Travelling to Canada and clearing Canadian customs
Preparing to enter Canada, gathering the documents to have on hand, and clearing Canadian customs
Prepare for your arrival in Canada
Once you have gotten your Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ – Québec acceptance certificate) and your study permit approval (if necessary), you can prepare for your trip to Canada by planning your arrival date and getting your plane ticket.
Make sure you have all the documents you need to enter Canada as well as health and hospitalization insurance coverage for when you travel and when you arrive in Canada.
Finally, you must meet Canadian COVID-19 requirements. That includes being fully vaccinated (some rare exceptions may apply, for example, if you are under 18). Also, vaccinated travellers must not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, have COVID-19, or show reasonable grounds to suspect they have COVID-19.
To enter Canada, whether it is your first time entering Canada or you are a returning student, you must have these documents with you in your carry-on baggage (not in your checked baggage). In addition of the electronic versions of these documents on your phone or computer, we recommend that you carry with you printed copies of all of them.
Valid study permit or a letter of introduction from IRCC showing that you have been approved for a study permit, unless you are exempt (for example, you are on an exchange for only one semester).
For U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S., although you can apply for a study permit at a Canadian port of entry if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with vaccines recognized in Canada, it is recommended that you apply for a study permit online and that, when you arrive in Canada, you have on hand a letter of introduction from IRCC showing that you have been approved for a study permit.
|CAQ||Valid Québec Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ), unless you have an exemption.|
|Visa or eTA||Depending on your nationality, you have a valid temporary resident visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (except citizens of the United States and other minor exceptions).|
|ArriveCAN||Your ArriveCAN receipt (an ArriveCAN confirmation receipt, or take a screenshot or print your confirmation if you sign in online). You must submit the following information into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before you arrive in Canada: contact details, travel plan, vaccination information, and travel history for the past 14 days.|
|Proof of vaccination against COVID-19||
Digital or printed copy of your proof of vaccination with you. It should include:
Documents must be in English or French. A certified English or French translation accompanying the original documents is acceptable.
See the proof of vaccination page for more information. If you were vaccinated in Québec or if your vaccines have been recognized by Québec, learn how to get your Canadian COVID 19 proof of vaccination.
|Letter of acceptance||Letter of acceptance from Université Laval (printed copy of the email or PDF version).|
|Financial proofs and other documents||Recent financial proofs for your studies and other documents used to obtain your study permit, if applicable.|
|Proof of enrolment||Proof of enrolment for the current semester and/or for the upcoming semester, if available (to order through monPortail, in the section "Documents officiels").|
If you have a letter of introduction from IRCC showing that you have been approved for a study permit and if you had to get an immigration medical exam, you must ensure that your exam results are still valid:
Bring e-medical form, if possible.
|Mask||Non-medical mask or face covering.|
These requirements will be checked before boarding a flight to Canada, and they will be checked again when you arrive at the port of entry in Canada.
However, please note that meeting all of those requirements does not guarantee you entry into Canada. When you arrive in Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will determine whether you meet the various requirements for entering Canada.
Before you arrive, it’s also important that you review information pertaining to health and hospitalization insurance for your stay in Canada on the page Enrolling in the health and hospitalization insurance plan for international students.
Please note that the group health and hospitalization insurance plan through Desjardins Insurance (the one for international students and foreign interns) and coverage with the Régie d’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) [Québec’s public health insurance plan] (the one for students covered under reciprocal social security agreements with certain countries) begin only when you arrive in Québec. Also, when deciding on when to arrive, be aware of the policy start date for the group health and hospitalization insurance plan with Desjardins or the coverage with the Régie d'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), so that you can arrange for personal insurance coverage if necessary.
When you arrive in Canada
When you arrive in Canada, you will have to undergo two identity checks at the first Canadian airport you arrive at. You may be required to undergo a randomized COVID-19 test when you arrive in Canada. However, you won’t have to quarantine while you wait for results.
This first step is normally carried out using automated kiosks. At these kiosks, you will have to answer a series of questions. Once you are done, you will receive a receipt that you will have to take to a border services officer when you leave the secure area.
If you had to provide your fingerprints to obtain your Canadian immigration document, you will have to have them verified at the inspection kiosk.
You will need to show your letter of introduction to get your study permit (unless you are exempt from this) when you first arrive at a Canadian airport regardless of whether it is a stopover airport or your final destination. When you exit the security area, the border services officer will direct you to secondary inspection where your documents will be examined and where your study permit will be issued. You may be asked to show your ArriveCAN receipt as well as your COVID-19 proof of vaccination.
The time it takes to clear customs and immigration to have your study permit issued can vary from 1 to 3 hours or more. It depends on the time of day and the airport.
You must ensure to have obtained your study permit before leaving the Canada Border Services Agency area. Please verify that your personal information appearing on the study permit is accurate and that the mention/comment regarding your right to work is clearly indicated, in case you plan on working here during your stay. It should say something like, “May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria, per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.”. If there is an error, go back to an officer and try to have the information changed.
If you are travelling with family members, make sure they also get their permit (depending on the situation, that might be a work permit, study permit, or visitor record).
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the following information:
- Welcome services organized by the Bureau de la vie étudiantes (BVE - Student Life Office)
- International Student's Handbook
- Informations on housing, Québec City, the values of Québec society, the weather, and more: See the Living in Québec City section of the Student Life Office site
- Vaccination, Québec proof of vaccination, and COVID-19 testing in Québec
- Health guidelines on campus
- Government pandemic directives
The Immigration section of this website is intended to provide general information on current procedures, which may change at any time without notice. The laws and regulations in force in Québec and Canada, as well as the websites of Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration [Québec’s ministry of immigration, francisation, and integration] (MIFI) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), take precedence over this page.
Last updated on: 2022-05-30