Do I Need a CAQ to Study in Quebec?

Published on: July 20th, 2023
Last updated: April 4th, 2024

Quebec Immigration is unique as it is the only province that has the autonomy to select its applicants through economic immigration programs. Quebec study permits are no exception, with Quebec having its own unique process for acceptance to study in the province.

Quebec, attracting over 90,000 international students annually, accounts for 12% of all international students in Canada, marking it as a sought-after educational destination. However, those considering Quebec must be aware of unique processes and requirements differing from other Canadian provinces. While most students will require a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec or a CAQ, it’s important to note that not all do. Continue reading to discover which students need a CAQ and which do not. For those who do require it, learning the CAQ process is crucial for successfully pursuing your studies in Quebec.

What is a CAQ?

The Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) is an essential document for international students planning to study in Quebec, a primarily French-speaking province in Canada. Issued by Quebec’s Ministère d’Immigration, de Francisation et d’Intégration (MIFI), the CAQ serves as authorization for their stay and is a prerequisite for many temporary resident programs, including educational ones.

Its primary function is to screen and select international applicants who wish to study and possibly work in Quebec, ensuring they attend a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and have the financial means to cover their tuition and living expenses for the duration of their studies.

International students who aim to enroll in study programs in Quebec for more than six months must first apply online for a CAQ, followed by a study permit from the Federal Government of Canada. Both the CAQ and the study permit are mandatory steps in obtaining a student visa for Quebec.

Do All Students in Quebec Need a CAQ?

Study programs less than six months in duration do not need to apply for a CAQ. This also includes language courses under six months.

Students applying for a program lasting longer than 6 months will first need to apply for a CAQ. This includes a number of programs such as Bachelor’s degrees, graduate diplomas, master’s degrees etc. This is an extra step compared to other provinces in Canada which do not have this requirement. Foreign nationals will only be eligible to submit for their study permit after they have obtained a CAQ.

Does my CAQ Allow me to Work in Quebec as an International Student?

As an International student holding a Canadian study permit, your coursework will be your main priority. However, if you are a full-time student studying in a program longer than 6 months, you can also choose to work up to 40 hours per week in addition to your studies.

Part-time students may also qualify to work during their studies. You must meet all of the requirements of a full-time student. In addition, you are studying part-time only because you are in the last semester of your study program and you don’t need a full course load to complete it, also you were a full-time student during your Canadian program up until your last semester.

International students choosing to work in Canada have the option to work either on-campus or off-campus depending on their permit. Working on-campus allows you to find a job at your school, such as in the library, the cafeteria, etc.

The second option is working off campus. You would be eligible to work off-campus if you meet all the requirements laid out by the Canadian government. This allows you greater freedom when choosing where you want to work. It can also be beneficial for students by allowing them to get a greater range of roles. This will give them experience in positions that could be beneficial for their careers after graduation.

If you are unsure if you are allowed to work off-campus, or about your specific working restrictions, it is best to consult your study permit. In addition to the resources on the Canadian government’s website, an immigration lawyer can also help you to navigate your permit and restrictions as well.

Contact a Study Specialist

Is a Study Permit Different From a CAQ?

While a study permit and a CAQ are often confused, they are two different documents. A CAQ is first needed to then be able to apply for your study permit. Both of these documents are mandatory to study in Quebec and each has its own requirements and processes.

A CAQ  is granted by MIFI – Québec Ministère d’Immigration, de Francisation et d’intégration. MIFI is a government department operated by the province. A study permit however is issued directly by the government of Canada.

Can I Apply for Study Permit Without CAQ?

No. If you are planning to study in the province of Quebec, it is not possible. You must follow this process:

  1. Begin by checking this section to determine if you need a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ): Do All Students in Quebec Need a CAQ?
  2. If your program requires a CAQ, proceed with the main steps in the exact order:
    1. Obtain your Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from the institution where you intend to study.
    2. Apply for your CAQ through the government of Quebec, ensuring you upload your LOA in the application.
    3. Apply for your Study Permit with the federal government of Canada. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will require both your LOA and CAQ.

It’s crucial to note that if you are planning to study in Quebec, applying for a Study Permit without obtaining a CAQ first is not possible. It is mandatory to complete the Quebec-specific steps before proceeding with the federal application.


If you are planning to come and study in one of the cities within Quebec’s province, but you are unsure which option is best for you, we can help! Complete our free student assessment and an academic counsellor from our International Student Program department will contact you to discuss your options.

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