What is a post-graduation work permit?
The post-graduation work permit allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
Note: Work obtained through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program may help support your application to become a permanent resident of Canada.
How do I apply for a post-graduation work permit?
How you can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) depends on where you’re applying from. Most people must apply online for their PGWP. Find out how you can apply for your PGWP.
Make sure you’re eligible for a PGWP before you apply. You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a PGWP.
When you apply, make sure you pay the Open work permit holder fee and the standard work permit fee.
If your study permit has expired
- submit your PGWP application within 90 days of losing your status and pay both fees (open work permit fee and standard work permit fee)
- Restoring your status as a student has a fee of $350. Due to system limitations, applicants must pay the fees to restore their status as a student online and attach a copy of the receipt to their PGWP online application. You do not need to make a separate application to restore your status as a student.
- keep meeting the requirements for your stay
- meet all the remaining conditions listed on your permit
If you need to extend or change the conditions on your PGWP
You must apply on paper if you’re extending or changing the conditions on your PGWP. You can only extend your PGWP if your passport expired earlier than your PGWP validity should have been.
This would be indicated in a remark on your initial PGWP.
You may need to change the conditions on your PGWP if you need to provide an additional document, like a medical exam, after you already applied.
How long is a post-graduation work permit valid?
A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) may be valid anywhere between eight months and up to three years. The length of your permit will depend on the length of the study program you completed in Canada. The permit won’t be longer than the length of your study program. Find out more about how long a PGWP can be valid.
If your passport expires before your PGWP should
Make sure your passport is valid for the entire length of time you should be eligible for. If your passport expires earlier:
- we’ll only issue you a PGWP that’s valid until your passport expires
- we’ll tell you if you need to extend it to get the full validity
You can only extend a PGWP if we tell you to. If this happens, you have to apply on paper to extend your PGWP so that it’ll be valid for the full length it should be.
How much does a post-graduation work permit cost?
The fee for a post-graduation work permit is CDN$155; however, you must also pay the CDN$100.00 “Open Work Permit Holder” fee. Find out more about the required fees.
Can I apply for a job before I get my post-graduation work permit?
Yes, but only if you:
- were a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI) in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program,
- already completed your program of study, and
- didn't exceed the number of hours you could work on and off-campus.
If we refuse your post-graduation work permit, you must stop working immediately.
Can I work anywhere, in any type of job, under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program?
The post-graduation work permit is an open work permit. This means that you can work in any occupation anywhere in Canada, and change employers any time you wish.
Note: You may not work for an employer on the ineligible employers list.
How do I qualify for a post-graduation work permit?
To qualify for a post-graduation work permit, you must have graduated from a public institution or a recognized degree program at a private institution. These institutions may include a university, college or a Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (an educational institution in Quebec that offers pre-university classes and technical career programs).
Can I apply for a post-graduation work permit before I get my diploma?
You don’t have to wait until you physically receive your diploma or attend your graduation ceremony to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).
All you need to apply for a PGWP is
- an official letter from your school that confirms you’ve completed your study program, and
- an official transcript, or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website.
You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a post-graduation work permit. To be eligible for a PGWP, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days.
When your study permit expires
Your study permit will expire on the date marked on the permit or 90 days after the day you complete your studies, whichever comes first.
If your study permit expires, you must either:
- restore your status as a student when you apply for a PGWP, or
- leave Canada and apply for a PGWP from outside Canada
Can I work while I am waiting to receive my post-graduation work permit?
You can work full-time while waiting for a decision on your post-graduation work permit application if, at the time you submitted your application, you:
- had a valid study permit,
- had completed your program of study,
- were eligible to work off-campus without a permit, and
- did not work off-campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.
I’m waiting for my post-graduation work permit. Can I travel outside Canada and come back with my student visa?
You can leave Canada and return, as long as your visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is still valid. Your permit (study or work) is not a visa and doesn't allow you to travel back to Canada.
If your visa or eTA is expired, you have to get a new one before you return to Canada.
When you return to Canada:
- You may enter as a student if your study permit is still valid.
- If we approve your post-graduation work permit while you’re away, you may enter as a worker.
- If we’re still processing your post-graduation work permit, you may enter as a visitor, and you can work without a work permit until we make a decision on your application.
A border officer will have some questions for you when you arrive back in Canada. The officer may ask you for proof that you applied for a post-graduation work permit, such as a copy of your application or the fee payment receipt.
If the officer believes there is reason to refuse your re-entry, you won’t be able to enter Canada.
How can I show a potential employer I’m allowed to work while I wait for my post-graduation work permit?
You can show a potential employer you’re allowed to work by giving them a copy of all of the following documents:
- Proof that you completed your program(s) of study, such as
- the official letter from your school that confirms you’ve completed your study program or
- an official transcript or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website
- A copy of your study permit
- To be allowed to work right away, your permit should say: “May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w); must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria”
- A copy of the acknowledgement of receipt from your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application, if you applied online
- To be allowed to work right away, the acknowledgement of receipt must have been received before your study permit expired
You can use these documents to work only until a decision is made on your application.
If your application for a post-graduation work permit is rejected or refused, you need to stop working as soon as we notify you.
If you don’t, any future work or study permits may not be approved, and you may be asked to leave the country.
Check current processing times for PGWPs.
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