If You Immigrate To Quebec (4/10)

The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

The Cana­dian Par­lia­ment In Ottawa

Wel­come to my new series, “How to immi­grate to Canada“!

I recently received quite a lot of emails, ask­ing me ques­tions about the immi­gra­tion process. So I decided to explain the whole process in 10 posts, which will be pub­lished every Saturday.

I also encour­age you to ask any ques­tion you may have. I’m not an immi­gra­tion con­sul­tant, but from expe­ri­ence, I may be able to point you to the right direction!

In the series, we will see the dif­fer­ent options you have to come to Canada, as well as your rights and duties as a Per­ma­nent Res­i­dent, what hap­pens after you arrive etc.

In the last two arti­cles, I reviewed the two most com­mon ways to immi­grate to Canada: through the skilled worker cat­e­gory, and through the spon­sor­ship cat­e­gory. But what if you want to set­tle in Que­bec? Things are a lit­tle bit different.

Que­bec is a province of Canada. As such, it shares immi­gra­tion laws with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of Canada. How­ever, the province signed an immi­gra­tion accord with Canada. Que­bec is respon­si­ble for select­ing the work­ers wish­ing to set­tle in Que­bec, to achieve cer­tain immi­gra­tion objec­tives. But the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of Canada is still respon­si­ble for admit­ting the immigrants.

So what does it mean for a prospec­tive immi­grant who wishes to set­tle in Quebec?

It means that as a prospec­tive per­ma­nent res­i­dent in Que­bec, you will have to fol­low two major steps:

  • Being selected by the provin­cial gov­ern­ment of Que­bec. Your edu­ca­tional and work back­grounds will be assessed, as well as your abil­ity to inte­grate into Que­bec. You will need to apply for and obtain a CSQ.
  • Being accepted by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of Canada. It is respon­si­ble for your med­ical exam­i­na­tion and your secu­rity check. It will grant you per­ma­nent res­i­dence if you are successful.

If you apply in the skilled worker cat­e­gory and wish to set­tle in Quebec

The first thing you need to know is that Que­bec is dif­fer­ent than the other provinces. The most obvi­ous dif­fer­ence is lin­guis­tic in nature: the offi­cial lan­guage in Que­bec is French, not Eng­lish and French. The pop­u­la­tion is 80% fran­coph­one, and even though they are some Eng­lish com­mu­ni­ties, the impor­tance given to French is huge.

The gov­ern­ment of Que­bec empha­sizes the fact that the province has a very dis­tinct cul­ture. Indeed, you need to research the spe­cific of Que­bec before you con­sider set­tling there.

You may want to start with a gen­eral idea of Quebec’s core val­ues. Don’t for­get to research the job mar­ket: Cana­dian laws may be dif­fer­ent in Que­bec, where cer­tain pro­fes­sions and trades are reg­u­lated, which means your cre­den­tials may not be rec­og­nized. Finally, get the facts about daily life in Que­bec.

The impor­tance of French can­not be stressed enough, as it is both a prac­ti­cal and a polit­i­cal issue. You may need to speak both French and Eng­lish in some posi­tions, but knowl­edge of French is almost a pre-requisite. Que­bec also has language-laws requir­ing kids to attend school in French in most cases. Polit­i­cally speak­ing, let’s just say it’s a touchy issue…

Like if you were set­tling in other provinces, you need to be selected as a skilled worker. There are also a cer­tain num­ber of cri­te­ria and a pass mark. You can eval­u­ate your chances of being selected online for free, with the Pre­lim­i­nary Eval­u­a­tion for Immi­gra­tion.

The most impor­tant cri­te­ria are:

  • Edu­ca­tion
  • Work expe­ri­ence, espe­cially acquired train­ing and occu­pa­tional skills
  • Knowl­edge of French, or will­ing­ness to learn the lan­guage. Eng­lish is an asset.
  • Age: ide­ally, the younger the better!
  • Finan­cial capac­ity: you must show that you can sup­port your­self for the first few months fol­low­ing your arrival in Quebec
  • Your immi­gra­tion project

If you pass the pre­lim­i­nary test, you can pre­pare your application.

  • Down­load the appli­ca­tion for a CSQ, fill in all the paper­work and pay the fees.
  • Your appli­ca­tion will be reviewed and assessed by a Bureau du Que­bec. An inter­view is some­time required. The inter­viewer will check your cre­den­tials (edu­ca­tion, degrees, work expe­ri­ence…). He may test your knowl­edge of Que­bec, your lan­guage skills and ask about your immi­gra­tion project.
  • You can check the pro­cess­ing time for a CSQ, it depends on the coun­tries where the Bureau du Que­bec is located.
  • If your appli­ca­tion is accepted, it will be for­warded to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of Canada, which will assess your med­ical back­ground and do the secu­rity check.

If you apply in the spon­sor­ship cat­e­gory and wish to set­tle in Quebec

You will have to sub­mit your spon­sor­ship appli­ca­tion to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment of Canada, as described in this arti­cle.

But, since you will set­tle in Que­bec, you must add two extra steps.

How much does the CSQ cost?

For the prin­ci­pal appli­cant, it cost CA$390. For the spouse and each depen­dent child, it’s CA$150.

Note that if you immi­grate as a fam­ily, each per­son must apply for a CSQ, regard­less of if you will be work­ing or not (i.e. even kids need their CSQ).

To the cost of the CSQ, you still have to add the cost of apply­ing for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Canada.

What if I wanted to set­tle in Que­bec and changed my mind?

Whether you apply to live in Canada or in Que­bec, the result is the same: you obtain, if suc­cess­ful, the per­ma­nence res­i­dence in Canada. Sure, the two processes are a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, but your per­ma­nent res­i­dent card is the same.

Hav­ing the per­ma­nence res­i­dence in Canada gives you the right to live and work any­where you like. There­fore, even if you apply for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Que­bec, no one can force you to stay there.

How­ever, when apply­ing for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Que­bec, you do declare that you wish to live in Quebec.

What if I applied for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Canada and want to set­tle in Quebec?

Well, that is a bit more dif­fi­cult… which is kind of weird actu­ally. Per­ma­nent res­i­dents in Que­bec can move wher­ever they want, but per­ma­nent res­i­dents in other provinces have to take sev­eral steps to live and work in Que­bec, even though they have already immigrated.

You must sub­mit an appli­ca­tion for a CSQ (even if you are already a per­ma­nent res­i­dent in Canada) and pay the fees. Then, you will likely have to come back for an interview.

What if you applied for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Canada but will land in Quebec?

In a word: don’t. Yes, it may be eas­ier for you for what­ever rea­son, but it’s a big pain.

If you land in Que­bec but have proof on onward travel to another province (plane con­nex­ion, bus or train ticket), you are fine.

If you don’t, the immi­gra­tion offi­cials will very likely refuse to val­i­date your land­ing doc­u­ments. You will have to sub­mit an appli­ca­tion for a CSQ and pay the fees, and have an inter­view. If suc­cess­ful, you will have to have the doc­u­ments val­i­dated… before that, your travel doc­u­ments may be confiscated.

So basi­cally, if you apply to live in Que­bec, arrive in Que­bec, if you apply to live in other provinces, arrive wher­ever you want but in Quebec.



About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Hi Zhu,

    First of all, thank you so much for shar­ing your knowl­edge on the Cana­dian immi­gra­tion. I’ve come across your site when I was des­per­ately look­ing for an answer to my immi­gra­tion questions.

    My sit­u­a­tion matches what you’ve described in the sec­tion: What if I applied for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Canada and want to set­tle in Quebec?

    In fact, I’ve already received my entrance visa and Con­fir­ma­tion of Par­ma­nent Res­i­dence (CPR). My orig­i­nal des­ti­na­tion was Van­cou­ver, BC, but my part­ner and I are now plan­ning to immi­grate to the Province of Que­bec. We are in the process of obtain­ing CSQ, but we have not received it yet.

    My con­cern is that the let­ter I have received states that in order to set­tle in Que­bec, I will need to have a CSQ that is valid on the date when the entrace visa got issued.… obvi­ously that is not our case (because we are still wait­ing for CSQ). So, I am not sure what I should/can do. I have waited for this visa and CPR for such a long time (5 years)… so I def­i­nitely don’t want to miss this opportunity.

    To com­pli­cate our sit­u­a­tion, we are plan­ning a two-week trip to Mon­tréal this April just to see things. In April, we may or may not have our CSQ, which could be issued between now and then, but not before our visa got issued…

    So what do you think we can do in order to safely enter the coun­try when we land in Mon­tréal in April? If we have not received CSQ by then, from I read in your post­ing, we sholuld have a train/plane ticket to go out of Que­bec so that the immi­gra­tion offi­cer will think that we are going to set­tle some place else other than Que­bec. Then we will re-enter in Canada with our par­na­nent res­i­dence sta­tus with CSQ… If we have received CSQ by then, we should show it to the immi­gra­tion offi­cer although it got issued after the CPR hop­ing that he will let us enter the country…

    What do you think? Any com­ment would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    • I com­pletely under­stand the sit­u­a­tion and your ques­tion. Unfor­tu­nately, I don’t have a per­fect answer because this is a bit of a grey area. When granted per­ma­nent res­i­dence, PR can set­tle wher­ever they want in Canada. How­ever, as you know, Que­bec has the CSQ require­ment. At the time, I did some research myself because I may have worked in Québec (which is 10 min­utes from Ottawa) and no one could give me an answer. Most peo­ple admit­ted that they had never seen that issue before. Weird.

      I’m afraid to give you bad advice here, and I don’t want to add more prob­lem! Did you con­tact the Québec immi­gra­tion peo­ple? I know get­tin a CSQ takes time these days.

  2. Hi Zhu,

    are you sure that a per­son that have applied for que­bec wont have prob­lems if he/she moves to another province?
    Do you know peo­ple on this con­di­tion?
    I am very wor­ried about that. I applied through que­bec i have the CSQ. I am wait­ing for the fed­eral process (med­ical and security)to be fin­ished.
    I started my process in march 2010. I got the CSQ in Oct. 2010. At the same time that I applied for immi­gra­tion i aaplied for uni­ver­si­ties in dif­fer­ent provinces includ­ing Que­bec to do my PhD.
    And recently I was accepted to study in an Uni­ver­sity out­side o que­bec. Do you think that would be unfair?
    Should I con­tact the immi­gra­tion office to let them aware of the sit­u­a­tion or what is stated in the Chart of rights and free­don true, that I can live, work, study any­where in Canada with a PR.
    And about this: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2010/ob251.asp, what do you think? Can that hap­pens to me?


    • You can live, work and study any­where you want in Canada, there­for you should have no prob­lem land­ing in Que­bec and then mov­ing to another province. I know many peo­ple who did it before you.

      The link you included appar­ently refers to the Provin­cial Nom­i­na­tion Pro­gram, which is totally dif­fer­ent. If you are in the skilled worker cat­e­gory, you’ll be fine.

  3. Hello Zhu!

    I’m still check­ing out all my options, but I’ll prob­a­bly start my immi­gra­tion process through Que­bec because, for the moment, I do not ful­fill all the require­ments needed to apply directly on the fed­eral level. How­ever, I’m not quite sure that I want to live in Que­bec after­wards.
    My ques­tion is, if I land in Mon­tréal, can I leave the same day for Toronto for exam­ple, or would I actu­ally need an address in Mon­tréal? Does the whole process of land­ing con­sist only of putting a stamp in your pass­port or there are some more things to be done dur­ing the fol­low­ing days?
    Also, if I land in Toronto with a Que­bec immi­gra­tion visa, what are the chances of the offi­cer say­ing to me that I am at the wrong port? Will they refuse to “land” me?
    It gets com­pli­cated due to the lim­ited time frame, as I won’t be offi­cially quit­ting my job before I land in Canada. What I had in mind is doing the whole land­ing process in a week dur­ing my hol­i­days, com­ing back to Europe to fin­ish up what­ever I have here and then going back again to set­tle.
    I know, it’s com­pli­cated 😀 but, do you think it’s pos­si­ble?

    • I know for sure that if you immi­grate through Que­bec, you can land in Mon­tréal and leave the same day for Toronto. As a per­ma­nent res­i­dent, you live wher­ever you want in Canada so even if you “signed up” for Que­bec you can live right away. Land­ing is a fairly straight­for­ward process, you just need to leave an address to receive your PR card and it can be out­side of Que­bec. It will take more than a week to receive your PR card though, I’d say about a month from mem­ory. If you are from Europe you don’t need a visa to come to Canada as a vis­i­tor (most of the time any­way) so re-entering Canada should be easy.

      Now on the other side I’m not sure you can land in Toronto if you went through the Que­bec process. I heard sto­ries where it went just fine and I heard peo­ple say­ing if was a big mess.

  4. Hi Zhu!

    I am plan­ning to immi­grate to Canada as a skilled worker, but because my pro­fes­sion is not in the list, I will apply through Quebec.

    I am really not plan­ning to set­tle in QC because most of the job oppor­tu­ni­ties for me would be in Alberta.

    So, if I landed in Mon­tréal and left to Alberta right after, stayed and set­tled there in Alberta, what will be my sit­u­a­tion after 3 years when apply­ing for the citizenship ?

    I know there is some dec­la­ra­tion to sign that you are intend­ing to set­tle in QC. Will this make a prob­lem for me in get­ting the citizenship?

    I heard that in such case I might be accused of lay­ing in the appli­ca­tion form. Please advise.

    Thank you.

    • As a per­ma­nent res­i­dent, you can live, work and study wher­ever you want in Canada. You do not have to stay in Que­bec even if you immi­grated through the Que­bec process.

      How­ever, if you declare you will go straight to Alberta dur­ing your immi­gra­tion inter­view, you may have issues.

      • Hello Zhu!

        Thanks a lot for your answer.

        I still need clar­i­fi­ca­tion, please bear on me :)
        Is it true that I have to sign the dec­la­ra­tion on my land­ing that I will set­tle in QC?

        If yes, will I have to inform the immi­gra­tion about any change of my set­tle­ment plan in case I moved to another province?

        Thanks again.

        • Sorry, no idea. I didn’t immi­grate to Que­bec myself. My under­stand­ing is that you sign an agree­ment but it doesn’t really havea legal value.

  5. hello
    i found ur page infor­ma­tive
    i have some doubts.…do we need to show funds if we intend to immi­grate to quebec…we dont have any arranged employ­ment
    our sponser said we need to show 4000 dol­lars liq­uid cash when we land in que­bec. is that enough or do we need to show bank statements?

    • Hi,

      It depends under which cat­e­gory you are immi­grat­ing. If you are a skilled worker, yes, you must show some funds when you enter.

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