• Harlan Hu

First-timer: How to save more time at YUL airport

Is it your first time landing in the vibrant and romantic metropolis of Montreal? Are you feeling excited to check out McGill’s campus and mark it on your Instagram story? This is the magical feeling that hits most of us when we come to study in Canada for the first time. But before the social media flex, you have to deal with the the long international travel process at the airport, the careful security checks, and the abundance of forms you need to fill out. The border security screening can be stressful for some of us, but worry not. This blog will introduce you to the airport reception service Accueil Plus, which will significantly shorten your waiting time and provide you with useful information upon arrival as an international student coming to Quebec.


The first time I heard about Accueil Plus was through the International Student Services (ISS) orientation email, a newsletter detailing several events for international students to immerse themselves in the city of Montreal. This service might have gone over my head, so it’s important to read through every email McGill sends to you, as you might find some valuable information.


Accueil Plus is a reception service at the Montreal-Trudeau Airport that offers the following services:

  • Streamlined procedures with the Canada Border Services Agency. This means if you successfully registered, your study permit will be issued in an expeditious manner. In my experience, I followed the Accueil Plus logo at the airport to find the service point, where I followed staff’s instructions. This included checking in with my basic information and the duration of my stay in Canada on a kiosk. The kiosk is in English, or possibly your mother language. My study permit was issued to me within 10 minutes while my friends who took the same flight without registering took more than an hour to pass the border security screening. This is precious time you could be spending exploring the wonders Montreal has to offer!


  • A reception booth for international students in the Arrivals Hall. The booth is staffed by local students who will be waiting there to provide you with information and guidance. This includes a free phone call home to let your family know you’re arrived—a fantastic initiative as international calling rates could be ridiculous before you get a local number.


The services Accueil Plus provide were of great help for me, and I recommend looking into them if you are an incoming international student. In my first year, it was my first time coming to Canada as well as my first time going abroad, so I was pretty nervous about the whole process. I feared losing my documents and being put on hold at the airport for who knows how long. But with Accueil Plus, all I needed was my passport and my study visa. The staff were friendly, and the whole process was smooth. Once I was through immigration, I was ready to start my exciting journey. The first order of business? Finding the nearest poutinerie.


NOTE:

Due to COVID-19, the Accueil Plus team are unable to be present at the airport this fall :( Check in their websites for any updates.


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