Jump to content

US Permanent Residents/Citizens--Canadian Study Permit


Recommended Posts

So, I just did Part I of the online McGill international student orientation last week, and was advised that it is easier for students who are citizens or permanent residents of the US to apply for their Study Permit at the point-of-entry, with no prior application or letter from the visa office needed (just your proof of citizenship or permanent residence, letter of admission, proof of funding, and CAQ). Which makes sense, except I can't seem to find a step-by-step guide to how this works while at the border. I'll likely be entering Canada by car, and everything I've read either assumes you're coming by plane and/or that you're coming from somewhere where you need to have a temporary visa and a letter from the visa office.

If any current or former US students who've done grad programs in Canada could walk me through what your study permit application process was like, that would be great (especially if you also came by car). Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I just did Part I of the online McGill international student orientation last week, and was advised that it is easier for students who are citizens or permanent residents of the US to apply for their Study Permit at the point-of-entry, with no prior application or letter from the visa office needed (just your proof of citizenship or permanent residence, letter of admission, proof of funding, and CAQ). Which makes sense, except I can't seem to find a step-by-step guide to how this works while at the border. I'll likely be entering Canada by car, and everything I've read either assumes you're coming by plane and/or that you're coming from somewhere where you need to have a temporary visa and a letter from the visa office.

If any current or former US students who've done grad programs in Canada could walk me through what your study permit application process was like, that would be great (especially if you also came by car). Thanks!

1) Congrats! 

2) I did the application online at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/mycic.asp. It was really straightforward, and it cost something like $120. 2 weeks later my application was approved, and I printed the approval letter. At the border I showed the officers my approval letter, and they then issued me a physical student visa--stapled into my passport. I recently received an e-mail about union issues and how this might effect visa application wait times, so you might want to go ahead and apply online. I am now living in Canada: getting to know both the country and my program. I stressed hard over the visa, what crossing the border would be like, etc, and It all turned out to be super easy. I even catalogued each and every book I was bringing, estimated their values (over 1000 titles), and arranged this list alphabetically (as the website says to make a list of everything brought). It turns out all they wanted was a hand-written short list approximating quantities and qualities... Total time at the border was under 20 minutes... I hope this helps in some way. To affirm your angst: the guidelines are extremely ambiguous!

Edited by Troppman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, it's hard to find information about how exactly applying for your study permit when you drive across the border works, but it's actually really simple. Here's how crossing from NY into Ontario worked:

 

-Tell immigration officer at the drive-up booth that you need to get a study permit. They'll write down your license plate on a form, hand it to you, and direct you to park and go into the building.

 

-Inside, give them all your paperwork. In my case, this was my acceptance letter, US passports for me and my wife, our marriage certificat  , and  my funding letter (which stated that the university was giving me enough to cover tuition and what Ontario requires for living expenses). For Quebec, I presume you need you CAQ at this point, as well.

 

-Wait while they process the paperwork. It took about half an hour to get a study permit for me and a work permit for my wife at a busy border crossing in the middle of a Saturday in August. If you're trying to cross on a summer Friday or Sunday, it will probably take longer. Both permits were stapled into our passports and are good for four years.

 

-Go over to a different window and pay the fees for the permits. 

 

-At some point in there we gave them a list of all our belongings that we had arriving later with a moving company and had them stamp that. This is very important if you are having stuff arrive after you, because we need that stamped list to clear your stuff through customs later. This list was pretty generic, and just said things like 20 boxes of books, 6 boxes of dishes, 1 bedframe and mattress, 3 crates of decorations, etc. with approximate values that we pretty much completely made up.

 

-We had another paper with us listing everything we had in our car at the time, including serial numbers for our electronics. We weren't asked for that list or for proof of rabies vaccination for our cat and nothing we had in our car was inspected. I have no idea if our storage cube of things that came over later was inspected or not. I know my advisor moved from the US to Montreal for grad school about 10 years ago, and when he drove a UHaul with all his stuff across the border, they opened it to make sure the contents matched the inventory list. 

 

-If you're importing your car, i.e. registering it in Quebec while you're a student, there will probably be more paperwork you need to fill out at the border.

 

Hope this helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread has been a big comfort, especially given the current visa worker strike.  This is the same advice I was given by my school, but I heard it here first! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will be driving to Victoria, BC from NY and will also be applying for my study permit at the border, as it seemed a lot faster and easier than waiting the 6-9 weeks processing time. Like you, I have found very little information online and so I called the border immigration office in Buffalo, NY to inquire. The guy told me that you can just show up with all of the documentation, pay the fee, and then you're good to go. 

To be ultra careful, I also asked whether it would be an issue given that I will be bringing 3 friends with me on my trip (they will drive cross-country with me, help me set up, and then leave). He said there would be absolutely no problem as long as they have documents saying they will be leaving (e.g., a plane ticket).

 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Does anyone know if this is still the case in 2014 with all the new changes being made with Study Permits?

Hey! Yes, this is still the case. US citizens can get their Study Permits at the border. I just printed a hard copy of the study permit application to use as a guide. On the YUL airport website, there are some generic instructions for international students arriving, but I haven't come across any detailed instructions. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh thanks so much for this answer. I never realized my question was answered till I checked just now!

Another quick question.

 

I am moving to Montreal, (Concordia Uni.) and I need to know if it is possible to as an American, to come into Canada and Quebec on my passport and apply for the CAQ once I am here.

 

My school took till just this week to get the funding package together, so I doubt I will get the CAQ before I leave, August 1st.

 

Is it wise to leave for Montreal before I have it?? Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To religionproof-

I am exactly where you are, I haven't been able to buy a plane ticket yet because I just got my funding letter which still has to be sent to me (that I need to still send for the CAQ app)! I was advised by the ISO office at Concordia to obtain the CAQ first, but that it is possible to get a temporary study permit at the border without it (but it depends on who you get in customs). She also informed me to at least print out that I have started the CAQ application process if I do decide to take that risk. I have been very confused about the whole process, hopefully the CAQ doesn't take too long to obtain! Good luck with everything.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Oh thanks so much for this answer. I never realized my question was answered till I checked just now!

Another quick question.

I am moving to Montreal, (Concordia Uni.) and I need to know if it is possible to as an American, to come into Canada and Quebec on my passport and apply for the CAQ once I am here.

My school took till just this week to get the funding package together, so I doubt I will get the CAQ before I leave, August 1st.

Is it wise to leave for Montreal before I have it?? Thanks!

Oh Geez! I don't know about that. It is my understanding that you must have your CAQ prior to coming to Quebec. The entire CAQ process from app to receipt is about 4-5 weeks. I would def contact your International Student Services Office (or equivalent) and get guidance from them.

I just had an issue where the Quebec Govt only approved my CAQ for 3 years, but my program lasts for 4. When I received notification from my school that I was required to produce immigration documents that covered my entire stay, I emailed the school and asked if i could come anyway and clear it up later. They didn't explicitly state that it was not permitted, but it was apparently a problem. Thank God, someone at my school was awesome enough to contact the Quebec government to have my CAQ re-issued. Craziness!

Hope this helps. Good luck and keep us posted!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.