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Arriving in Canada

  • Travel restrictions, Students

    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.

    International students can come to Canada if they meet all applicable requirements. These requirements apply to new students and to current students already enrolled in a program of study.

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

    1) Be admitted or already enrolled 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. Have the documents with you that prove your admission to or enrollment in your Cégep, you may be asked for this upon arrival.

    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 had 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.). All students must have a quarantine plan, even if you are fully vaccinated (see “Requirements upon arrival in Canada” section).

    4) Don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. Most students will also need to be tested before coming to Canada (see the “Requirements upon arrival in Canada” section).

    An online tool to help you determine if you are exempt from travel restrictions is available on the Government of Canada website.

    IMPORTANT: Two different scenarios are possible for students whose study stay is less than six months. See our “Newly admitted Students Admitted – Programs of study shorter than 6 months” section to see if you are exempt from travel restrictions.

  • Travel restrictions, family members

    Some immediate family members of students may enter Canada and are exempt from travel restrictions.

    Travel restrictions for immediate family members of students, as well as the documents required according to the different situations, are detailed on the Canadian government website.

    children who are four years of age or younger arriving by land or air are exempt from the requirement to provide a COVID-19 molecular test prior to and upon arrival in Canada.

    To help foreign nationals determine whether they are exempt from travel restrictions and what requirements apply to them, the Canadian government has published an online tool, which we encourage you to consult. However, final determination on entry is made by a Canada border services agent upon arrival.

  • Requirements upon arrival in Canada

    The requirements upon arrival in Canada are different depending on whether you are fully vaccinated or not. If you have any questions regarding these requirements or a specific situation, you can call the Canada Border Services Agency at 1-800-461-9999.

    • Fully vaccinated people

      To be considered fully vaccinated, you must:

      1. have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines: 2 doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines or 1 dose of Jasssen vaccine (Johnson & Johnson);
      2. have received your last dose of the vaccine at least 14 days prior the day you enter Canada;
      3. upload proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN app. Proof of vaccination must be in French or English. If the document is in another language, a certified translation in French or English must be uploaded.

      In addition, you must:

      1. Be eligible to enter Canada and meet all conditions to be exempt from travel restrictions as international students;
      2. Don’t have symptoms of COVID-19;
      3. Provide proof of a pre-entry COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Canada;
      4. Get tested when you arrive in Canada. You can register in advance for your test to save time at the border;
      5. You must have a suitable quarantine plan. It is important to understand that, even if you are fully vaccinated, you must still submit your mandatory quarantine plan through the ArriveCAN app before coming to Canada, as final determination to exempt the person from quarantine is made by a government representative at the time of entry into Canada. You must therefore be prepared to quarantine for 14 days, in case you are symptomatic or you don’t meet the requirements.

      These requirements have been in effect since July 6, 2021 and may change in the coming days and weeks. Visit the Canadian government site regularly to stay informed.

    • People not fully vaccinated

      Arrival by air

      All the following entry requirements apply in this situation:

      1. Provide proof of a pre-entry COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Canada;
      2. Get tested when you arrive in Canada. You can register in advance for your test to save time at the border. You will also be provided with a test kit for later use during quarantine.
      3. Reserve your 3 night hotel stopover prior to your departure for Canada. You must stay there for a period of up to three nights in a government-authorized hotel at your expense, waitig for the result of the arrival test conducted on your arrival. Authorized hotels are located only in 4 Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
      4. Complete your full quarantine. Once you have received a negative result from your arrival test, you could pursue your trip to your destination to continue your quarantine. Unaccompanied minors (under the age of eighteen) are exempt from the compulsory hotel stopover and must go directly to their quarantine location.

      For more information, visit the Canadian government website and the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

      Arrival by land

      All the following entry requirements apply in this situation:

      1. Provide proof of a pre-entry COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to your arrival in Canada;
      2. Get tested when you arrive in Canada if you border crossing offer an on-site testing or follow the instructions of your home test kit provided in the border;
      3. Drive to your quarantine location and isolate yourself for 14 days.

      For more information, visit the Canadian government site and the Public Health Agency of Canada site.

  • Documents required upon arrival

    Several documents are required upon your arrival and will be requested by the Border Services Agency. Consult the “Find out if you can enter Canada” tool for a complete list of required documents.

    In addition to this list, take note of the following:

    1. Letter of admission (new students). If your admission letter is several months old, have proof from your Cégep that your admission is still valid (new letter or written confirmation from your Cégep)
    2. Proof of enrollment (current students). Have with you the documents justifying your enrollment in cégep for the 2021 Winter session and, if possible, for the 2021 Fall session.
    3. Medical exam. Some students are required to complete a medical exam as part of their study permit application submitted from abroad. If this is your case, be aware that medical exam is only valid for a period of 12 months. If your medical exam is no longer valid, you must perform a new one and bring a proof with you (form provided by the designated doctor, receipt, etc.). This requirement applies to new students as well as current students with a valid study permit who have stayed for a period of more than 6 months in the last year in some countries or territories.
  • Quarantaine plan, pre-arrival to Canada

    You must prove your ability to quarantine yourself for 14 days as soon as you arrive at your final destination. The quarantine plan is the student responsibility and is required for all students (not fully vaccinated and fully vaccinated).

    All students must submit their information electronically through ArrivalCAN prior to arrive into Canada. Visit this site to find out how ArriveCAN works

    In order to properly prepare your quarantine plan, consult the Guide for International Students in Canada arriving from abroad, the online “assess your quarantine plan” tool and the Accueil Plus website !

    Cégeps can provide you with information and support, contact your cégep representative if you have any questions !

    Do you have specific questions about the quarantine plan requirements? You can call the Canadian government’s COVID-19 informatoin line at: 1 833 784-4397

  • Quarantaine plan, post-entry to Canada

    If you must be in quarantine the day after your arrive in Canada, you must use ArriveCAN to:

    1. confirm that you’ve arrived at a government-authorized hotel or the address you provided for your quarantine or isolation location
    2. complete daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessments until the completion of your quarantine period or until you report symptoms

    Expect to receive calls, emails, and visits from the Government of Canada verifying your compliance with the quarantine plan. You will receive live or automated calls and you must answer these calls. You may also receive in-person visits from a screening officer at your place of quarantine.

    Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to:

    • 6 months in prison and/or
    • $750,000 in fines

    $ 5,000 fines are also planned in certain cases.

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. 

    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.

    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.

  • 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. Consult the “Arriving in Canada” section to find out if you are authorized to return to Quebec. 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. 

    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.

    You must wait until you have obtained your study permit approval letter before preparing for your return. See the “Arriving in Canada” section for more information.

  • Renewing your immigration documents with a course marked “Incomplete for an Authorized Absence” (IN)

    In the context of the current pandemic, the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur (MES) has softened the rules around courses marked IN. Normally, you would be required to provide specific reasons and supporting documents when applying for an “Incomplete for Authorized Absence”, however, these requirements have been relaxed for COVID-19. The relaxed rules are in effect for the winter 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020, and winter 2021 semesters.

    • Renewing your CAQ for Studies

      All holders of a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for Studies must “make their studies their principal activity.” Respecting this condition means all CAQ for Studies holders must be studying full time. Your compliance with this condition is assessed when you renew your application for temporary selection for studies.

      Though the MES’ rules regarding courses marked “IN” have been relaxed for the stated four semesters, if you have courses marked “IN” on your transcript, you must provide additional documents in your application for temporary selection for studies to justify your situation and to prove that you have respected the condition of “making your studies your principal activity.” In addition to an explanatory letter from you, you must include supporting documents with your application. These supporting documents can be any document deemed relevant by your cégep and should be issued by the admissions or registrar’s office. The decision regarding your renewal application for temporary selection will depend on the supporting documents you provide.

    • Renewing your Study Permit

      From an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) perspective, students at an educational institution in Québec must be enrolled full-time to be considered to be “actively pursuing their studies.” The same supporting documents as those described for the CAQ for studies must be included in your study permit renewal application if you have any courses marked “IN” (Incomplete for an authorized absence).

  • Student CAQ, Submitting Documents Electronically

    Since January 26, 2021, all documents required as part of an application for temporary selection for studies (CAQ for studies) must be submitted on an online basis through the ARRIMA platform. Documents can no longer be sent by post to the MIFI offices in Montréal.

    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.  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.

  • Study Permit, Missing Documents

    In the present context – and as a special exception – IRCC is accepting incomplete study permit applications.

    If you are unable to complete your study permit application (missing documents) IRCC will contact you to request the supporting documents. You will have 30 days from the date of communication to submit the requested information. IRCC may extend the deadline if you have a reasonable explanation that you are affected by COVID-19 (service disruption or health restrictions). You must submit your reasons in detail.

    Special measures implemented for students who are in Canada are intended to allow you to preserve a maintained 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, Biometrics

    Due to public health concerns related to COVID‑19, biometrics collection services in Canada will resume at a later date. 

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

  • Departure from Canada

    Students who are currently enrolled in a program of studies who are outside of Canada or who are considering the option to travel abroad and subsequently want to return to continue their program must take the following elements into consideration:

    1. You will must to meet all of the return requirements described in the “Arriving in Canada” section upon your return.
    2. If you need to renew your immigration documents during your time outside of Canada, read the section “Renewing Immigration Documents – Students Outside of Canada”.

    Travel restrictions and special requirements are in effect in many countries. Check the government websites for your destination country. For students planning to travel to a country of the European Union, we also invite you to consult the specific measures to this region of the world.

  • Work permit for co-op placement

    Given the current processing times for first-time co-op work permit applications within Canada, the IRCC has eased the terms of these applications.

    Exceptionally, if you do not have a co-op work permit and you have submitted your first application in Canada, you can begin your placement using the work authorizations of your study permit. The usual rules for off-campus and on-campus work apply; in particular, you must be enrolled as a full-time student and comply with the limits for permitted work hours. If your co-op work permit application is rejected, you can no longer use the work authorizations of your study permit to continue your placement.

    Please note: If, through your co-op placement, you will come in contact with vulnerable persons, you will have to have completed an immigration medical examination and have no restriction on your study permit prohibiting you from working with these persons.

  • 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.

    A public policy concerning temporary residents (students, workers, and visitors) without status in Canada is actually in force. International students whose Study permit expired or expires between January 30, 2020, and May 31, 2021, will have until August 31, 2021, to request restoration of their status instead of the usual 90-day period.

  • Post-graduation work permit, students outside Canada

    In the current context, the IRCC has eased the requirements for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

    These apply in two possible scenarios:

    • You were enrolled in a study program in March 2020, you left Canada and are continuing your studies from outside Canada.
    • You started your studies outside Canada through distance learning, during any semester from spring 2020 to winter 2021.

    If you are in either of these two situations, the following eased measures apply to you:

    1. Studies completed outside Canada up to December 31, 2021, will be taken into consideration to determine your eligibility for and length of a future PGWP.
    2. You can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada and you will remain eligible for the PGWP.

    Please note: In order to benefit from these measures, you must meet all other PGWP requirements and either have a study permit, acceptance letter for your study permit, or have applied for your study permit before starting your studies outside Canada.

Newly admitted 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 process CAQ for studies and study permit applications.

    If you have submitted a complete study permit application, including biometrics and immigration medical examination results (if required), by May 15, 2021, you should get a decision by August 6, 2021. If you submitted your study permit application without the CAQ approval letter, you must submit this letter by the June 30, 2021 deadline using the IRCC web form.

    If you submit your complete study permit application after May 15, 2021 IRCC will process it as quickly as possible, but some applications take longer to process and may note finalized by August 6, 2021. Check the IRCC’s website to be informed about the processing times.

  • 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. You must also meet all the other requirements detailed in our “Arriving in Canada” section.

  • Student CAQ, Special Measures

    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.

  • Student CAQ, Submitting Documents Electronically

    Since January 26, 2021, all documents required as a part of an application for temporary selection for studies (CAQ for studies) must be submitted on an online basis through the ARRIMA platform. Documents can not be sent by post to the MIFI offices in Montréal.

    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. 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.

  • Study Permit, Incomplete Applications

    In the present context – and as a special exception – 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. Exceptionally, study permit applications can also be submitted without the CAQ for studies, but you must include the proof of submission of the CAQ application with the study permit application.

    When the application will be analysed, the IRCC agent will contact you to request the supporting documents. You will have 30 days from the date of communication to submit the requested information. IRCC may extend the deadline if you have a reasonable explanation that you are affected by COVID-19 (service disruption or health restrictions). You must submit your reasons in detail.

    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

    Some visa application centers (VACs) are temporarily closed due to health measures in different countries. Check the IRCC website to find out if your VAC is open.

    Normally, IRCC allows 30 days to provide the biometric data. If you have missed this deadline, IRCC will contact you and give you an additional 30 days to provide them. When IRCC contacts you, if you cannot meet this deadline for a valid reason, you must provide a reasonable explanation of how you are affected by the pandemic within 30 days of receiving the IRCC request. Examples of valid reasons are the temporary closure of the VAC in your area or the inability to travel there due to travel restrictions related to COVID. If your request for an extension is reasonable, based on the explanation you provided, IRCC will extend the deadline for an additional 30 days. Visit the IRCC website for more details on this procedure.

    IRCC says on its site, “You should not travel to another city or country to obtain the required supporting documents”

    When the biometric data is completed, the processing of the study permit application can continue. The study permit cannot be approved without biometric data provided from abroad.

  • Postponing Admission to the Fall 2021 Term

    Given the current situation, you might postpone your 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 or Winter 2021, you must submit a new student CAQ application to postpone your admission, 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.

  • Post-graduation work permit, students outside Canada

    In the current context, the IRCC has eased the requirements surrounding eligibility for the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) and in determining its length.

    If you are planning on starting your study program from outside Canada for any semester between winter 2021 and fall 2021, the following eased measures apply to you:

    1. Studies completed outside Canada up to December 31, 2021, will be taken into consideration to determine your eligibility for and length of a future PGWP.
    2. You can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada and you will remain eligible for the PGWP.

    Please note:

    • Time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021, will not count towards the length of a PGWP. 
    • In order to benefit from these measures, you must meet all other PGWP requirements and either have a study permit, acceptance letter for your study permit, or have applied for your study permit before starting your studies outside Canada.
  • Programs of Study Shorter than 6 Months

    Students without CAQ for studies and study permit

    Exchange students whose study stay is 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.

    Students with a study permit

    Despite the exemption, you can apply for a study permit. If you submit this request, you are exempt from obtaining a Quebec certificate of acceptance (CAQ) for studies, but the online application will still ask you to attach it. Add a letter to your request explaining that you are an exchange student for a period of less than six months instead of the CAQ for studies. The IRCC online questionnaire will not recognize your request if you answer “temporarily – less than six months” to the question “How long do you plan to stay in Canada?” “. You should therefore answer “temporarily – more than six months” to said question on the online form so that the system directs you to the study permit application. In order to avoid misrepresentation, it is strongly suggested that you explain this answer in an explanatory letter.

    If your study permit application is approved and you meet all other conditions, you may be exempt from travel restrictions. For more details, see the “Arrival in Canada” section.

    Please note: One of the criteria to be authorized to work off campus is to be enrolled in a “program of study is at least six months in duration and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate”. Even if you hold a study permit, you are therefore not allowed to work off campus.

Winter and Summer 2021 Graduating Students

 

  • Maintain a Legal Status

    If you plan on staying in Quebec after you graduate from college, you’ll need to keep a legal status in Canada.

    If you’ll be continuing your studies after college you need to make sure that you have all your student immigration documents in order.

    If you want to work after you graduate from college and are eligible you can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). If you apply from within Canada you need to have a legal status when you submit your application. There are three options:

    • Have a valid study permit
    • Have an implied status
    • Request a visitor record

     

    The process can differ depending on your case. Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for details.

    You can also request a PGWP from outside Canada. If you go that route, you don’t need a legal status when you apply.

    To see if you’re legally allowed to work while your PGWP application is being processed, see the Permission to Work section below.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility

    For the eligibility criteria in the context of the current pandemic, please consult the information in this section.

    • PGWP Eligibility Requirements

      To be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you must :

      1. Have a legal status if you’re applying from within Canada
      2. Have completed a program of studies at a designated learning institution that was at least 8 months long and that resulted in a degree, diploma or certificate
      3. Have kept full-time student status throughout your entire program (except for the last term)
      4. Submit your PGWP application no more than 180 days after receiving your final grades and/or your proof of completion of your program
      5. Have held a valid study permit in the 180 days before you submit your PGWP application
      6. Have completed at least 50% of your program in person in Canada

      Some students are not eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

    • Relaxed Requirements for the Pandemic Context

      Your PGWP eligibility will not be affected if, because of the COVID-19 pandemic:

      1. Your courses were offered online instead of in person. Different conditions apply depending on the length of your program of studies and when it started. Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for details.
      2. You had to stop studying or study part time during the winter or summer 2020 terms. In this case, when you apply for a PGWP we recommend including a letter from your cégep explaining that it was impossible to continue studying or to be a full-time student because of the pandemic.
    • Courses Marked “IN” (Incomplete for an Authorized Absence)

      When an IRCC officer analyzing a PGWP application has doubts about whether the full-time studies requirement has been respected due to a number of failed courses, withdrawals, incompletes, or an extended period of schooling, they may request additional documents in order to assess your application or refuse it outright.

      The full-time registration requirement was relaxed for the winter and summer 2020 semesters. However, as of fall 2020, you must have been registered full-time to remain eligible for the PGWP. In spite of the MES’ relaxations for courses marked “IN” (Incomplete for an Authorized Absence), if you have courses marked “IN” as of the fall 2020 semester, IRCC officers may consider that the full-time requirement has not been met.

      In this case, it is advisable that you include supporting documents in your PGWP application so that IRCC officers can take them into consideration in evaluating your application. That being said, the final decision in these cases remains at the discretion of IRCC officers.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit Length

    A post-graduation work permit is granted depending on the length of the program of studies and can be valid for anywhere from 8 months to 3 years.

    The validity of a post-graduation work permit cannot extend past the passport expiration date of the permit holder. Sometimes in a case like this the PGWP can be extended after the passport is renewed.

  • Permission to Work

    Starting from when you apply online for your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) in Canada, you’re allowed to work full time while waiting for your permit if you meet all of the following conditions:

    • You had a valid student permit when you applied for the PGWP
    • You have completed your program of studies
    • You had the right to work off-campus during your studies (this authorization is included on your study permit)
    • You never worked more than the maximum hours allowed during your studies

     

    If you don’t meet all of these conditions, you have to wait to receive your PGWP before you can start working. For example, if you applied for a PGWP with an implied status or visitor status (instead of a student status), you can’t work until your PGWP is granted.

    IMPORTANT: Working in Canada without authorization is illegal. It is a serious offense that can have major consequences.

  • Expiring Immigration Documents

    The two documents that need to go into your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application to prove that you’ve finished your program are:

    1. An official letter from your cégep confirming that you’ve completed your program of studies
    2. A final, official transcript or a copy of your final transcript from your cégep’s website

    Confirm with your CEGEP when these two documents will be provided to you.

    If your study permit will expire before you get your documents, you have two options. You can

    1. apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer, or
    2. leave Canada and apply for your PGWP from abroad (please check “leaving the Country and Travel Restrictions” below).

    As detailed in the section “Permission to work”, one of the conditions to be authorized to work from the moment you submit your PGWP application online is to hold a valid study permit at the time of submitting the application. If you are submitting your application with a visitor status, you must wait to receive the PGWP before you can start working.

  • How to Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit

    Whether you’re applying from Canada or abroad, you’ll need to apply for your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) online. To see processing times for applications made from within Canada and outside the country, visit the IRCC website.

    In some cases, you can apply with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at a border crossing (point of entry). Important: IRCC instructions state that non-Canadians can apply for a work permit upon arrival at a Canadian port of entry if they are not required to obtain a temporary resident visa (TRV).

    Normally, you must apply online. If you are already in Canada and want to apply at the point of entry, you may need to do a 14-day quarantine if the border services officer agrees to let you return to Canada.

  • Leaving the Country and Travel Restrictions

    If you’ve completed your program of studies and leave Canada, you need to consider the following:

    • Even if you have a valid study permit, you can’t come back to Canada to submit your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application. Since you aren’t studying anymore, you don’t have a student exemption from travel restrictions. You’ll need to apply for your PGWP from outside Canada before returning to the country.
    • If your study permit expires after you leave Canada and you’re eligible for a PGWP, you need to apply for the work permit from outside Canada and wait to receive it before you can return.

     

    In both cases, you should be aware that when you return to Canada you’ll be a temporary worker and not a student. Travel restrictions for workers will apply to you. These travel restrictions may change over the coming months but as of June 2021, several criteria apply, including:

    1. Holding a valid work permit or an IRCC letter of introduction that confirms that your work permit has been approved and will be issued upon your arrival in Canada
    2. Traveling to Canada for essential reasons. This can be demonstrated if you have a valid job offer.
    3. Have a valid immigration medical exam.

    To see the processing times for PGWP applications from outside Canada, visit the IRCC website. You can also stay up to date on travel restrictions for temporary workers on the IRCC website.