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

Do I need a co-op work permit?

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. It will be issued for the same length of time as your study permit and allows you to work full-time.

Your permit can only be used for work required for your program. However, you may simultaneously hold a co-op work permit and work off-campus if you meet the criteria for each.

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

The co-op work permit is only for work that 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.

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. 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?

Start your application for a co-op work permit as soon as you receive an official letter confirming that the co-op/internship is 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 fieldspublic 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.

If the above applies to you, you will need a medical exam conducted by an IRCC-approved panel physician. The doctor will send the full results to IRCC automatically. Ask the doctor for a copy of your medical exam report (referred to as your ‘e-medical’) and submit it with your new permit application.

Include a letter of explanation asking specifically for your work permit to indicate that you may work in these occupations. You cannot start the position until you have received a study or work permit with appropriate conditions.

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

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

Your co-op work permit will normally match the expiry date of your study permit. 

If your study permit does not expire soon, apply for a co-op work permit only.

If you must provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo), apply for your work permit earlier to allow for this extra step.

See tutorial

If your study permit expires soon, you can apply for a co-op work permit at the same time you apply to extend your study permit, usually 3-4 months before your study permit expiry.

View extension tutorial

Review our new co-op application reviews on Canvas, whether you are in Canada or abroad.

After you receive your co-op work permit

Check estimated processing times online but note that these times are not guaranteed and are updated weekly.

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

3 to 4 months before your study permit and co-op work permit expire, extend both with one study permit extension application.

If your contact information changes after submitting your application, be sure to update it via IRCC’s webform.

International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC's Vancouver campus.

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If you have questions

International Student Advising is ready to support you on questions related to immigration, health insurance, and life as an international student in Canada.

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