Temporary Foreign Worker Program and International Mobility Program: Applying at a visa office before entry

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

A foreign national may apply for a work permit at any time before entering Canada as per section 197 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

As per ministerial instructions 62 (MI62), all applications for a work permit submitted for foreign nationals who are outside Canada at the time of application must be submitted using electronic means—meaning they must apply online. The following are the exceptions to the requirement to apply online:

  • foreign nationals who are outside Canada and who are unable to apply online, including for reasons of a disability, and require accommodation for the use of electronic means
  • foreign nationals in possession of an identity or travel document described in R52(1)(c) issued by a country, that does not prohibit travel to Canada, that the foreign national may use to enter the country of issue and that is of the type issued by that country to non-national residents, refugees or stateless persons who are unable to obtain a passport or other travel document from their country of citizenship or nationality or who have no country of citizenship or nationality
  • foreign nationals applying for a work permit and intending to perform work under an international agreement or arrangement between Canada and one or more countries concerning seasonal agricultural workers

The following persons cannot apply on entry to Canada [subsection R198(2)]:

  • all persons who require a temporary resident visa (TRV)
  • all persons who require an electronic travel authorization (eTA)
  • all persons who require a medical examination, whether TRV-required or visa-exempt, unless valid medical examination results are available at the time of entry
  • international youth exchange program participants other than US citizens or permanent residents, (exemption code C21) (see International Experience Canada)
  • seasonal agricultural workers

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