Work off campus
Who can work off-campus?
You may work off-campus without a work permit if you:
- have a valid study permit
- are a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- have started studying
- are in a program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate and is at least six months long and
- have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
If you are no longer a full-time student, you may still work off-campus if you:
- have been a full-time student since you started your program in Canada and
- are now studying part-time only because this is your last semester (and you don’t need a full course-load to complete your program).
Use the self-assessment tool to see if you are eligible to work off-campus without a work permit.
If your situation changes and you no longer meet all the requirements, you must stop working off-campus.
You and your employer must make sure you are eligible to work off-campus without a work permit before you start working. If you start working off-campus but don’t meet the requirements, you may be asked to leave Canada.
Who can’t work off-campus?
Even if you are a full-time student at a DLI, you may not be allowed to work off-campus without a work permit. This is the case if you are:
- studying English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL)
- taking general interest courses or courses to prepare for another study program or
- a visiting or exchange student who won’t get a degree from your host school in Canada.
If one of these apply to you, you need to get a valid work permit to work in Canada.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
You need a SIN to work in Canada or get benefits and services from government programs. You apply for a SIN with Service Canada.
To apply for a SIN to work off-campus, you must have one of these conditions printed on your study permit:
- May work 20 hrs. per week off-campus, or full-time during regular breaks, if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR
- May accept employment on or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria
If you meet the above criteria and these conditions aren’t listed on your study permit, you must request a change to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN. There is no fee for this request.
You must apply to change the conditions of your study permit and pay a fee if:
- your study permit has “This permit does not permit the holder to engage in off-campus employment in Canada,”, printed on it and
- you have changed your program of study.
How many hours can you work?
If you qualify to work off-campus, you can work up to 20 hours per week:
- during regular school sessions, or while you are studying if you are enrolled in an intensive program that doesn’t have scheduled breaks
- if you are studying part-time because you are completing the last session of your program
- if you are a graduate student who has completed the required courses for your degree
You can work full-time:
- during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break, and
- after you finish your studies if you have applied for any other work permit.
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