Arrival information for postdocs



You will find a lot of information on the McGill website about being a postdoc. Most importantly, check the ‘Applying for a work-permit’ and ‘Pre-departure checklist’ sections. Ensure that you apply for the work permit as early as possible as this may take some time. Please note that Postdocs do require a work permit, but do not require a Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec (CAQ). You can include a letter with your application stating this fact if you like, but it is not mandatory. More information about applying for a work permit can be found here.

Make sure you bring the following with you to McGill to assist with registration:

  • Updated CV
  • Letter of offer from your principal investigator (PI)
  • Original copy of Degree or Academic Record, or an original letter issued by your institute’s graduate office stating you have met all the requirements for successful completion for a PhD/doctorate degree.

Check the website above to make sure you have all the documents required, as this will make your registration process easier.

It is advisable to purchase travel/health insurance from the date you depart until the expected date you will start as a student or a postdoc, after which you will be covered by the McGill Post Graduate Student Society (PGSS) policy. Be sure to carry the original letter of offer for postdoc/PhD placement from McGill.

Bring warm clothes if you arriving in winter as it is cold!


Arrival in Montreal


It is suggested that you make arrangements for your (temporary) accommodation before coming to Montreal. This site can be useful.

There are also many backpackers’ hostels in the city that can be used for the first couple of nights.

Places/rooms for rent are advertised daily for free on this website and the McGill website link above also lists other housing websites. Rent is payable by month and so more properties become available from the first of the month. July 1st is a common day for people to move, but accommodation is available all year round. Some leases include electricity/hot water/internet fees in their rent and some do not, so it is a good idea to check whether this is included.


Registration and adaptation to McGill

Firstly, you will need to get a Social Insurance number (SIN) and a Quebec Medicare Card. This should be done as soon as possible after your arrival in Montreal.

Social Insurance number (SIN):

Montreal Downtown/Southwest Montreal Service Canada Centre
Guy-Favreau Complex, Office 034
200 René-Lévesque Blvd West
Montreal, Quebec
Phone: 514-522-4444
Fax: 514-496-5951

You will need the number for the McGill registration procedure. You will need to provide an address that the card can be sent to. If you do not have an address yet, use your work address.

Quebec Medicare Card:
Near Place des Arts Metro Station
Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (Quebec Medicare)
425 boulevard de Maisonneuve Street West, 3rd Floor – Suite 300
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 3G5

They will issue you with a letter that will cover your Medicare needs for the first 3 months of your stay in Montreal – after those 3 months, they will send your Medicare card in the mail. You will get a temporary number you can use for the McGill registration procedure.


McGill Registration

You will first need to sign a Letter of Agreement for Postdoctoral Education. This will be organized with your PI.

Once you have organized your SIN card and Quebec Medicare card (above) you can go to the James Administration building and register to be a postdoc. For a complete list of what you will need to bring, see this document.

You will receive a McGill email address and password. You can use this to log into the student self-service administration network (Minerva). You will also need to go to the Service Point building on McTavish and Sherbrooke and obtain an ID card.


Financial Information

Bank account

To open any bank account you will need a document displaying your new address in Montreal. This can be either a utility bill or a telephone bill, or the original signed lease form. Plus you will need adequate forms of identification (Passport, Credit Card, driving license, etc).



Once you have opened a bank account you can enter your details into your Minerva account (online student file) and your pay will directly deposited into your bank account.

Go to the McGill website. Go to My McGill – Minerva – Employee Menu – Direct Deposit Bank Account.

Before you have set up the direct deposit you should receive a cheque with your salary.


If you are coming with family

If you wish to bring your families to Montreal, it is advised to apply visa/work permit together. Your families will also receive their immigration status (generally visitor status) at the port of entry.

Both CAQ and study permits are required if your spouse wishes to study here in Montreal.

Your spouse may also seek employment and a work permit must be obtained prior to employment. More information can be found here.

If you have a child, he/she can go to an English speaking school (unlike people from Quebec, who have to go to a French school). For school registration, it is advisable to bring your children’s birth certificate(s) bearing both parents’ names.

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