Co-op or internship work permit

If you are required to work as an integral part of your studies or you are enrolled in a co-op program, you may be permitted to work off campus full time. You will need a co-op work permit.

About co-op work permits

What is it?

The co-op or internship work permit (also referred to simply as a co-op work permit) allows international students to work when the work is for credit and is integral to your program of study. A co-op work permit allows students to work full-time during regular academic terms. You must have a co-op work permit if your work (e.g. co-op placement or internship) is integral to your program of study. Your co-op work permit can only be used for this kind of work and you may simultaneously hold a co-op work permit and work off-campus if you meet the criteria for each. Your co-op work permit will be issued for the same length as your study permit.

What does "integral to your program of study" mean?

The co-op work permit is only for work that is for credit and is a required part of your academic program such as official UBC co-op work terms, required internships and practicum placements. Integral means that you cannot graduate unless you complete the work term.

The co-op work permit cannot be used for work that is not part of your official academic program of study. For example, it cannot be used for internships required by external funding organizations. 

If you are not sure if your work is an essential part of your academic program, please consult with both your Academic Advisor and an International Student Advisor to make sure you are eligible to apply.

Why do I need it?

If work is integral to your program of study, you are required to have a co-op work permit before you start your work term. Your co-op work permit will list the employer as “UBC” and will allow you to work for any authorized co-op work term authorized by your program of study. This work permit only allows you to do the job approved by your co-op program within your co-op work term. You are not allowed to use the co-op work permit to work outside these approved terms even if the permit is still valid.

When do I need it?

You may start your application for a co-op work permit as soon as you receive the letter from your program of study confirming that you will do work required for your program of study (e.g. your acceptance into the co-op program or your letter acknowledging your required internship from your graduate program at UBC).

Do I need a medical exam for my co-op work permit?

If you will be working in a job in agriculture related fields or public health or health sciences (e.g. health care workers, clinical laboratory workers, medical students, primary and secondary school teachers) and you will be in close contact with patients, children, the elderly, etc., you must complete a medical exam.

A medical exam is required to ensure you have the right conditions placed on your study permit or work permit that allows you to work in these jobs before starting to work. Visit IRCC’s website to find out if you need a medical exam or meet with an International Student Advisor.

Your medical exam must be conducted by an IRCC-approved Panel Physician and your medical exam report (referred to as your ‘e-medical’) can be submitted with your co-op work permit application.

How to apply for a co-op work permit within Canada

You can apply for your co-op work permit from within Canada.

Go to the co-op work permit tutorial

After you receive your co-op work permit

After you receive or extend your co-op work permit apply for or extend your Social Insurance Number (SIN).

The expiry date of your co-op work permit will normally be the expiry date of your study permit. You can apply for or extend your co-op work permit at the same time you apply to extend your study permit. If your study permit expires before the end of your first work term, you might need to extend your study permit when you apply for your co-op work permit so both will be valid throughout your work term. Check estimated processing times online but note that these times are not guaranteed and are updated weekly.

Get help

International Student Development

Talk to an advisor

International Student Advisors are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) who can help.

When emailing us, include the following information in the email:

  1. Your student number in the subject line
  2. Your name
  3. Your citizenship(s)
  4. All permit and visa expiration dates (if applicable)
  5. Currently in Canada (YES or NO)
  6. If you request specific assistance, please provide detailed information including applicable documents, such as a rejection letter
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