Work permit: Who can apply

Additional changes to entry, testing and quarantine requirements in response to the Omicron variant

There are temporary changes for all travellers, including Canadian citizens, regardless of their vaccination status.

Additional restrictions and requirements now apply to these countries:

  • Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe

News release

Changes to border measures

New border measures include

  • rules for re-entering Canada, if leaving for 72 hours or less
  • who is considered fully vaccinated
  • rules for travelling within Canada

Starting January 15, 2022, there will be new rules for who can enter Canada as an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated traveller.

Learn more about the new measures

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’re eligible for a post-graduation work permit and your study permit is still valid;
  • 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 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 (this does not apply to business visitors); or
  • you’re a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

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

You should apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada.

However, you can apply for a work permit when you enter Canada if you’re eligible.

To apply at a port of entry (POE), you must meet all of the following:

  • be eligible for an electronic travel authorization or to travel without a visitor visa (find out if you need a visa)
  • be eligible to enter Canada while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place
  • meet other requirements depending on the type of work permit you’re applying for (see below)

Employer-specific work permit applicants

Your employer must have completed all of the required steps for your employer-specific work permit.

Open work permit applicants

Applicants entering Canada directly from the United States

If you’re applying for an open work permit but you don’t qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you must have a valid job offer while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place.

Applicants entering Canada from a country other than the United States

If you don’t qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, you should both

  • apply for your open work permit before you enter Canada
  • show the following documents when you enter Canada:
    • proof of a valid job offer
    • proof your work permit application was approved
      • example: letter of introduction

Before you travel to Canada

All travellers entering Canada must follow testing and quarantine requirements to keep everyone safe. Under certain conditions, you may be exempt from some of these requirements.

Find out if you’re exempt from any testing and quarantine requirements.

You may also 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

Most applicants aren’t eligible to give their biometrics at a POE.

To give your biometrics at a POE, you must meet 2 requirements:

  • start and finish your application at the same POE
  • be eligible to apply for a work permit at a POE

Eligible applicants can give their biometrics at these POE locations.

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