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Getting Started Resources

This page will help you out with a list of "must-do's" when you're starting out as a Grad Student at Concordia. This should help you get a handle on what you need to do and how to do it. (This also includes instructions for International Students!)



This is priority number 1, you should’ve gotten this, like, yesterday (or last week, since yesterday was most likely Labour Day.) It’s the first and most important piece of ID in the school, it’s your library card, and it’ll help in getting other cards.

Step 1: Make sure you are registered for classes!

Remember, you have to be registered for classes in order to be able to get your ID card made!

You can do so online or you can drop by the Cinema Office (FB-319). (If you are going to go to the cinema office, make sure you do Step 2 and 3 first.)

Step 2: Make sure you have a piece of government photo ID on you.

In order to complete the next step, you'll need one piece of photo identification (e.g. medicare card, driver's license or passport). You'll also need either; your student ID number, your letter of acceptance or class schedule.

Step 3: Look your best!

You're going to be stuck with this ID photo for the next 2+ years, so you might as well make sure you're looking good when you go to have it made.

Step 4: Go to Birks

Once you've got everything you need, head over to Birks Student Services Center (LB Building, Room 185, De Maisonneuve Entrance).


The setup as of writing this, is that you can go to the automated podium and select the Student ID option and wait for your turn.

Alternatively, ask the receptionist and they will tell you what you need to do to get a spot in line.


In the early weeks of the term this may be a fairly long wait, so if you can get this done before the start of term you'll be ahead of the game.

Student IDs


Obviously we like to think only about the fun stuff – classes, conferences, parties – but, as the old adage goes, money makes the world go round. Tuition fees may be soul-sucking, bank-breaking expenses, but they are an inevitable part of going to school. Here are some quick tips on how deal with these pesky things in order to move on to the more exciting parts of the grad experience.

STEP 1: When to Pay?

In a normal year the fee deadlines are at the end of the first month of classes for a term. So Fall Term is September 30th, Winter Term is January 31st, Summer Term is May 31st.

If there are exceptional circumstances (such as a COVID 19 Pandemic), this may be extended and you can check on that here.

If you miss the deadline you will be charged a late fee (as of writing this is 77.50) and you will be charged interest monthly on the amount owing. So it's best to pay on time if you can.

STEP 2: Determine how you want to Pay

The university accepts payment by various online methods, in person at Birks Student Center (when not in a pandemic) or by cheque, though that option is now discouraged.

If you go into Birks to make your payment you can usually pay via debit or credit in person.

If you want to pay online you can pay via online banking available at many Canadian banks, you can register for pre-autorized debit withdrawls through your MyConcordia portal, you can make an online one time credit card payment or for international students you can use a payment portal established by CIBC bank. Exact information can be found here.

STEP 3: Determine what you have to pay

You can check your MyConcordia portal for your tuition amounts if you are paying via a method that doesn't automatically display the amount owing.

This will be found at the following area:
MyConcordia Portal > Financial > Student's Account

This will display what the amount due is per term, which is based on your amount of credits as well as the other student fees. For a more lengthy FAQ on your tuition and student fees you can check here.

There are certain fees you can opt out of, for instance if you already have medical coverage you can opt out of the Health and Dental plan. This is done via visiting the Concordia Graduate Student Union.

STEP 4: How to avoid paying fees if you are not taking classes

You will be charged fees as long as you are enrolled in your program. If, however, you will not be taking any classes during a given term and need that money to finance your spelunking trip, or for whatever other reason, there is an alternative to avoid paying fees for the term.

You have to apply for a leave of absence from the program, which must be approved by the Graduate Program Director. In a leave of absence with access, a $150 flat fee will be charged for the term and you will still have access to the library, university, and student services. In a leave of absence without access, no fees will be charged, but you will not have access to these services.

You can find information about this at the following link.

Tuition Fees


This is a vital aspect of living in Montreal as a student, if you don't intend to drive everywhere. The OPUS card is the STM (Société de transport de Montréal) fare card for the bus and metro system. It also serves as a "registered opus" card, so if you lose the card you can request a replacement and not lose your loaded fares.

As a student, as long as you are under the age of 65, you can get a reduced fare price on the monthly unlimited transit fare. This extended age range is relatively new and there is thankfully a smooth online method for ordering your card, so no more 2 hour long wait lines at the opus card studio at Berri.

STEP 1: Get your Student ID (if you haven't already)

The new online system uses your student ID photo as the photo that appears on your OPUS card, so in order to be able to order the OPUS card you need to wait at least 24 hours from when you had your photo taken at Birks for your ID.

STEP 2: Make sure you have a Quebec address in MyConcordia's Student Center

You must have a Quebec provincial address listed in MyConcordia otherwise the online system won't let you proceed. So if you haven't updated it yet, update it now!

STEP 3: Make sure you are registered for at least 12 Credits

You have to have your registration in before they will let you order the card, specifically you have to have at least 12 registered credits, waitlist courses do not count towards this total.

STEP 4: Order the card

Log in to your MyConcordia account and click on:
Student Services > Online OPUS Card Requests.

You'll follow along with the instructions and at you'll be asked to pay the 15$ card creation fee on the OPUS platform.

STEP 5: Wait for the Mail

Your student OPUS will be made at their central facility and mailed to you, they may provide you an approximate delivery date, but this is usually one or two weeks depending on when you order the card.

OPUS Cards
GET YOUR ACCESS CARD (or reprogram it)


One of the first steps you should take when the term starts is to get your access card (this is separate from your ID card). You access card is an white RFID card with your photo and student number printed on it, which will allow you to access various spaces in the university.

These can include the Graduate Study Space (FB 630) and the associated research labs, as well as the multimedia post-production resources at the CDA / FAAR (EV 10) which can be useful for research-creation excercises.

Step 1: Fill Out the Request Form

The first step in the process is to visit this link and fill out the FAAR access card request form. You first card is covered by the Faculty of Fine arts, and reprogramming the card is free. However, should you lose your card and require a replacement, there is a fee of 20$.

The form is pretty self-explanatory. If you are requesting a new card, select new card (also continue to step 2), if you are reprogramming a card this form is the entire process.

For a first card indicate under the "location your require access to" that you want access to the FB 630 Study Space, when you first request your card.

Step 2: Wait for Evaluation / Go Have Your Card Made

The next step in first obtaining your access card is to wait for the form to be evaluated. You should receive an email once it is approved.

You will then have to go in person to the EV Security Desk. (This is the one situated in the Atrium of the EV building on the corner of Ste-Catherine and Guy.) It doesn't hurt to have the email handy on your phone just in case, but they should be able to find you in their system without it.

They'll bring you into the booth to have your photo taken for the card and they will then print it out for you on the spot.

* Access Card De-Authorization

It is pretty common that sometime in the first month of a Fall term, that the access card system might experience some issues that render cards of some students unusable for a short period of time.

You can contact the FAAR email to enquire should your card stop working all together or just for a specific area.

Access Cards


! 2020 UPDATE !

Concordia has joined the "Quebec Shared Services Platform", this means that Concordia students should be able to access request and borrow items from the 18 partner institutions in Quebec without needing a BCI card, meaning that BCI cards should now only be needed for borrowing out of province.


This will be your favorite thing when everyone is checking out the ONE book on horror and gender (or any other specific topic) from the library come final paper season.


The BCI (Bureau du Coopération Interuniversitaire, formerly CREQUQ) card allows you to borrow books from other Canadian universities (and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec) without having to go through interlibrary loans.


Given the glacial pace of bureaucracy, taking the metro blue line to UdeM beats having to wait for a whole week for a book.

Step 1: Head over to the Library Circulation Desk

All you have to do to pick up your CREPUQ card is head over to the library circulation desk (to your right as you enter the library) with your student ID and ask them for a CREPUQ Card.

Step 2: Do this every year

The one downside is that the CREPUQ card only lasts one year, so every fall semester you'll have to get a new one, just FYI.

* Access

This card will give you access to borrow in person at any affiliated library, subject to restrictions of the individual library.

You can borrow up to three items at at time for a maximum of 14 days. Renewals are not permitted.

BCI Card




As a Concordia student you have access to the Concordia Health Services, who's general page can be found here.


The Concordia Clinic is located at GM 200 (1550 De Maisonneuve W.) it is typically open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. For walk-ins registration begins at 9am, the quicker you get there the sooner you're likely to be seen.

You can ask for an appointment by phone at 514-848-2424 ext. 3565. Normally when booking an appointment by phone you will not get an appointment same day.

The clinic's general page can be found here.


Original Guideline by Juan Antonio Llamas.

Updated in 2020 by Teagan Lance.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Health Services


The International Students Office (ISO) has a handy pre-departure (for Montreal) guide for international students that will walk you through most of what you have to do to get ready for starting your term! So download it below.




Or check out their website.

Intl Handbook
Intl Student Office


This should be your first stop once you arrive in Montreal and have yourself together. The International Student Office will need some documents from you and it will be a great resource for a whole variety of things on campus and when it comes to getting government documents.

The International Student Office is located at GM 330 (1550 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Starting off, there are two documents you must bring in BEFORE THE DNE deadline for course registration.

Step 1: Bring in your Student Permit and CAQ


The office is required to keep a copy of these documents for all international students. If you don't present this to them before the DNE deadline (Sept 18th) they will unregister you from your courses!

Step 2: Get your health card!

Your health card is from Blue Cross and will cover expenses should you have to go to the hospital. This can include; medical charges and consultations by doctors and specialists; pregnancy (only if pregnancy commences after the start date of the health insurance plan); eye examination; psychiatric services; drugs and medicines. You’ve already been charged $782 for the plan, so you might as well have it handy in case you need it.



You can find the events bulletin at this address.

It features information on events geared towards new international students, workshops and information sessions as well as social events lead by the ISO.

Intl Permanent Code


The Quebec government requires all students to have a permanent code with the MEES (Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur), this helps the government fund universities according to their student body.

You can get your permanent code by visiting your MyConcordia portal:
MyConcordia > My Student Center > Personal Information > Code Permanent Data Form

You'll be asked to fill out a list of information as described in this handy tutorial.

You'll also likely need to submit a legible scan of your Study Permit, which is done through the form.

If you don't have your Permanent Code registered, you could be subject to a surcharge of 319.00 dollars (amount subject to change) so you might as well sort this out.

Intl Health Services


So first off, make sure that you'd gotten your health service card from the ISO (International Students Office). More information on that is above in the Visit the International Students Office section.

If you come from a country with an agreement with the Quebec government (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Roumania or Sweden) you can get a Medicare card. We'll cover that below.

General information on the benefits for International Students that are covered under the Blue Cross plan can be found here.



As a Concordia student you have access to the Concordia Health Services, who's general page can be found here.


The Concordia Clinic is located at GM 200 (1550 De Maisonneuve W.) it is typically open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. For walk-ins registration begins at 9am, the quicker you get there the sooner you're likely to be seen.

You can ask for an appointment by phone at 514-848-2424 ext. 3565. Normally when booking an appointment by phone you will not get an appointment same day.

The clinic's general page can be found here.





The information for requesting a Quebec Medicare card can be found at this link. If you acquire a Quebec Medicare card through this method, you can opt in to the Health / Dental plan offered to Canadian Residents by the GSA (Graduate Student Association) information can be found here.


You will need to submit the following information to the "Québec Medicare Office" a.k.a. la Régie de l'Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ).

  1. Proof of insurance / affiliation with the health plan of their home country.

  2. Two pieces of ID (Passport among them)

  3. Original CAQ (Québec Acceptance Certificate)

  4. Proof of Full Time Registration (Attestation available through Birks Student Center, takes up to 5 days, costs 20.00$)

  5. 9$ +tax (for the Photo to be taken on premises)

The Proof of insurance is listed as:

  • Belgium: Form BE/QUE 128

  • Denmark: Denmark Health Card

  • Finland: Form SF/Q 4

  • France**Form SE-401-Q-102 (student registered in a study program leading to a diploma), or Form SE-401-Q-104 (student taking part in a mandatory, unpaid training period), or Form SE-401-Q-106 (student taking part in an exchange)

  • Greece: Form GR/QUE 6

  • Luxembourg: Form LUX-QUE 4

  • Norway: Attestation issued by the HELFO (health administration) or by NAV (Norwegian national insurance scheme for abroad)

  • Portugal: Form POR/QUE 4

  • Romania: Form ROU/QUE 106

  • Sweden: Attestation issued by a competent institution certifying the student's right to healthcare coverage

This will need to be brought in person to the office at the following address.

425 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W., 3rd floor, metro McGill (exit Union Street)


International Students within the Concordia Health Plan can also get additional dental coverage (140,63$) above the compulsory Blue Cross plan through the GSA (Graduate Students Association). Here some information from the International Student’s office web:

If you are interested in having this additional health and dental insurance you must self-enrol at the start of your academic programme before the following deadlines:

Fall: Between Sept 8 - 27th.

Winter: Between Jan 4 - 22nd.

The information on the plan is available on Studentcare here.

Intl Getting a SIN
GETTING YOUR SIN (a short guide)


You will need a Social Insurance Number in order to work within Canada on and off-campus. You can find information about how to get your SIN number on the Concordia website. The SIN number is also required for taxation processes.

You can apply for your SIN once you have signed your contract with Concordia or an employee off-campus. You have to apply for your SIN card in person, in a Service Canada centre. The nearest centre from Concordia’s downtown campus is just 20 min walking distance:

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

  • If you plan to work on-campus you’ll need to bring your passport, your Study Permit and a completed Concordia Employment Contract printed on Concordia’s letterhead that they will give you at the Film Studies office once you sign your contract.

  • If you plan to work off-campus you’ll simply need to bring your passport and your Work Permit.

There is no charge for first-time applications. They will issue your Social Insurance Number right away SIN cards are no longer offered, so make sure that you keep a copy of your SIN number somewhere safe.

Once you get your SIN number remember to send it to the Film Office in order to complete your employee information and start getting paid for your work.

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