Keystone logo

Study in Montréal: The Immigration Process for International Students in Québec

This Q&A will answer some of the most frequently asked questions, and provide a great starting point for planning your study abroad journey in Canada. 

May 5, 2022

Frequently asked questions by Montréal International

Do international students need a special visa to study in Québec?

International students must hold a study permit to study in Canada.

Can I apply for a CAQ and study permit at the same time?

You must first get a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies before you can apply for a study permit. The processing time for this application is at least one month.

Once you get the CAQ, you may apply for the study permit online. The average processing time keeps changing and is updated regularly on the IRCC’s website. The processing time was 13 weeks in March 2022, just to give you an idea.

Find a program

Want to study in Montréal? Find & compare programs

Will I receive the CAQ and study permit at home or will I get it when I arrive in Canada?

The original Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies mailed to the home address indicated on the application. The study permit application may be submitted along with the letter of approval you will receive electronically.

However, the original study permit is issued upon your arrival in Canada.

A study permit is only mailed for a renewal within Canada.

Are international students allowed to work during their studies?

It is possible to work while studying in Canada. If it is allowed, the study permit should indicate that you are eligible to work off campus. In such case, candidates can work, under certain conditions, up to 20 hours per week during regular semesters and work full-time during scheduled school breaks.

There is also a co-op or intern work permit for students who must complete an internship as part of their curriculum. This permit can only be used for an internship.

Can international students work in any field?

The co-op work permit allows students to work in any field except for jobs requiring a medical examination (e.g. working with children or in the healthcare field).

Are international students allowed to hold several jobs?

Yes, as long as they comply with the maximum working hours allowed.

Can international students stay in Montréal after completing their studies?

Yes, but they must ensure they maintain a valid status.

Can international students work immediately after earning their diploma/degree?

If students are eligible for a post-graduation work permit, they can work immediately after applying for their post-graduation work permit.

Do international students need to have a job to apply for a post-graduation work permit?

No, since it’s an open work permit and not employer-specific.

How long is a post-graduation work permit valid?

From eight months to three years, depending on the length of the study program.

Do I need to speak French to obtain my permanent residence?

Not necessarily. An international student could obtain permanent residence without being able to speak French if the student:

  • scores enough points in Québec’s selection grid for the regular skilled worker program.
  • receives an invitation to apply, the candidate could obtain a Québec selection certificate (CSQ). Once the international student receives the CSQ, the student can apply for permanent residence.

However, having French proficiency increases one’s chances of obtaining a Québec selection certificate.

What is a Québec selection certificate (CSQ)?

Québec selects all skilled workers who want to obtain permanent residence and reside in the province. A selected candidate would obtain a Québec selection certificate (CSQ), allowing him or her to apply for permanent residence.

An Inspiring Place to Learn

Want to learn more about what it's like to study in Montréal? This section tells you what you need to know about student life in Montréal, from learning French to festivals and activities held in the city, as well as Montréal's world-famous food scene.

A Multicultural Metropolis for International Students

Montréal is one of the most diverse cities in North America. With people from all over the world living there, Montréal is vibrant and exciting, and home to a great range of schools. Find out more about all this in this section.

A Range of Programs with Promising Prospects

With great opportunities for work and internships during and after your studies, programs in Montréal have promising prospects for your future career. Find out more about that in this section.

Study in Canada

Want to find out more about what it's like to study in Canada? Click here to find out what you need to know about studying in Canada.

A Montréal International Student Interview

Want to learn more about opportunities to stay in Montréal after graduation? This section introduces you to a Q&A session with Hasti, an international student from Iran who is staying in country at the end of her Master's degree.

The Immigration Process

Already decided to study in Montréal? Find out everything you need to know about study permits and the immigration process for international students in Québec.

Why Montréal? A graduate's perspective

This interview with Wanda, a recent graduate from Concordia University, sheds light on the various opportunities for international students in Montréal after graduation.

Keystone Team


The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.