Work permit: Who can apply

Eligibility requirements for all applicants

There are specific requirements you need to meet depending on where you are when you apply for your work permit.

But regardless of where you apply or which type of work permit you apply for, you must:

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate),
  • not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed
  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions
  • not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country

Eligibility requirements if you apply from outside Canada

Anyone can apply before they enter Canada. However, there may be visa office requirements that you need to meet depending on what country or territory you’re applying from. Make sure you follow the instructions for how to apply.

Find out if you can benefit from the Global Skills Strategy’s two-week application processing.

Eligibility requirements if you apply from inside Canada

You can only apply for a work permit from inside Canada if:

  • you have a valid study or work permit
  • your spouse, common-law partner or parents have a valid study or work permit
  • you’ve graduated from a program at a:
    • Canadian university
    • community college
    • CÉGEP
    • publicly funded trade/technical school, or
    • other eligible school
  • you have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more
  • you’re waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence from inside Canada
  • you made or will make a claim for refugee protection
  • you’ve been recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • you’re allowed to work in Canada without a work permit but you need a work permit to work in a different job, or
  • you’re a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under NAFTA

Eligibility requirements if you apply when you enter Canada at a port of entry (POE)

We recommend that you apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada. However, you can apply for a work permit when you enter Canada if:

  • you don’t need a visitor visa to come to Canada

    AND

  • you’re applying for an open work permit, or
  • your employer has completed all of the required steps for your employer-specific work permit

You may need to take a medical exam before you come to Canada. Find out if you need one.

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

If you’ll be working in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, you’re not eligible to apply for a work permit at a POE.

Biometrics

Generally, you need to give biometrics if you apply for a work permit. If you’re eligible to apply at a Canadian POE you can give your biometrics when you apply at these POE locations.

You must start and finish your application at the same POE.

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