Guide 5580 - Applying for a Work Permit - Student Guide - online application

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Most people must apply online.

If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there is a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

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This is not a legal document. The explanations and definitions are not legal definitions. In case of a discrepancy between the language in this document and the relevant legislation or regulations, the legal text in the legislation and regulations prevails.

For legal information, consult the following documents:

Alternative formats

If you can’t apply online or use the forms mentioned in this guide because of a disability, you can ask for other formats including large print and braille. Contact the Client Support Centre (in Canada only) or submit a Web form for other formats.


Application package

This application package has:

  • an instruction guide, and
  • the forms you need to fill out.

The instruction guide:

  • has information you must know before you submit your application, and
  • explains how to fill out the forms and gather your supporting documents.

Read the instruction guide completely and then fill out each of the applicable forms.

The forms are designed with questions that will help the processing of your application.

Symbols used in this guide

This guide uses these symbols to draw your attention to important information:

Required step
What you must do to have your application processed.
Important information

Important information that you need to know to avoid delays or other problems.

Get more information

Where to get more information.

Note: Tips that will help you with this application.

Biometric (fingerprints and photo) requirements

As of December 3, 2019, you need to give biometrics when you apply from within Canada. You can go to a designated Service Canada location.

Find out if you need to give biometrics.

When to give your biometrics

You only need to give your biometrics once every 10 years. You don’t need to give your biometrics again until the 10-year period expires.

If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application for a visitor visa, work or study permit and they are still valid, you don’t need to give them again for this application.

Find out if your biometrics are still valid and when they expire by using the Check Biometric Status Tool.

Where to give your biometrics

You need to book an appointment to give your biometrics at one of these official biometric collection service points.

Before You Apply

Who may use this application guide?

This application guide is designed for international students in Canada who want to apply for a work permit.

This guide provides information on Canada’s work permit programs for international students:

  • Co-op work permit;
  • Post-graduation work permit.

The guide also provides information on your status as an international student in Canada and the conditions and requirements of work permits.

Note: If you hold a valid study permit, your studies should remain your primary activities during your stay in Canada.

What is a work permit?

A work permit is a written authorization to work in Canada issued by an officer to a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. It is required if the employment location is in Canada, whether or not the employer is in Canada. Usually, it is valid only for an employer-specific job, length of time and is based on a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), or an Offer of employment from an LMIA-exempt employer.

Are there any conditions on my work permit?

An officer may impose, vary or cancel conditions when issuing a work permit. These may include one or more of the following:

  • the type of employment in which you may work;
  • the employer for whom you may work;
  • where you may work;
  • how long you may continue to work;
  • the times or periods of work.

What is the co-op work program?

International students may work as part of a co-op or internship program only if work is an essential part of an academic, professional or vocational training program offered by a Designated Learning Institution. To be able to work, students will need a co-op work permit and a study permit.

If the students are eligible, an open work permit can be issued with the institution listed as the employer. In situations where several work periods are necessary throughout the program, the work permit can be issued for the same period as the study permit.

How may I apply for a co-op work permit?

To be eligible for a work permit under a co-op or internship program, the following conditions must be met:

  • you must have a valid study permit and your intended employment must be an essential part of
    • a postsecondary academic, vocational or professional training program;
    • a vocational training program at the secondary level in Quebec; or
    • a secondary level program that requires student to work in order to obtain their secondary or high school diploma or certificate of graduation,
    • offered by a Designated Learning Institution.
  • your employment must be certified as part of the academic program by a responsible academic official of the institution; and
  • your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study; and
  • you are not a medical intern or extern, nor a resident physician (except in veterinary medicine).

International students enrolled in English as a Second Language, French as a Second Language or general interest courses and programs, are not eligible to obtain a work permit under the Co-op Work Permit Program.

Note: International students, scholars, and scientists may also obtain work permits for work related to a research, educational or training program. These work permits are issued under specific programs funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC), Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

What is the post-graduation work permit?

Work permits issued under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allow international students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Students may work in Canada for up to three years after graduation.

May I apply for a post-graduation work permit?

You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

However, to be eligible, your study permit must have been valid within 180 days preceding your PGWP application.

You must also have:

  • completed a study program:
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program (except your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took a leave from studies)
  • graduated from a:
    • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, university, or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
    • private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec, or
    • private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, that leads to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP), or
    • Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province

Find out more about who can apply for post-graduation work permit.

Applying for a post-graduation work permit

You can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) from inside Canada or overseas, as long as you meet the eligibility.

If you plan on staying in Canada and your study permit will expire before you apply for a PGWP, you should change your status to a visitor. You have up to 90 days after your study permit expires to restore your status as a student or you’ll have to leave the country. If you have left Canada after graduation, you can still apply using the Application for a work permit made outside of Canada (IMM 1295). Learn how to apply for a post-graduation work permit from outside Canada.

Are there situations where I would not be able to apply for a post-graduation work permit?

You are not eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program if you:

  • already received a post-graduation work permit
  • studied English or French as a second language
  • took general interest or self-improvement courses
  • participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • had funding from GAC
  • got the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
  • participated in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
  • participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • completed the majority of a study program by distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)
  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada

Does the length of my studies in Canada affect the length of the work permit?

The work permit cannot be valid longer than the official length of your program of study in Canada. For example, students graduating from a four-year degree program might be eligible for a three year work permit. Students graduating from an eight-month certificate program would only be eligible for a work permit of eight months.

  • If you studied for less than eight months
    • you are not eligible for this program.
  • If you studied less than two years but more than eight months
    • you may get a work permit for a period no longer than the length of time you studied (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of nine months).
  • If you studied for two years or more
    • a work permit may be issued for three years.

Important information: The validity period of your work permit cannot exceed that of your passport. Therefore, you should ensure that your passport's validity exceeds the amount of time you are requesting on your application.

When should I submit my application?

You have up to 180 days after you receive confirmation from your school that you’ve completed your study program to apply for a work permit. This confirmation could be a degree, diploma, transcript or official letter from your school.

Note: To be eligible, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days.

May I leave Canada before my request for an initial or renewed work permit has been finalized?

Yes. It is strongly recommended that, at the port of entry, you present documentary proof (copy of application, copy of the fee payment receipt etc.) of your application for an extension as a visitor, student or worker.

For applicants who require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada: The renewal of a study or work permit does not affect your TRV. It is your responsibility to ensure your TRV remains valid if you wish to re-enter Canada. While residing in Canada and holding a valid study or work permit you must apply to the Case Processing Centre – Ottawa for and obtain a TRV, or after leaving, you must apply for and obtain a TRV abroad by applying to a Canadian visa office (see Application for a Temporary Resident Visa).

For applicants who require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada: The renewal of a study or work permit does not affect your eTA. It is your responsibility to ensure your eTA remains valid if you wish to re-enter Canada. While residing in Canada and holding a valid study or work permit you may apply online for an eTA. Visit Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for more information.

Restoration of status

You may be able to restore your status as student within 90 days of losing it, if you lost it because:

You may be able to restore your status as a visitor, student or worker within 90 days of losing it, if you lost it because:

  • you stayed in Canada longer than the period authorized for your stay (but not longer than 90 days).
  • you changed employers, location of employment, or type of work (occupation or level of responsibility) before obtaining a new work permit.
  • you changed the type of studies, educational institution, location of studies, or times and periods of studies without applying to change these conditions on your study permit if they were specified on your study permit.

You may still be eligible for restoration if you continue to meet the initial requirements for your stay and have not failed to comply with other conditions imposed.

If you wish to obtain a new study or work permit and restore your temporary resident status as a student, you must

  • submit your work permit application online within 90 days of losing your status
  • keep meeting the requirements for your stay
  • meet all the remaining conditions listed on your permit, and
  • pay your work permit fees online
  • pay the fee to restore your status as a student ($379). Due to system limitations, you will have to pay the fees online and attach a copy of the receipt to your online application. You do not need to make a separate application to restore your status as a student. Restoration applies to each family member who has lost their status. There is no guarantee that your application will be approved.

Restoration applies to each family member who has lost their status. There is no guarantee that your application will be approved.

An officer will evaluate your request for restoration of status and if approved will process your application for a study or work permit. You will then be advised if any further action needs to be taken.

Note: You may not study or work in Canada until your application for restoration has been processed.

When is a medical examination required?

If you are requesting a work permit to allow you to work in a designated occupation, such as the field of health services or with children, you must complete and pass a medical exam before you submit your application for a work permit. Examples of designated occupations include hospital staff, clinical laboratory workers, patient attendants in nursing and geriatric homes, and medical students admitted to attend Canadian universities. Find out more by checking the Medical examination requirements for temporary residents.

If you want to work in agricultural occupations, a medical examination will be needed if you have visited or lived in a designated country for more than six months during the past year. Check the list of designated countries.

Note: Medical exams should be done at least two months before the current expiry of your permit and intended future employment, to avoid processing delays and the return or refusal of your application due to incomplete information.

Medical instructions

You may either:

  • undergo an upfront medical examination by contacting a Panel Physician; or
  • wait until your application is reviewed and medical instructions are provided to you by the Case Processing Centre.

Get instructions to complete a medical examination.

Note: When medical results are submitted up-front, routine cases benefit from faster processing since we do not have to request them at a later date. This is done at your own cost and does not influence the final decision on your application. If you choose to have an upfront medical exam, you must submit proof that you completed the medical examination with your application. Failure to do so may result in processing delays.

Step 1. Gather documents

What documents are required?

Use the Document Checklist [IMM 5583] (PDF, 1.51 MB) to assist you in gathering the supporting documents to submit with your application.

Note: You will receive a personalized document checklist when you apply online.

Important information

If you do not submit a complete application, your application could be rejected and this will delay the processing of your application.

What must I do to submit my application?

After reading this instruction guide, if you believe you are eligible to apply then you should proceed as instructed below:

Step 2. Complete the Application

Filling out the application

The following are the forms that must be filled out and submitted:

Use the Document Checklist [IMM 5583] (opens in a new tab) to assist you in gathering the supporting documents to submit with you application.

Note: you will receive a personalized document checklist when you apply online

Important information: It is a serious offence to give false or misleading information on these forms. The information you provide on your application may be subject to verification.

Important information

Be complete and accurate

Complete all sections. If a question or a section does not apply to you, write “Not Applicable” or “NA”, except for your name (last name and given name[s]). Refer to questions 1 and 2 under the "Personal Details" section of form IMM 5710 for more instructions.

If your application is incomplete it may be rejected and this will delay the processing of your application.

Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)

Who may use this form?

Fill out this form only if you:

  • are appointing a representative;
  • need to update contact information for your previously appointed representative; or
  • are cancelling a representative’s appointment.

If you have dependent children aged 18 years or older, they must fill out their own copy of this form if a representative is also conducting business on their behalf.

Who is a representative?

A representative is someone who:

  • you have appointed by completing the IMM 5476 form;
  • gives advice, consultation, or guidance to you at any stage of the application process; and
  • has your consent to conduct business on your behalf with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

You are not obliged to hire a representative. We treat everyone equally, whether they use the service of a representative or not.

For more information, see: Use of a Representative.

Notify IRCC about any changes

You must use this Web form to tell us if any information changes regarding the person you authorized to represent you on your application.

Document Checklist – Students applying for a Work Permit (IMM 5583)

Use the Document Checklist (PDF, 1.51 MB) to make sure you are attaching all the required documents to your application.

Note: You will received a personalized document checklist when you apply online.

Step 3. Pay the Fees

Required fees

When you apply online, you’ll be asked to pay a processing fee for each service that you require. All fees must be submitted with your application.

Use this chart to verify the fees required for the services you are requesting.


  • It is not necessary to make a separate application for an extension of temporary resident status when you apply for a work or study permit. The officer will issue all the necessary documentation with one application.
  • There is no fee for the Co-op Work Program.
  • When applying to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, you must pay a CDN$100.00 Open Work Permit Holder fee in addition to the CDN $155.00 work permit processing fee.
Services Number of
Amount per Person Amount Due
Work permit (including extensions) – per person   $155  

Restore your status as a student

Restore your status ($229) and a get a new study permit ($150)

  x $379  
Open work permit holder   $100  
Biometrics fees $CAN
Biometrics (per person) 85
Biometrics (per family) (2 or more people)

Maximum fee for a family of 2 or more people applying at the same time and place


Make sure that you are eligible before you pay your fees and that you provide all the information requested before you submit the application. The processing fee will not be refunded, regardless of the final decision once the Case Processing Centre has started processing the application. For example, if your study permit has expired and you incorrectly apply for an extension of your study permit instead of a restoration, no refund for the extension will be provided and you will have to reapply for a restoration with the correct fees.

Note: If you are out of status, you must pay the permit fee as well as the restoration fee when applying. Restoration applies to each person who has lost their status.

A determination that you are not eligible is considered as “processing” and the fee will not be refunded. If you apply again, you will have to pay another processing fee.

How to pay the fees for your application

To pay your fees online in your account, you must have a valid credit card.

You must create an account to register or sign in using GCKey or Sign In Partner.

Incorrect fee payment

Incorrect fee payments may delay processing of your application.

Payment issue – No fee included

We will return your application.

Note: We will start processing your application after you return your application with the fees.

Payment issue – Not enough fees included

We will return your application and tell you of how much to pay.

Note: We will start processing your application once you return your application with the correct fees.

Payment issue – Overpayment

We will:

  • start processing your application, and
  • send you a refund.

Note: You do not have to ask for a refund, it will be done automatically.

Payment issue –Required biometric fee not included

We will:

  • tell you the fee amount and how to pay it.

Note: We will continue processing of your application after you send the missing fees.


To obtain a refund, you need to send a written request to withdraw your application to the Case Processing Centre.

The processing fee is only refundable if we receive your request before processing has begun. Once we have started to process your application, there will be no refunds regardless of the final decision. We will issue the refund to the person indicated on the “Payer Information” section of the receipt. If there is no name indicated on the receipt, we will send the refund to you.

Note: The process to request a refund depends on how you paid.

Step 4. Submit the Application

If you are applying under the following programs:

  • Co-Op Work Program
  • Post-graduation work permit

Online Instructions

To apply online, you must have:

  • Access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents to upload, and
  • A valid credit card to pay with

You will be required to create a profile and to register or log in using GCKey or Sign In Partner.

What Happens Next?

Processing times for your application

The Case Processing Centre will review your application to determine if it is complete. If your application is not signed or if the required fee is missing, your application will be returned to you and you will have to re-apply.

If your application is rejected as ‘incomplete’, it is considered to have never been submitted and therefore you would not be able to maintain your status. If you reapply after your current status has expired, you will need to apply for restoration of status. See the section Restoration of Status.

If your application is complete, the Case Processing Centre will send you either:

  • a visitor record, a new work permit or a new study permit; or
  • a letter refusing your application; or
  • notification that your application has been referred to a local IRCC centre for further assessment.

The Case Processing Centre processes most of the applications it receives, however, a small number are referred to a local office for further clarification. If your application is referred to a local office, they will contact you to obtain additional information or clarification and even invite you to an interview. It may take up to three months for them to contact you.

Once they receive the additional information or clarification, the local office will complete the final stages of processing and if required, invite you to an interview.

Note: The Case Processing Centre receives large volumes of applications in the temporary resident categories each year. It is recommended that you apply at least 30 days before the expiry of your current document. However, you may want to apply in advance of this recommended period since processing delays vary. Please check our current processing times for more information.

Your responsibilities

Once you receive a work permit you must respect the conditions of the work permit and continue to meet the eligibility requirements of your Student Work Program.

Note: Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the work or study permit or with the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations may result in enforcement action by the Canada Border Services Agency, and negatively affect other future applications you make under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

What must I do if I want to change school or institution?

You must notify us via your account when you are transferring from one DLI to another, even if it is at the same level of study. You must make sure that the school you want to transfer to is on the DLI List.

You need to ensure that you continue to meet the conditions of your study permit, as well as the conditions that allow you to work, if applicable.

What must I do if I no longer meet the requirements of a study work program?

If at any time you become ineligible for the program, you should:

  • inform your employer that you are no longer authorized to work, and
  • surrender your work permit. Visit the Study in Canada webpage for more information.

You may then re-apply at a later date (at least six months later) when you meet the eligibility requirements again.

Factors that can facilitate processing

There are certain things you can do to help ensure that your application is processed as fast as possible:

  • ensure that all the documentation and information requested is provided with your application
  • tell us if your contact information changes, including:
    • mailing address
    • telephone numbers
    • facsimile number (fax)
    • e-mail address

Factors that may delay processing

The following factors may delay the processing of your application:

  • missing signature on application forms
  • missing documentation
  • incorrect fee payment
  • unclear photocopies of documents
  • documents not accompanied by a certified English or French translation
  • verification of information and documents provided
  • a medical condition that may require additional tests or consultations
  • a criminal or security problem
  • consultation is required with other offices in Canada and abroad

Quality Assurance Program

Our quality assurance program randomly selects applications for a special review. If selected you will be asked to attend an interview with an official so that we can:

  • verify the documentation you submitted is accurate,
  • verify that your application has been completed properly.

Note: You will be notified in writing should your application be selected.

Online services

For more information on the programs offered by IRCC, visit our website.


Find out if you are eligible

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