Quick Links

Immigration Procedures for Academic Staff

Temporary Work Permit

On this Page

Regular Procedures (non-NAFTA) | NAFTA: North American Free-Trade Agreement | Spousal Open Work Permit | Specially Designated Categories | Returning to Canada ||

Procedures for obtaining temporary work permits for those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents are described below and in the Deans and Chairs Guide. Once a new staff member has arrived at McGill on a temporary work permit, procedures to obtain permanent residency should be initiated without delay. (See French language requirements.)

Immigration Services

Immigration Services detailed on this page are provided only to tenure-stream academic staff. Details on this page may nevertheless be useful to contract academic staff in determining how to secure appropriate immigration status.

Regular Procedures (non-NAFTA)

(a) Initial Temporary Work Permit

The Departmental or Faculty Office forwards an immigration file to the Immigration Administrator in the Academic Personnel Office. Please contact the Immigration Administrator at 514-398-4205 or by randa [dot] awad [at] mcgill [dot] ca (email) to obtain the necessary forms.

The Immigration Administrator forwards the file to Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) and to Quebec's Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) to request a "Labour Market Impact Assessment" (LMIA) and a "Certificat d'Acceptation du Québec" (CAQ). The Immigration Administrator receives the combined LMIA/CAQ and sends it to the staff member, along with further instructions and a checklist of all documents required to apply for a temporary work permit.

If the staff member requires an entry visa for travel to Canada, he/she must contact the nearest Canadian Visa Office. The Visa Office will issue a Letter of Authorization to work in Canada and the entry visa. The Letter of Authorization becomes an active temporary work permit as soon as the staff member enters Canada. At the Port of Entry, an immigration officer will issue the temporary work permit. The start date will be the date of entry to the country.

If an entry visa is not required, the staff member can apply for the temporary work permit directly at the Port of Entry with all the required documents – including the LMIA/CAQ – at hand.


  • The names of all accompanying family members must be listed on the staff member's temporary work permit.
  • The applicant’s spouse or common-law partner may apply at the same for their own temporary work permit (see Spousal Open Work Permit).
  • A processing fee is required. Current Processing fees are listed on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

(b) Renewal of Temporary Work Permits

The Department or Faculty will be contacted by APO's Immigration Services at least 4 months prior to the expiry date of the staff member's current temporary work permit and requested to provide the necessary documents.

The Immigration Administrator will then apply for an Extended Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a new Certificat d'Acceptation du Québec (CAQ). Once this joint document is issued, it will be forwarded to the staff member with further instructions.

The applicant must complete the renewal application form, available from Citizenship & Immigration Canada's website at Application to Change Terms & Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada, and attach all documents listed in the document checklist (IMM5556).

Processing fees are required.

NAFTA: North American Free-Trade Agreement

(a) Simplified Entry Procedures under NAFTA

NAFTA allows for simplified temporary entry procedures for professionals, including university teachers. The University may employ American and Mexican citizens for temporary periods without filing with the Canadian or Quebec Employment Offices.

NAFTA provisions are restricted to CITIZENS of Canada, the United States and Mexico. Persons who have permanent residency in one of these countries are subject to the regular procedures described above.

Citizens of the USA Citizens of Mexico
Citizens of the USA must have a temporary work permit to work and be paid in Canada, but may not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) nor a "Certificat d’acceptation du Québec" (CAQ). The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows for facilitated entry into Canada using the following procedure:

US citizens may obtain a temporary work permit at the port of entry without prior consular approval provided you have the following documents:
  1. employer declaration; contact the Immigration Administrator for details on obtaining this document
  2. letter confirming eligibility to apply under NAFTA (also called “LMIA exemption”); contact the Immigration Administrator for details on obtaining this document
  3. valid passport
  4. letter of offer for your position at McGill, which includes:
    • the nature of the position offered
    • the arrangements for remuneration (amount per annum)
    • duration of appointment
  5. your letter of acceptance (copy)
  6. educational qualifications or appropriate credentials (original diplomas)
  7. appropriate licensing qualifications, if applicable (e.g., MDs)
  8. curriculum vitae (CV)
  9. marriage certificate or statutory declaration of common-law union, if applicable
  10. children’s birth certificate(s), if applicable
Under NAFTA, Mexican citizens must obtain a visa to enter Canada. Please consult the following website for entry visa requirements.

(b) Renewal of Temporary Work Permits under NAFTA

Temporary Work Authorizations obtained under the NAFTA Agreement may be renewed according to the following simplified procedures:

  • The renewal must be obtained in Canada before the expiry date of the temporary work permit.
  • The applicant must complete the renewal application form, available from Citizenship & Immigration Canada's website at Application to Change Terms & Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada.
  • The following documents are to be attached to the application:
    • a copy of the letter renewing the contract
    • a copy of the acceptance of the offer
    • a copy of the original NAFTA work authorization
    • a copy of relevant passport pages, as listed on the document checklist [IMM 5556]
    • any other document required, and as listed, on the document checklist [IMM 5556]
  • Processing fees are required.
  • The application for renewal can be submitted at a port of entry into Canada.
Spousal Open Work Permit Spouses (including common-law partners) of non-Canadian faculty members may obtain open work permits without having a specific job offer. This allows them to search for work with a pre-approved work authorization in hand.

This provision does not apply to foreign spouses of Canadian faculty members: See the Government of Canada website for more information.
Specially Designated Categories Non-Canadian academic staff falling under the following categories need a work permit, but do not require an ESDC Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) nor a CAQ.

They include:
Category Notes
Visiting Professors
Visiting Professors and/or Scholars who are invited for a period of not more than two academic years AND who retain their position at their home institution. They must have a letter from the home institution confirming their employment and return to work.
Visiting Scholars
Guest Lecturers (more than 6 days)
Guest Lecturers with a contract of less than six days do not need a temporary work permit.
Research award recipients  
Post-doctoral Fellows  
Eminent Individuals (as defined by HRSDC)  
People falling under one of these categories can apply for a temporary work permit directly at a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) visa office or, in the case of citizens who do not require an entry visa, at a Port of Entry. The candidate will be required to present the following documents:
  • proof of citizenship (passport);
  • credentials (original diplomas);
  • offer letter indicating the title of the position, the salary offered, the effective date of appointment, and the duration of appointment.
Returning to Canada Canadian citizens who have been residing and working in another country may return to Canada without undertaking any special procedures provided they have not renounced Canadian citizenship and have proof of Canadian citizenship to present at the port of entry.

A permanent resident must be physically present in Canada for two years in every five-year period.