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 Montreal 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 Montreal, can I leave the same day for Toronto for example, or would I actually need an address in Montreal? 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 Montreal 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 Montreal 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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