International Students

Québec Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAQ)

COVID-19  Students on a one-term exchange program are exempt from the obligation of holding a CAQ for studies. To know whether you need to apply for a study permit, consult this page.  

Update: 10/08/2021

International students whose program in Québec lasts more than six months must be authorized to study by the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI). This authorization takes the form of a CAQ Certificate for Studies and is a prerequisite for obtaining a Study Permit.  

In order to comply with CAQ conditions, you need to make studying your principal activity, and for the duration of your stay, maintain valid health and hospitalization insurance for you and members of your family accompanying you. Not complying with these rules could jeopardize the renewal of your CAQ and consequently, prevent you from completing your program. Note that some categories of CAQ holders do not need to comply with the condition of making studies their principal activity; click here to learn if this exemption applies to you.  

The CAQ for Studies is issued for a level of education (or "cycle") and for a set period. If you are admitted to a Master's program, you need to request a CAQ for 2nd cycle and for a PhD, you need a CAQ for 3rd cycle.

Some students are not required to obtain a CAQ; consult the CAQ exemption list to find out more, and see our section Studying without CAQ or Study Permit.



You need to apply for a CAQ by completing an online form, paying processing fees with a credit card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express; yours or a card belonging to someone you know). You must also have an email address, and have access to a computer with the following technical specifications

Once you have paid for your application and submitted your online form, you will need to send supporting documents for your application via the Arrima platform.  The MIFI provides instructions and online tutorials to assist students in navigating the system. It is essential that you send all documents required by MIFI in a single transmission. In the event that you are unable to do so, you must wait for MIFI to process your application and send you a letter of intention of refusal before you can send any missing documents.

Polytechnique strongly encourages students to use the Arrima system, given that it enables students to:

  • Obtain a personalized list of required documents to complete your application;
  • Avoid any delays or losses incurred through the postal mail system;
  • Track your application’s progress online
  • Download immediately, any correspondence related to your application (CAQ letter of intention of refusal or approval);
  • Submit your Study Permit, and your CAQ for Studies letter, in your online file (as soon as you receive it), without having to wait for it to be received by the CAQ. (You will receive a copy via postal mail).

Note that if you are unable to transmit your supporting documentation via Arrima - once you have begun the process – it will still be possible to send them to MIFI via postal mail, in a single package. If you must use postal mail, ensure you use registered mail. 

You generally need to wait to receive your CAQ Certificate approval letter before applying for a Study Permit. However, some Canadian visa offices (CVO) allow future students to apply before receiving a response about their CAQ certificate. If you believe that you running out of time to obtain all the necessary documents prior to the beginning of the term, find out if you can contact a Canadian visa office, as mentioned above. For more information, please refer to our page about Study Permits.  


Depending on your nationality, you may be asked to demonstrate proof of sufficient financial resources to pay for tuition fees, living expenses, and other expenses for your stay (and proof of financial resources for those accompanying you) when applying for the CAQ Certificate. For more information about the type of proof and minimal monetary amounts needed, see the MIFI website under Financial Capacity. If you are required to offer proof of financial capacity, note you will also need to present proof of financial capacity when applying for a Study Permit.

Note that as of your first year, you are not required to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial capacity for the entire length of your studies. Instead, the MIFI will ask you to prove financial capacity for the first year. However, for CAQ issuance purposes, the agent who processes your application will need to be able to conclude that it is likely that funds will remain available for the duration of your studies. 

Your tuition fees are normally indicated on your letter of admission. If you are an exchange student, immigration authorities will understand that your tuition will be paid in your home country educational institution, thus, tuition fees won’t factor into the calculation of your financial capacity.

If you are a French national, a French-speaking Belgian national, or have obtained an International student exemption of differential fees, immigration will calculate your fees accordingly, upon presentation of your French or Belgian passport, confirmation of your exemption, or confirmation of scholarship.

Each individual that finances your studies and who present proofs of financial capacity on your behalf will need to fill out and sign a "Declaration of Financial Support." This form is automatically generated when you indicate in the online application that someone else will be supporting you financially during your stay in Québec. Only one person can fill out and sign the form, therefore other indiviaduals who support you will have to use separate forms - you will need to send all of these forms to your other documents sent by mail. The form can be downloaded here

If you are a graduate student whose supervisor is able to provide financial support, ensure the letter confirming the annual amount granted is included in your documents. You supervisor does not need to fill out a declaration of financial support.  

Note that bank letters and statements presented as proofs of financial capacity must come personal accounts. Proofs from business accounts or land or property ownership documents are not accepted as financial proof for a CAQ Certificate. 

To find out more about possible financial assistance during your studies, consult our website.


The fee required to process your application is $117 CND (Canadian dollars) as of January 1st 2021. If you apply online, you must pay this fee via credit card; if you use the paper application, the MIFI accepts various methods of payment.


Average application processing time is three to four weeks when the application is complete (i.e. once the MIFI has received your online application AND your accompanying paper documentation, and provided no documents are missing). Mailing times must also be factored into the processing period if you send the complete application or supporting documents by mail.

Ensure you send a complete application and accurate information right from the start. Note that you cannot send documents on separate occasions; if documents or information is missing, you will receive an "intent of refusal" letter, and will then need to send the missing documents. This scenario will result in increased processing delays.   

  1. A CAQ Certificate is issued according to the level (cycle) in which your are studying. Upon receiving your CAQ Certificate, verify that the cycle mentioned is correct, and that there are no other mistakes. The cycle indicated on the certificate must be that which is indicated in your letter of admission to Polytechnique. Should you find a mistake on your CAQ Certificate, please see: Immigration paper loss and/or errors.
  2. Each time you change your level of study, you are required to apply for a new CAQ Certificate - including paying processing fees and providing all supporting documents. For example, if you change from a language school to university, from an undergraduate to a Master's program, or from a Master's to a PhD. For more information, consult the following page: Renewing your authorizations to study in Québec.
  3. If you have already received your CAQ Certificate, and must defer your Polytechnique Montréal admission to another trimester, the MIFI requires that you apply for a new CAQ Certificate, unless you defer your admission from Fall to Winter trimester. Your letter of admission should indicate the trimesters for which the offer of admission remains valid.  
  4. If you have not received your original CAQ Certificate by postal mail at your residence, you will still be able to leave for Canada, provided that you have a) received the letter of approval for your CAQ Certificate, b) received the introduction letter for Study Permit, c) have approval of your application by a Canadian Visa Office. As soon as you arrive in Montréal, you will need to contact the MIFI to request that a duplicate of your CAQ Certificate be sent to your residence. Polytechnique Montréal needs your CAQ Certificate in order to maintain your registration for the term.