Determine your eligibility — Work after graduation
If you graduated from a designated learning institution, and want to stay in Canada temporarily while working, you may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).
Not all programs offered at designated learning institutions (DLIs) are eligible
To learn more about the different types of credentials DLIs grant, contact the ministry of education of your province or territory.
Who can apply for a post-graduation work permit?
To get a post-graduation work permit, you must:
- be 18 or older when you apply
- have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a study program at least eight months long
- have a document from your school (transcript, official letter, certificate, etc.) that confirms you completed and passed all your program requirements
- have graduated from a:
- public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec or
- private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (currently applies only to certain private post-secondary institutions in Quebec) or
- private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) or
- Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree) but only if you are enrolled in a study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province
- apply for a work permit within 90 days of when it was confirmed that you completed your program and
- have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.
You aren’t eligible to apply for a PGWP if you:
- studied in a program that was less than eight months long
- studied for more than eight months but not continuously (for example, you took a semester off)
- took part in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
- took part in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC
- had funding from GAC
- took part in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
- took part in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
- took part in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
- completed a study program by distance learning either from abroad or from within Canada or
- already had a post-graduation work permit following any other program of study.
If you are in any of these groups, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit:
If you were enrolled in a study program that is normally eight months long but you finished in six months, you may be eligible.
Transfers between schools
If you transferred between designated learning institutions (DLIs), the combined length of your studies must have been at least eight months to be eligible.
Transferring from a school that is not a DLI to one that is: if you started studying at a school that wasn’t designated, and transferred and completed your program at a DLI, only the time studying at the DLI will be counted.
Studying part-time during the final academic session
If you meet all the requirements, but during your last academic session you studied part-time, you are still eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit.
To be eligible, a flight instructor must:
- have completed a flight training course at a Canadian training centre and now have a Canadian commercial pilot’s license or
- have or be in the process of getting an instructor’s rating and a job offer as a flight instructor from a flight training centre.
Visit Transport Canada for a list of their regulated flight schools.
Graduates of certain Quebec schools
Quebec graduates of vocational and professional training programs must meet these conditions:
You must have graduated from a recognized:
- public secondary school
- private secondary school or a
- private post-secondary school.
Learn about recognized schools in Quebec.
Degrees, diplomas and certificates
To be eligible, degrees, diplomas and certificates must be issued by the Quebec government. These include:
- From public or private secondary schools
- Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) (Diploma in Vocational Studies)
- Attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) (Attestation of Vocational Specialization)
- From private post-secondary schools
- Diplôme d’études collégiales (DEC) (Diploma in College Studies)
- Attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) (Attestation of College Studies)
The program you attended and completed must have been full-time, and for at least eight months (or 900 hours).
- hold a valid study permit or be allowed to study without a study permit and
- be 18 or older when you apply
You must include these documents with your PGWP application:
- the certificate or official document that confirms you completed your program, or official transcript from a Quebec school board or recognized private school
- an official letter from the school that confirms the length of the study program (in hours or months) and the program code
You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if you:
- took distance learning programs or
- have previously been issued a PGWP.
How long is a post-graduation work permit valid?
How long the post-graduation work permit is valid for depends on the length of your study program. If your program was:
- less than eight months
- you aren’t eligible for a PGWP
- more than eight months but less than two years
- your PGWP may be valid for up to the same length as your study program (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for up to nine months)
- two years or more
- a PGWP may be issued for three years
- more than one program
- a PGWP may be valid for up to three years, for example, if you finished a diploma or degree from an eligible school in Canada, and within the next two years you get a one-year graduate degree or diploma from an eligible school in Canada.
How to apply
There are two ways you can apply for a post-graduation work permit:
If you are in Canada, you can apply online. To apply online you must have:
- access to a scanner or digital camera to make electronic copies of your documents for uploading and
- a valid credit card to pay with.
Note: If you give an email address on your application, check it regularly for messages about your case. Some spam filters block these emails. If you aren’t sure you are getting our emails, check your account on a regular basis.
Apply on paper
1. Get the application package
The package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out.
Read the guide carefully before you complete the application form. We will not refund the fee for processing your form. Make sure you are eligible for the post-graduation work permit before you apply.
Photocopy the blank forms and use one as a working copy. Keep the working copy for your records.
2. Complete application and attach documents
The application form has instructions. Read them and be sure to give us all the documents asked for. If information or documents are missing, it may delay your application. The document checklist in the application package lists all documents to include.
Answer all questions carefully, completely and truthfully. We will not process incomplete applications. We will return them to you.
3. Submit your application
You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you met the requirements of your study program. This could include a degree, diploma, transcript or official letter from your school.
The application package has the mailing address where you must send your application.
Waiting for a decision
You can work full-time until a decision is made on your work permit application if you:
- completed your study program
- applied for a work permit before your study permit expired and
- were eligible to work off-campus without a work permit while studying and did not work more hours than you were allowed to while working off-campus.
If these don’t apply to you, you must wait until the permit arrives to begin your new job. It is illegal to work in Canada without a permit.
If your work permit is refused, you must stop working the day you are notified of the refusal.
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