as the information provided in your passport and in your CAQ application in order for your CAQ application to be found in Arrima.
- Once you have submitted your documents, you cannot add new ones.
At any time while MIFI is assessing your application, it may ask you for the original or certified true copy of documents you sent in. So it is important to have the original or certified true copy of documents in your possession.
Proof of financial capacity
In general, you must demonstrate that you have financial resources for at least one year—that is, $13,134 to cover living expenses plus enough to cover tuition and health insurance fees.
Depending on your situation, include one or more of the documents below. These documents may be provided by you or the person covering the cost of your studies.
- Recent official confirmation of being awarded scholarships, indicating the length and monthly or annual amounts to be received.
- Recent pay slips, the most recent income tax notice of assessment (specifying annual income), a letter from the employer specifying the salary and the length of employment, etc.
- Bank letter(s) indicating the account balance (including bank address, full name of the account holder, currency, date account was opened, etc.).
- Bank statements from the last three months with current balance.
- Letter(s) from a professor specifying the amounts given as a scholarship or contract and the duration of the financial support offered.
- Recent proof of funds transfer, recent authorization for funds transfer from the currency exchange control office of your country of origin or residence (if the country limits fund transfers).
- If the expenses for your time studying in Québec are being covered by another person (your father, your mother, or a third party): A signed “Declaration of financial support” (using the form provided by MIFI or a personal letter).
You can’t use income from real estate rentals or agricultural crops or other similar sources of income as proof of your financial resources. If your income comes from such sources, use your savings as proof.
Example of a table for calculating annual financial resources (adapt according to your personal situation):
Tuition fees (in French only)
Living expenses (2021)
$18,300 (24 credits)
Keep a scanned and/or paper copy of any documents you submit with your CAQ application. You will need them for your study permit application.
Additional information is available on the website of the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration [Québec’s ministry of immigration, francisation, and integration].
Study permit, temporary resident visa (TRV), and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
The second step in the immigration process for coming to study in Québec is to apply for a study permit ($150) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Before you can apply, you must first receive your CAQ or the CAQ electronic notice of issuance.
The application processing time varies from one Canadian visa office to another. You can check processing times on the IRCC website.
When your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction that you must print and present to the immigration officer when you arrive in Canada. The study permit will be issued at the port of entry in Canada. Before you travel to Canada, make sure you have this confirmation letter and all documents related to your stay in Canada. Check the section “Have these important documents and items ready” on the International Students page for all the details.
Applying for a study permit
You can apply online by creating a secure MyCIC account on the IRCC website.
You can also apply in person at a visa application centre (VAC) or, depending on your VAC, by mail. VACs are independent organizations that act on behalf of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are responsible for receiving applications, reviewing them for completeness, and sending them to the appropriate IRCC office for assessment. There are certain advantages to using VAC services, although there is an associated cost.
- “Application for Study Permit made outside of Canada [IMM 1294]” form
- The form must be validated (with barcodes) in order to upload it. (You don’t have to sign it if you submit your application online.)
- Here are some guidelines to help you complete the form:
- DETAILS OF INTENDED STUDY IN CANADA section
- Box 1: Université Laval address: 2325 rue de l’Université, Québec, G1V 0A6
- Box 2: Enter the number that corresponds to Université Laval: O19359011020 (beginning with the letter O). Then enter your student ID number in the box on the right.
- DETAILS OF INTENDED STUDY IN CANADA section
- Passport: A clear copy of the ID page as well as all pages where there are stamps, visas, or entries
- 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.
- Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] (CAQ) or the CAQ electronic notice of issuance
- Acceptance letter: The offer of admission issued by the Registrar’s Office. If you are enrolled in taking distance-learning courses from outside of Canada, you must provide, in addition to your offer of admission, a letter (dated and signed) explaining your situation as well as proof of enrolment for the current semester and/or for the upcoming semester (available through monPortail for CAN$8). If you have already finished one or more semesters, please also include your official transcript (order through monPortail for CAN$9) or a printout or screenshot of your unofficial transcript on Capsule if you don’t have an official transcript yet.
- Proof of sufficient financial support: See the “Details about proof of financial support” section below for full details.
- Family information
- Student exchange letter (if you are an exchange student): Give another copy of the offer of admission that the Registrar’s Office issued.
Citizens of all countries (except the United States and other minor exceptions) have to give their biometrics.
Important: The biometrics you give for a biometric passport aren’t the same as the biometrics you have to give for your Canadian visa application.
- Pay the biometric fee ($85).
- If you pay the biometric fee when you submit your application, you will receive the instruction letter within 24 hours.
- If you pay the biometric fee after you submit your application, it may take several days before you receive the instruction letter.
- Receive the instruction letter.
- The letter specifies where to go to give your biometrics (within 30 days of receiving the letter).
- Go to an official biometrics collection service point.
- You will need to make an appointment and bring your instruction letter and passport with you.
- You should complete this step as quickly as possible because your application processing time starts only once the biometrics have been collected.
- Pay the biometric fee ($85).
- A medical exam is sometimes required, for example, if you lived in a specified country for more than six months in the last year or if you want to work with certain clients.
- If you have to meet this requirement, you can take the medical exam without waiting for instructions from IRCC. This may speed up how quickly your study permit application is processed.
- Find out if you need a medical exam.
- 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.
See the instruction guide on the IRCC website for help filling out the forms and gathering the required supporting documents.
Specific requirements by country of residence
There may be additional instructions and requirements depending on which visa office you use to apply for your study permit. In your online application, you can upload additional required items in a single PDF to the “Optional Documents” section as “Client Information.”
Please refer to your country’s application package for details. Visa office instructions aren’t available for every country.
If your visa office instructions ask for a study plan, you must include it in your application. See the “Study plan details” section below to help you prepare your study plan. Your study plan will be an important part of IRCC’s assessment of your application.
Details about proof of financial support
You must demonstrate that you have the necessary funds for your first year of studies in Canada and that you are expected to continue to have such funds for the following years without having to work in Canada during your studies. The funds have to cover your living expenses for one year (approximately $11,000 for a single person) plus tuition fees (in French only), insurance, and the cost of travel to Canada. If any family members are part of your application and they would like to join you in Canada during your studies, then the proof of financial support must show that it also covers their living, travel, and other expenses.
If you submitted proof of financial support when you applied for your Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] (CAQ), you can submit the same proof when you apply for a study permit if the proof is recent (no more than approximately 3 months old).
The requirements to prove that you can support yourself financially are generally less strict for students coming from countries that are socially and economically similar to Canada. By contrast, if you aren’t from such a country, you have to focus particularly on the strength of your proof of financial support. You should provide more detailed information on the amounts available and give evidence of where they come from and how sustainable they will be. If this is the case for you, please read the following information to make sure you are properly prepared.
Personal financial resources
If your funds come from your personal savings, you must show that your funds exist and where they come from. For example, it is best to provide bank statements from the past six months that show regular incoming and outgoing funds, rather than just a statement of balance.
If you will continue to be employed in your country while you study in Canada (with or without pay), you should submit a letter from your employer containing the following information:
- Confirmation that you are employed by the organization: your title, years of seniority, role and mandate within the organization, and annual or monthly salary (specify currency).
- Confirmation that you have been granted leave of absence or have been temporarily laid off and that this doesn’t terminate your employment relationship. The organization should also explain why it granted you leave instead of, for example, terminating your employment. In other words, it must explain why it is important to the organization that you remain employed.
- Description of the company or organization: Field of expertise, number of years of existence, number of employees, annual turnover, address, website, etc.
- The smaller the organization that employs you, the more details and evidence you should include to prove that the organization actually exists and that your role within it is important.
If your funds come from a scholarship, you must include an official letter from the scholarship-issuing organization. It must contain a signature, the date, and the organization’s logo, and it must mention the following information:
- your name, the name of Université Laval, and the name of your study program
- the duration of the scholarship
- the scholarship amount (annual or monthly)
- the payment arrangements (if possible)
- the terms and conditions (if applicable)
If your funds come from a guarantor (in other words, if someone other than yourself is covering the cost of all or part of the expenses for studying in Canada), the guarantor must provide the following documents:
- a dated and signed letter of commitment
- proof of income (preferably as salary)
- proof of savings with an explanation of where they come from (bank statements from the last 6 months, etc.)
In addition, if your guarantor isn’t one of your parents (for example, a sister, uncle, friend, etc.), you must include proof of your relationship with this person (birth certificates, family record book, etc.), as well as proof that this person will indeed follow through with their commitment (transfer of funds, a signed and dated letter of explanation, etc.). Ideally, the letter of commitment should be a sworn letter. Your relationship with this person isn’t assumed to be genuine as it is for a biological or adoptive parent.
Payment of tuition fees for your first year of studies
Making a payment to Université Laval that covers tuition for one or two semesters is an excellent way of proving that you can cover the cost of your tuition fees. However, Université Laval doesn’t require you to do this; you will receive your tuition invoice a few weeks after the beginning of each semester.
To make a payment in advance, you have to make an international bank transfer (in French only) to Université Laval. The transfer amount must correspond to your tuition fees (in French only) for two semesters plus the cost of health and hospitalization insurance. You should allow 5 to 10 working days for the bank transfer. Next you should write to email@example.com to request confirmation of the bank transfer.
Study plan details
If providing a study plan is part of the requirements of the visa office that will process your application (see the “Specific requirements by country of residence” section higher up on this page), you must prepare one. A study plan is a two- to three-page letter detailing your educational plans. In a study plan, you must include all the required evidence, if applicable.
In your study plan, you must address the following questions and points:
- Why do you want to study in Canada rather than in your home country?
- Is the program that you want to take at Université Laval available in your home country?
- If it is, how is Université Laval’s program better suited for your career plans (for example, the quality of the program is better, you want to gain specialized expertise, the Université Laval program has a unique component (it has an international, bilingual, or other component), etc.)?
- What are your career plans, and how do your studies in Canada fit into them?
- How will the degree you are pursuing help you integrate into working life?
- If you already have a post-secondary education and are staying in the same field of study, you must explain how this additional degree with improve your employment prospects.
- If you already have a post-secondary education and are changing your field of study, you must explain why you are making the change.
- If you are going back to school after working for a few years, you must explain why you want to go back to school.
- Explain how you believe you have the academic, professional, and financial background to successfully carry out your study plan.
- Explain what factors will ensure that you will be able to find a job and live a comfortable life in your country if you return to your country after your studies.
One of the goals of preparing your study plan and including evidence is to convince the visa officer that you really do want to come to Canada to study and that you have the ability to do so. The visa officer must not be led to believe that pursuing studies is just an excuse to enter Canada so you can pursue other interests.
Ties and returning home
Another goal in preparing your study plan is to demonstrate that you will be able to return to your country after your studies to work and lead a comfortable life.
The legal requirement for this isn’t to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you will leave Canada when you complete your studies, but that this is a realistic possibility for you and that you will be able to go back to your country and lead a successful life there once you complete your studies.
Although there are several immigration programs that enable some international graduates to remain in Canada after their studies, these programs have several criteria which can change over time. Because of this, when you apply for a study permit, it is impossible to know whether you will be eligible to stay in Canada after your studies. That is why you are required to demonstrate that you do have the option of returning and establishing yourself in your country after your temporary stay in Canada for studies is over.
The officer must also be satisfied that you will return to your home country if your plans to study in Canada don’t work out as expected and you have to postpone or abandon your studies.
The legal term that describes the desire to come to Canada as a temporary resident to study, but to stay longer if the legal opportunity arises, is called dual intent, and it is legitimate. However, even if this is your intent and even if you mention it in your study plan, you must still prove to the officer that, if your stay in Canada isn’t extended beyond the duration of your studies, you will leave Canada at the end of your documents’ validity period.
Therefore, it is important to demonstrate that you will be able to find a well-paying job when you return to your home country if you are unable to remain in Canada after your studies. To demonstrate this, you could include letters from potential employers offering you a position when you return or stating that you will have all the necessary qualifications for such a position. You could also submit some available job postings (3 to 5) for jobs that you could apply for after you return. You could also describe how the field you plan to work in offers good job prospects.
If you have other ties to your country, such as property in your name (home(s), land, etc.), family, employment, a business in your name, or shares in a business, you should also add evidence of these things.
In addition, if you have ever legally spent time in the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, etc., and then returned to your home country, you should mention this and provide proof of your travel history.
As a last resort, you can also provide a notarized undertaking stating that you agree to leave Canada at the end of your studies if you aren’t granted permission to stay in Canada longer.
Here is a study plan template that you may find useful.
Student Direct Stream (SDS) – Fast track to a study permit
Citizens of China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, and Vietnam may be eligible to apply for their study permit through the SDS.
Most study permit applications submitted through this program are processed within 20 days. Applications must be completed online using your MyCIC account. To be eligible, in addition to the documents mentioned above, you must provide the following supporting documents when submitting your study permit application:
- Proof of full payment of tuition fees for your first year of studies*
- Proof of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAN$10,000
- Proof of valid language test results (a TEF score of at least 7 or an IELTS score of 6.0 in each language skill)
- Your most recent secondary or post-secondary educational transcripts
- Proof of having completed a medical exam (if applicable)
- A police certificate (if applicable)
For more information, see IRCC’s Student Direct Stream page.
*To prove that you have paid your tuition fees, you have to make an international bank transfer (in French only) to Université Laval. The transfer amount must correspond to your tuition fees (in French only) for two semesters plus the cost of health and hospitalization insurance. You should allow 5 to 10 working days for the bank transfer. Next you should write to firstname.lastname@example.org to request confirmation of the bank transfer. You must then include the confirmation letter in your study permit application.
Temporary resident visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Citizens of all countries except the United States and other minor exceptions have to get a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to enter Canada.
The visa is placed directly in your passport, whereas the eTA is linked electronically to your passport.
Your first application for a study permit made outside Canada automatically includes a visa or an 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.
Internship work permit
Students who have to do a mandatory internship as part of their study program in Canada must get a co-op or internship work permit through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in addition to a study permit. There is no fee for this permit, and you can apply for it when you apply for a study permit. It is best to apply for it before you arrive.
When answering the preliminary questions in the online study permit application, you will have to answer “Yes” to the question “Is work an essential component of your studies?” In your required documents checklist, you will be asked for “Evidence of Work Requirement in Study.” This is a letter from Université Laval confirming that an internship is mandatory for all students in your program and that students have to complete the internship to graduate. You can ask your faculty for this letter. You don’t have to have an internship already set up when you apply.
When you receive approval from IRCC for your study permit application, you will see that the co-op work permit is included.
When you arrive in Canada and show this approval letter from IRCC to the immigration officer, you should receive a study permit and a work permit that is valid for the same length of time.
Refer to the list of documents to present to Canadian customs.
Getting authorization documents for your family members
If you would like members of your family (partner and/or children) to join you while you are studying in Canada, you can apply for their immigration documents when you apply for your study permit. When you are answering the questions for creating your online application, answer “Yes” to the question “Do you want to submit an application for a family member?”
For more information, see the section on Getting authorization documents for your family members.
Students who are minors under the age of 17 when they apply must meet special requirements to be allowed to enter Canada and study in Québec. In Québec, the age of majority is 18.
Certificat d’acceptation du Québec [Québec acceptance certificate] application requirements for underage students
If you are under the age of 17 when you apply for a CAQ, additional documents will be required. You also have to meet one of the following three requirements:
- Apply for emancipation.
Emancipation gives a minor the legal rights of an adult person. If you are a French citizen, you can apply for emancipation before a guardianship judge. However, this emancipation won’t grant you the rights of an adult person in Canada.
- Give parental authority to an adult person residing in Québec.
The person who will act as guardian must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Immigration authorities may require that you live with this person until you reach the age of majority.
- Have one of your parents accompany you until you reach the age of majority.
In this scenario, the non-accompanying parent must sign a declaration of consent for you to reside in Québec with the other parent, and they must provide a copy of an identity document that bears their signature. If you are unable to provide this declaration, you must provide an official document attesting that the accompanying parent has full custody of the child. Also, the accompanying parent will have to include documents to show that they will be staying in Québec (plane ticket, letter signed by the other parent, etc.).
You can find more information about the additional documents required for getting a CAQ on the website of the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration [Québec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration].
Study permit application requirements for minors under the age of 17
As with getting the CAQ, you will have to meet one of the three requirements listed above if you are a student who is a minor under the age of 17. If you are coming to Canada to study without an accompanying parent and you have a legal guardian in Canada, you will have to include the Custodianship Declaration [IMM 5646] (you must download the PDF and save it on your computer to read it with Adobe Acrobat Reader) form with your study permit application and the other supporting documents. The declaration is available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. More information about the Government of Canada’s requirements for underage students can be found on the IRCC website.
Webinar – The immigration process to study in Quebec
Watch our webinar about the key steps to obtain legal authorization to study in Quebec. The webinar took place on April 21, 2021. Please note that it is only available in French.
We encourage international students to regularly visit our web pages about the impact of COVID-19 on international students and planning their arrival in Canada, which are being continually kept up to date.
Please note that information released by the governments of Quebec and of Canada takes precedence over that which is shared in this video and on our website.
Last updated on: 2021-05-13