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ALERT: ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT CANADIAN BORDERS

October 21, 2020

On October 2, 2020, the Government of Canada announced several updates to restrictions on travelling to Canada. International students can come to Canada starting October 21, 2020 if they meet all applicable requirements.

To be able to come to Canada as an international student, you must:

1) Be admitted to a cégep whose COVID-19 readiness plan has been approved by the government. The list of institutions with approved COVID-19 readiness plans and able to reopen to international students is published on IRCC’s website. All cégeps are on the list.

2) Have all the immigration documents required for coming to Canada (Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies, study permit approval letter, temporary resident visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation). Note that IRCC has implemented a temporary measure with a two-step process for handling study permit applications. If you have received notification from the first step, be aware this initial notification is NOT a study permit approval letter and you are not authorized to come to Canada. You need to wait for your study permit approval letter.

3) Have a realistic quarantaine plan (where you’ll stay, how you’ll get food, etc.) and adhere to it for 14 days upon arrival at your final destination. The quarantine plan must be presented on arrival. We remind you that severe penalties are provided in the event of non-compliance with the mandatory quarantine. Contact your cégep if you need help with this.

4) Don’t have COVID-19 symptoms.

We also encourage you to get in touch with your cégep’s representative to discuss your arrival and how your program of studies is being taught.

IMPORTANT: Exchange students whose programs are less than six months are exempt from obtaining a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies and a study permit to study in Quebec. If you are in this situation and you do not hold a study permit, you are not exempt from travel restrictions and you are not allowed to come to Canada even if your cégep is on the IRCC list. You may have already obtained an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) or a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), but these documents do not authorize you to come to Canada at this time.

Quebec cégeps can’t wait to welcome you! To make it happen, it’s critical that you respect all the conditions before preparing your arrival. Check our website often. We’re updating it regularly as new information becomes available.

Current students

  • Application Processing

    Even in the context of COVID-19, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), which is the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are continuing to work and to process renewal applications both within Canada and abroad.

    However, some services have been interrupted and processing times can be longer than what is posted on the ministries’ websites.

  • Renewing Immigration Documents (Students in Canada)

    As an international student you must maintain a legal status at all times during your stay in Canada. Read the specific cases detailed in this section to better understand how the special measures affect you.

    Program of studies ending before December 31, 2020:

    If your student Certificate d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ), which is the Quebec Acceptance Certificate, expires between April 30 and December 31, 2020, it is automatically extended until December 31, 2020 (a special measure from MIFI). You don’t need to apply for a new CAQ; you can submit your study permit application online with your expired or about-to-expire CAQ and add a letter explaining your situation. The study permit will be issued up to December 31, 2020, or up to the date your passport expires if that date is earlier than December 31, 2020.

    Have you already applied for a new student CAQ? Be aware that this application will not be processed. You can immediately renew your study permit using your current CAQ. MIFI has indicated that students in this situation will have their application fee reimbursed but that process hasn’t been specified yet. Visit the MIFI website to stay informed.

    Special measures implemented for students who are in Canada are intended to allow you to preserve an implied status. This status has special conditions and will be lost if the student leaves Canada. We encourage you to visit the IRCC website to familiarize yourself with these conditions.

    Program of studies ending after December 31, 2020:

    The MIFI measure extending student CAQs does not apply to you. You must submit a new student CAQ application and then submit your study permit application online. If you have not received your new CAQ before your study permit expires you can submit your study permit application with a proof of CAQ renewal and a letter of explanation. Your study permit application will not be refused but you must remember to send your new student CAQ as soon as you get it, using the IRCC web form.

    Special measures implemented for students who are in Canada are intended to allow you to preserve an implied status. This status has special conditions and will be lost if the student leaves Canada. We encourage you to visit the IRCC website to familiarize yourself with these conditions.

    Exchange Students

    Students who were on exchange in winter 2020 with visitor status (programs of less than six months), whose term was interrupted, and who must make it up in fall 2020 can apply to renew their visitor status. To do this, you need to need to apply for a visitor record and attach a letter of explanation and a letter from your cégep confirming this unusual academic situation. You can use this process if the duration of your program of studies is less than six months (even if the length of your stay in Canada is longer).

    However, if this extension of your exchange causes your program of studies to be six months or longer, you need to apply for a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies as well a study permit from within Canada. You have to have obtained your CAQ for studies and have applied for your study permit to be allowed to enroll in the fall 2020 term.

    No matter what your case is, you need to extend your status in Canada before the expiration date for your stay in Canada as a visitor, which is six months from the first day you arrived in the country. The special measures that have been implemented for students located in Canada are intended to let you keep an implicit status. This status has special conditions and you’ll lose it if you leave Canada. We encourage you to consult the IRCC website to familiarize yourself with these conditions.

  • Renewing Immigration Documents (Students Outside of Canada)

    If your study permit is still valid, you may be exempt from travel restrictions and eligible to return to Canada before your study permit expires.

    To do so you must prove that your return to Canada is for an essential reason (non-discretionary) and you must also present a credible plan for self-quarantining for 14 days. These two elements will be checked by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when you arrive in Canada. It is important to understand that the CBSA agent can prevent you from entering Canada if these two conditions are not respected. Additionally, if you are traveling by air, you will need to pass a health check given by the airline before being allowed to board your flight. Anyone who presents symptoms of COVID-19 will be disallowed from taking a flight to Canada. Another check of your health will be done when you arrive at the Canadian border.

    The Public Health Agency of Canada has published a detailed document that explains the conditions required for the obligatory quarantine plan. Penalties for failing to respect the quarantine plan may include: a fine of up to $750,000; 6 months of prison; and being considered inadmissible (meaning you may not enter or remain in Canada), removed from Canada, and banned from entering for one year.

    If you’re an international student currently outside of Canada and you’re authorized to return to the country, you must renew your study permit upon returning to Canada before it expires.

    However, if your study permit has already expired or if it will expire before you return to Canada you need to apply for a new one from abroad. Here are the two possible scenarios:

    1. Program of studies ending before December 31, 2020:

    If your Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies expires between April 30 and December 31, 2020, it is automatically extended until December 31, 2020 (a special measure from MIFI). You don’t need to apply for a new CAQ; you can submit your study permit application online with your expired or about-to-expire CAQ and add a letter explaining your situation. The study permit will be issued up to December 31, 2020, or up to the date your passport expires if that date is earlier than December 31, 2020.

    Have you already applied for a new CAQ for studies? Be aware that this application will not be processed. You can immediately renew your study permit using your current CAQ. MIFI has indicated that students in this situation will have their application fee reimbursed but that process hasn’t been specified yet. Visit the MIFI website to stay informed.

    At this time, even if your study permit has been approved from abroad, be aware that you are not exempt from travel restrictions. All students who hold a study permit approved after March 18, 2020 are currently unable to come to Canada . These travel restrictions  are currently in effect until October 31, 2020, but they may be extended past this date.

    2. Program of studies ending after December 31, 2020 or new study program

    The MIFI measure extending CAQs for studies does not apply to you. You must submit a new CAQ for studies application and then submit your study permit application online. If you have not received your new CAQ before your study permit expires you can submit your study permit application with a proof of CAQ renewal and a letter of explanation. Your study permit application will not be refused but you must send your new CAQ for studies as soon as you get it, using the IRCC web form.

    At this time, even if your study permit has been approved from abroad, be aware that you are not exempt from travel restrictions . All students who hold a study permit approved after March 18, 2020  are currently unable to come to Canada. These travel restrictions are currently in effect until October 31, 2020, but they may be extended.

  • Student CAQ, Submitting Documents Electronically

    Students can now electronically submit the supporting documents required when they submit a temporary selection request for studies. First you must submit an application for temporary selection for studies and pay the application fees through the MIFI website. Next you must submit the documents required with your application. Until these documents are attached to your application, your file is considered incomplete and inactive. Your supporting documents can be sent by mail or courier to the MIFI office in Montreal, or they can be submitted online through the ARRIMA platform.

    If you choose to submit your application electronically, be aware that you will need to wait 48 hours to obtain your file number. This piece of information, available in your online application profile with MIFI, will then allow you to create an ARRIMA profile and to submit the required documents.

    If you have already submitted your documents to renew your student CAQ, you cannot submit them a second time through ARRIMA in hopes of speeding up your processing time. Only those students who are contacted by MIFI and asked to submit additional documents to their application in progress (for example by a refusal or non-approval letter) can use the new electronic document submission system.

  • Study Permit, Missing Documents

    In the present context – and as a special exception – IRCC is not refusing applications on the basis of non-conformity, which means that IRCC is accepting incomplete study permit applications.

    If a student is unable to attach some of the documents required for the application because of the situation generated by COVID-19, they can submit their incomplete application online and add a letter explaining the reasons why the documents are missing. The application will not be refused despite being incomplete. This special measure also applies to students who usually must include a medical exam for immigration in their application.

    When the application is analysed, the IRCC agent can allow up to 90 days for the student to submit the missing documents. If the first 90-day deadline cannot be respected because of circumstances related to COVID-19, an additional 90 days may be given by the IRCC agent.

    The missing documents must be added to the study permit application using IRCC’s web form. Indicate the study permit application number. When the application is complete it will be processed and, if it meets all criteria, the study permit will then be approved.

    Special measures implemented for students who are in Canada are intended to allow you to preserve an implied status. This status has special conditions and will be lost if the student leaves Canada. We encourage you to visit the IRCC website to familiarize yourself with these conditions.

  • Study Permit and postgraduation work permit, Biometrics

    Due to public health concerns related to COVID‑19, Service Canada closed its centres on March 27, 2020. Although Service Canada is starting to gradually reopen its offices to the public, biometrics collection services will resume at a later date. Recognizing the impact this ongoing service disruption has on applicants in Canada, IRCC has put in place on July 15, 2020 until further notice a public policy to exempt temporary residence applicants applying from within Canada from having to give their biometrics.

    As a temporary measure, you’re exempt from giving biometrics if you’re applying from within Canada for a new study permit, an extension of a study permit or a postgraduation work permit.

    If you are in this situation, do not pay the biometric fee (85$) even if the system asks you to pay when you submit your application. If you have a pending request for which you’ve paid the biometric fee (85$), you do not need to do anything. IRCC will process your application and send you a refund for the biometric fee.

    This temporary measure is only for students in Canada and it does not apply if you’re outside Canada.

  • Returning to Canada

    For the time being, only those international students who hold a valid study permit or whose study permit application was approved on or before March 18, 2020, are exempt from restrictions on travel to Canada. People outside of the country who need to come to Canada for an essential reason and who can do so at this time will be subject to several health checks, both before boarding their flight and upon arrival at the border checkpoint. Also, these people must present a mandatory, credible 14-day quarantine plan to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) upon arrival. More information on quarantine requirements can be found on the IRCC and Public Health Agency of Canada websites. Travel restrictions are in effect until October 31, 2020, and may be extended. Penalties described on the IRCC website apply to individuals who fail to respect their quarantine obligations.

    In this context, students who are currently enrolled in a program of studies who are outside of Canada for the summer and who want to return in fall 2020 to continue their program must take the following elements into consideration:

    1. Even with a valid study permit, a foreigner who is exempt from travel restrictions must prove that their reason for entering Canada is not optional or discretionary. On its website, IRCC specifies certain elements that CBSA considers when determining whether a trip is essential. When a student is already established in Canada, this is, that they have already been studying, settled in Quebec, and must return to continue their program, their trip is considered essential. That said, the CBSA agent may always forbid entry to Canada.
    2. The 14-day quarantine or isolation requirements are in effect until October 31, 2020, and may be extended.
    3. If you need to renew your immigration documents during your time outside of Canada, read the section “Renewing Immigration Documents – Students Outside of Canada” below.
  • Off-Campus Work, Summer 2020

    In many programs of study, the summer is a regularly scheduled break in the academic calendar. To be able to work off-campus full time during the scheduled break, student must usually have been enrolled full-time the previous (Winter) term and be enrolled for the following (Fall) term as well.

    IRCC has confirmed that, as a special exception, students who were already eligible to work off-campus, for whom summer is a regularly scheduled break in the academic calendar, who were enrolled part time or whose studies were interrupted because of COVID-19 in the Winter 2020 term, and who are enrolled full time for the Fall 2020 term may work full time during the Summer 2020 term.

    Note: If you were enrolled part time in Winter 2020 before the term was interrupted this past March, this exemption does not apply to you. If the summer term is not a regularly scheduled break in your academic calendar, students must enroll full time and respect the other eligibility criteria to be authorized to work off-campus. In these cases, the limit of 20 hours/week applies unless the student is affected by the exemption for essential services.

    These flexibility measures on the part of IRCC were implemented to account for the academic upheaval caused by COVID-19. IRCC states on its website that an immigration agent may request additional information from students in their future applications (study permit renewal, post-graduation work permit, etc.) and that, in these cases, cégeps must provide a letter of support describing the impact that COVID-19 had on the student’s academic path.

  • Working Off-Campus in Essential Services

    On April 22, 2020, for certain essential jobs, the Canadian government lifted the restriction that limits international students to working a maximum of 20 hours per week during a regular academic term. This change is in effect until August 31, 2020

    The intention of this public policy was to make the circumstances of foreign students and employers as easy as possible. Public Safety Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic reflects contributions collected across the country and aims to provide the greatest possible flexibility to cover unique needs of each province and territory.

    On June 25, 2020, the Government of Quebec announced the reopening of all economic sectors (with a few exceptions). IRCC was contacted to confirm whether the Government of Quebec abolishing the list of priority services may result in the cancellation of the federal measure of April 22. IRCC has confirmed that the Guidance is the only relevant reference for the temporary modification related to the off-campus work authorization, and not lists which vary from province to province and are expected to change frequently.

    You can contact IRCC directly to discuss your individual situation in order to verify if your job is considered as an essential service. It’s always best to do so using the IRCC web form; that way you can obtain a written answer that you can save. 

    Reminder: If the summer term is a scheduled break in your academic calendar, you are already allowed to work full time if you are eligible to work off-campus and if you comply with the usual requirements

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit, Students in Canada

    To be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), students must meet several criteria. Some restrictions apply for the distance learning courses, where the student’s physical location did not matter. If less than 50% of the program of studies are completed by distance learning the student may be eligible for the PGWP. However, if 50% or more of the program of studies are completed by distance learning the student is not eligible for a PGWP. If the distance-learning courses are completed outside Canada (less than 50%), they must be excluded from the time accumulated toward the length of the post-graduation work permit.

    In the context of COVID-19, IRCC has implemented the following relaxed measures:

    1. If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because of COVID-19 in Winter 2020, you’re still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit.
    2. Students who had to enroll part-time in the winter, spring, and summer 2020 terms because of changes in course offerings at teaching establishments retain their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit.
    3. Study permit holders who are already in Canada and who began a program of studies in May or June 2020 and whose summer courses, from the beginning of their program, have been offered exclusively online, are eligible for a post-graduation work permit. For these cases, the IRCC instructions don’t indicate any criteria concerning the percentage of courses offered online.

    IRCC may require students affected by this measure to include a letter from their cégep describing the impacts that COVID-19 had on their academic path.

  • Post-graduation Work Permit, Students Outside of Canada

    Students who are continuing their program of studies online from outside of Canada remain eligible for a post-graduation work permit if at least 50% of their entire program of studies is completed in Canada. Under normal circumstances, any remote course taken from outside the country are excluded from time accumulated toward the length of a post-graduation work permit.

    However, there is a temporary measure in effect until December 31, 2020. Time spent taking remote courses will not be excluded from the accumulated time that counts toward the length of a post-graduation work permit. This measure applies to students who hold a valid study permit and who had already started their studies in Canada, but who have left and are continuing their studies from abroad.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit, How to apply?

    Normally to submit an application for a post-graduation work permit at a Canadian port of entry (border), you need to hold a valid study permit and be eligible to apply. IRCC’s instructions specify that eligible individuals must be “exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa” to apply for a work permit at a port of entry.

    However, in the current context, and until further notice, it is strictly forbidden to go to the land border to obtain immigration services. All requests must be submitted online.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit and Medical Examination

    If you’ve already completed an Immigration Medical Examination (IME) as part of your study permit application and have obtained authorization to work in fields that require it (for example, healthcare or childcare) you can, in some cases, continue working in these fields after submitting your post-graduation work permit, without having to do another IME. To do this, you need to:

    • Have submitted your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application before your study permit expired.
    • Have respected the conditions of your study permit throughout your program.
    • Not have spent more than six months in certain countries or territories in the year before applying for your PTPD. The list of these countries is available on the IRCC website.
    • Not have restrictions concerning specific employment sectors indicated on your study permit.

    These details were provided by IRCC, but they haven’t been clearly indicated in their instructions and each case could be unique. With this in mind, we advise you to write directly to IRCC using their web form to confirm the possibility of working in fields that require an IME after applying for a PGWP.

  • Restoration of Status

    Temporary residents, including international students, must always maintain a legal status in Canada. If a student loses their status because they did not renew their study permit before it expired, they may, in some cases, apply for restoration of status. Usually, students have a period of 90 days from losing their status to submit an application from within Canada to restore their status. As soon as a student loses their status, they are no longer authorised to work or to study and they must wait for a positive response to their application for restoration of status before they can resume their activities.

    On July 14, 2020, IRCC published a public policy concerning temporary residents (students, workers, and visitors) without status in Canada and announced several relaxed measures. International students whose work permit expired after January 30, 2020, will have until December 31, 2020, to request restoration of their status instead of the usual 90-day period.

Newly admitted students

  • Application Processing and Travel Restrictions

    Even in the context of COVID-19, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), which is the Quebec Ministry of immigration, francisation, and integration, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are continuing to work and process CAQ for studies and study permit applications.

    However, some services have been suspended and processing times can be longer than what’s posted on the ministries’ websites.

    Although applications are being processed and accepted, as long as travel restrictions are in place, the vast majority of students can not come to Canada. All students who hold a study permit approved after March 18, 2020 are currently unable to come to Canada. These travel restrictions are currently in effect until October 31, 2020, but they may be extended past this date.

    Be aware that if in the end you need to take your Fall 2020 courses remotely from outside of Canada because of the situation caused by COVID-19, you will most likely need to provide your student CAQ and your study permit application proofs to be allowed to enroll. Therefore we strongly encourage to you complete your applications as quickly as possible.

  • Who needs a CAQ and a study permit?

    International students who come to study in a program of study that is six months or longer must obtain a student Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ) pour études, which is a Quebec acceptance certificate, issued by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), which is the Quebec ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration. Once the CAQ for studies is issued, international students must obtain a study permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It is the study permit that grants a legal status in Canada.

    In addition to these two documents, most students must also obtain a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA), depending on their country of citizenship. These documents allow you to enter Canada. When you submit an application for a study permit from outside of Canada you don’t have to complete a special form or pay an application fee for these documents. A TRV or eTA will be automatically issued following the approval of your study permit application.

    You must obtain all immigration authorizations before coming to Canada. Given the context brought about by COVID-19, all students who hold a study permit approved after March 18, 2020 are currently unable to come to Canada. Travel restrictions are currently in effect until October 31, 2020, but they may be extended past this date.

  • Student CAQ, Special Measures

    The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), which is the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration, is continuing to process CAQ for studies applications submitted from outside the country, but unfortunately processing times are longer than usual.

    In the current context of COVID-19, MIFI has instituted some special measures. Exceptionally, MIFI is accepting photocopies and non-certified copies of documents in cases where applicants are unable to provide certified true copies. In this case, you also need to provide a letter explaining why you were unable to obtain original documents.

    Students who have already been issued a CAQ to begin a program of studies in the Summer 2020 term and who are obliged to postpone the start of their studies to Fall 2020 do not have to request a new CAQ. This special measure is intended to help students avoid the administrative work of having to apply for a new CAQ. Note that this measure does not change the validity period of CAQs.

  • Student CAQ, Submitting Documents Electronically

    Students can now electronically submit the supporting documents required when they submit a temporary selection request for studies. First you must submit an application for temporary selection for studies and pay the application fees through the MIFI website. Next you must submit the documents required with your application. Until these documents are attached to your application, your file is considered incomplete and inactive. Your supporting documents can be sent by mail or courier to the MIFI office in Montreal, or they can be submitted online through the ARRIMA platform.

    If you choose to submit your supporting documents electronically, be aware that you will need to wait 48 hours to obtain your file number. This piece of information, available in your online application profile with MIFI, will then allow you to create an ARRIMA profile and to submit the required documents.

    If you have already submitted your documents for a new CAQ for studies, you cannot submit them a second time through ARRIMA in hopes of speeding up your processing time. Only those students who are contacted by MIFI and asked to submit additional documents to their application in progress (for example by a refusal or non-approval letter) can use the new electronic document submission system.

  • Study Permit, Incomplete Applications

    In the present context – and as a special exception – IRCC is not refusing applications on the basis of non-conformity, which means that IRCC is accepting incomplete study permit applications.

    If a student is unable to attach some of the documents required for the application because of the situation generated by COVID-19, they can submit their incomplete application online and add a letter explaining the reasons why the documents are missing. The application will not be refused despite being incomplete. This special measure also applies to students who usually must include a medical exam for immigration in their application.

    Given the current processing times for student CAQs, study permit applications can also be submitted without this document, but it is still advisable to include proof of submission of the CAQ application with the study permit application.

    There’s a two-step process for students who submit an incomplete study permit application before September 15, 2020 and who were admitted to a study program beginning in winter, summer, or fall 2020:

    • Step One: Determination of eligibility (letter of admission, Québec Acceptance Certification (CAQ) for studies, financial proof, etc.). If you meet the eligibility criteria, you’ll receive notification from IRCC. It’s a first step but it does not guarantee that your study permit will definitely be approved;
    • Step Two: Admissibility analysis (biometric data, medical examination, etc.) and verification of any changes in eligibility. The study permit application will be accepted or refused after this step.

    When the application is analysed, the IRCC agent can allow up to 90 days for the student to submit the missing documents. If the first 90-day deadline cannot be respected because of circumstances related to COVID-19, an additional 90 days may be given by the IRCC agent.

    The missing documents must be added to the study permit application using IRCC’s web form. Indicate the study permit application number. As indicated on the IRCC website, students who were unable to submit documents due to COVID-19 must answer “no” to the question “Is your application being processed by an office OUTSIDE Canada? “from the web form.

    When the application is complete it will be processed and, if it meets all criteria, the study permit will then be approved. It’s important to understand that the study permit will not be approved until the CAQ and all other required documents have been provided.

  • Study Permit, Biometrics

    Given the current closure of many visa application centres (VACs) abroad, IRCC has extended the deadline for providing biometrics. You don’t have to provide your biometrics until the sites are reopened. This applies to you even if your instruction letter for biometrics collection mentions that you have 30 or 90 days. To see whether the VAC nearest you is open or closed, consult the IRCC website.

    IRCC has also stated that no application will be refused pending submission of biometrics. When visa application centres reopen, students will need to provide their biometrics using the instruction letter they got after submitting their study permit application (a new instruction letter is not required). Once biometrics have been taken, the study permit application can continue to be processed.

    IRCC stated that If you can’t give your biometrics due to a location closure near you or a service disruption, don’t go to another biometrics collection service unless IRCC tell you to. This includes the Canadian ports of entry (border) and other international biometrics collection locations, like a visa application centre (VAC).

  • Postponing Admission to the Winter 2021 Term

    Given the current situation, you may consider postponing your planned fall 2020 arrival in Quebec and instead starting your program of studies in winter 2021. If this is your situation, the first thing to do is to contact your cégep’s representative to see if this is an option that works with your specific program of studies.

    If it is possible, here’s some information that could help you with your immigration documents:

    1) If you already have your Quebec acceptance certificate (CAQ) for studies to begin your program of studies in fall 2020, you should know that it will still be valid for starting your program in winter 2021. A student CAQ is typically valid for the entire duration of your program of studies starting with the term you planned to start your program. Because of this, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to extend your CAQ during your studies. But rest assured that this is doable and that the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) is expecting it.

    2) A letter of introduction for a study permit that has been received for arrival for a specific term will still be valid if you postpone to a later term. No change is required, but be sure to arrive in Canada before the deadline specified in the letter of introduction. A study permit is generally valid until your CAQ expiration date, so it is highly likely that you’ll also have to extend your study permit during your studies. Like with the CAQ, this procedure is doable and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expecting it to happen.

    3) Even though it’s not required by the immigration authorities, it’s always advisable to keep copies of documents that prove the date you arrived in Quebec, like a copy of your plane ticket. It’s also a good idea to check with your cégep advisor to see whether they issue an official document if you postpone your admission. If so, be sure to keep a copy of this document for your future document renewal applications.

  • Postponing Admission to the Fall 2021 Term

    Given the current situation, you might postpone your planned fall 2020 arrival in Quebec and start your program of studies in fall 2021. If this is your situation, the first thing to do is to contact the representative from your cégep and see if this option works with your specific program of studies.

    If it is possible, here’s some useful information about your immigration documents:

    1) If you’ve already gotten your Quebec acceptance certificate (CAQ) for studies to begin your studies in fall 2020, you must submit a new student CAQ application to postpone your admission to the following fall term, according to the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI)’s rules. You’ll need to fill out a new application, provide all the supporting documents, and pay the processing fees again. To do this, you’re going to need official, written confirmation from your cégep confirming that your admission is valid for the fall 2021 term. Along with the usual supporting documents, you’ll also need to include a short explanatory letter (signed and dated) that specifies the reason you’re requesting a new CAQ for studies as well as the term to which you’ve postponed your admission.

    2) If you have already received a letter of introduction for a study permit, rest assured that this letter is still valid in case of postponing to a later term. No change is required, but be sure that you enter Canada before the deadline specified in your letter. A study permit is usually valid until your CAQ for studies expiration date, so it’s highly likely that you’ll have to extend your study permit during your studies. But this process is doable and even expected by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

    If you haven’t already submitted your study permit application, we advise you to wait until you have received your new CAQ for studies for the fall 2021 term before applying for a study permit.

    If your study permit application is pending, you have two options. 1) You can continue the process, but know that the study permit will be issued for up to the expiration date of your current CAQ for studies. It’s highly likely that you’ll have to extend your student permit while you’re studying, but this is doable and even expected by IRCC. 2) You can withdraw or cancel your current study permit application by using the IRCC’s web form and then submit a new study permit application once you’ve received your new student CAQ for a fall 2021 arrival. A reimbursement can be granted if you withdraw your study permit application before it is processed. If the application is already being processed, no reimbursement will be granted, even if you withdraw your study permit application.

  • Distance Learning from Outside of Canada

    Some programs of study can be started remotely from outside of Canada while you wait to be able to come to Canada, but you must first confirm with your cégep if that’s the case for your program. If this option is available, you will very likely have to have submitted your CAQ for studies and your study permit to be allowed to enroll. Because of this, we encourage you to take care of your paperwork as quickly as possible.

    Be aware that you’ll need to attach an official letter from your cégep to your study permit application. This letter must clearly indicate that your program of studies requires your in-person presence in Canada for you to be able to get your diploma. If your entire program is offered remotely, no study permit will be issued. For more details, consult IRCC’s instructions.

  • Programs of Study Shorter than 6 Months

    If your program of study is shorter than six months, you are exempt from obtaining a Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ) pour études, which is the Quebec Acceptance Certificate for studies. However, to enter Canada most students will still need to obtain a temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorisation (eTA), depending their country of citizenship. These documents are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

    As of July 1, 2020, IRCC will once again process online applications for temporary resident visa and electronic travel authorizations, to the extent possible. Applications will be prioritized for those who are eligible to travel based on the current travel restrictions and specific procedures are in place. However, due to current travel restrictions, applicants should keep in mind that, even if they apply and get a TRV or eTA, most people will not be able to travel to Canada at this time. It is highly unlikely that an exchange student would be on the list of exempted individuals. Travel restrictions are currently in effect until October 31, 2020, but they may be extended beyond that date.

  • International Experience Canada (internships)

    In the context of COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented special measures for the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.

    For the time being, rounds of IEC invitations have been suspended. For those who have already received and accepted an IEC invitation, work permit applications are being accepted but not processed for now. No pending IEC work permit application will be closed or refused for lack of supporting documents or inability to complete the application process in time.

    Effective May 8, 2020, and until further notice, the only International Experience Canada (IEC) candidates who border services officers should allow entry to Canada are those who received a letter of introduction and have an offer of employment with an employer who is still operating during the COVID-19 outbreak (because they are allowed to do so under provincial restrictions). Interns must also prove that they are travelling to Canada for a non-discretionary purpose and they have a 14 days mandatory plan to quarantine.

    If a student cannot prove that their offer of employment is still valid or if they no longer wish to come to Canada, they can ask their employer to withdraw the employment offer in the Employer Portal. Once this is done, the compliance fee will be reimbursed to the employer and the International Co-op (Internship) participation fee will automatically be reimbursed to the student.

  • Travel Restrictions

    In the context of COVID-19, the Canadian government has implemented travel restrictions. For the time being, only those individuals who are exempt from these travel restrictions may come to Canada. These measures are in effect until October 31, 2020, but they may be extended.

    Even if your study permit has been approved, if it was approved later than March 18, 2020, you do not have an exemption to travel. For visitors (TRV/ eTA), only a few people are exempt and it is highly unlikely that students are in these categories.

    If your study permit was approved on March 18, 2020, or before you are exempt from the travel restrictions and you are eligible to come to Canada. To do so you must prove that your entry to Canada is for an essential reason (non-discretionary) and you must also present a credible plan for self-quarantining for 14 days. These two elements will be checked by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when you arrive in Canada. It is important to understand that the CBSA agent can prevent you from entering Canada if these two conditions are not respected. Additionally, if you are traveling by air, you will need to pass a health check given by the airline before being allowed to board your flight. Anyone who presents symptoms of COVID-19 will be disallowed from taking a flight to Canada. Another check of your health will be done when you arrive at the Canadian border.

  • Mandatory Quarantine

    Those who are exempt from the travel restriction who are traveling by air must pass a health check given by the airline before being allowed to board their flight. Anyone who presents symptoms of COVID-19 will be disallowed from taking the flight to Canada.

    All individuals authorized to come to Canada must prove that their entry to Canada is for an essential reason (non-discretionary) and must also present a credible plan for self-quarantining for 14 days . These two elements will be checked by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when you arrive at Canada. It is important to understand that the CBSA agent can bar you from entering Canada if these two conditions are not respected. The Public Health Agency of Canada has published a detailed document that explains the conditions required for the obligatory quarantine plan.

    Penalties for failing to respect the quarantine plan may include: a fine of up to $750,000; 6 months of prison; being considered inadmissible (meaning you may not enter or remain in Canada), removed from Canada, and banned from entering for one year.

    The 14-day quarantine or isolation requirements are in effect until October 31, 2020, and may be extended.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit, Special Measures

    To be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), students must meet several criteria. Some restrictions apply for the distance learning courses, where the student’s physical location did not matter. If less than 50% of the program of studies are completed by distance learning the student may be eligible for the PGWP. However, if 50% or more of the program of studies are completed by distance learning the student is not eligible for a PGWP. If the distance-learning courses are completed outside Canada (less than 50%), they must be excluded from the time accumulated toward the length of the post-graduation work permit.

    In the context of COVID-19, IRCC has implemented a temporary measure that is in effect until December 31, 2020. Time spent taking courses remotely from outside of Canada will not be excluded from the time accumulated toward the length of a post-graduation work permit. This measure applies to you if you have submitted a study permit application before September 15, 2020, you have been admitted to a programme of studies that should have begun or should being in the winter, summer, or fall 2020 term, and you started or are starting your program of studies from outside of Canada while waiting to be able to enter Canada to pursue your program.

    IRCC may require students affected by this measure to include a letter from their cégep describing the impacts that COVID-19 had on their academic path.