Tutorial: How to apply for your post-graduation work permit from within Canada

Step-by-step instructions, required documents, and other important information about applying for a post-graduation work permit from within Canada

1. Overview of the process

Eligibility Visit the Post-graduation work permit page

When to apply

Apply within 90 days of when your Letter of Completion first becomes available AND when your study permit is still valid, OR

Apply within 180 days of when your Letter of Completion first becomes available, have previously held a valid study permit, and one of the following:

  • Applied for visitor status before your study permit became invalid
  • Applied to restore your temporary resident status
  • Apply from outside of Canada

This 180-day period begins when your Letter of Completion first becomes available on your SSC or via your program. NOT the date of your convocation ceremony

If you have plans to travel, learn about travel scenarios.

Cost

$255.00 CAD and

$85.00 CAD for biometrics, if applicable

Processing time

IRCC processing times vary widely. Check typical processing times for your country on the IRCC website

How to apply

RECOMMENDED OPTION

Online through the IRCC website

If you are considering applying outside of Canada, flagpoling or applying by paper, please contact an International Student Advisor.

Application form

Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM5710]

To avoid delays with your application, always download the most current form from the IRCC website.

2. Create your document checklist

If you are applying online

  1. Create a MyCIC account on the IRCC website.
  2. Complete the questionnaire to generate a list of required forms and documents.
  3. After completing the questionnaire, you will be guided to a screen titled “Your document checklist.

3. Gather your required documents

Documents all students need

Letter of Completion

You must provide a letter stating that you have completed all the requirements of your UBC program.

Download your Letter of Completion

  • Download your completion letter from the SSC (if available on your SSC), OR
  • Request a letter from:
    • Undergraduate students: Your academic advisor 
    • Graduate students: Your department or program

Your document must state that:

  • You have successfully completed all of the requirements of your program, OR
  • Your degree requirements have been met

Masters or Diploma students: Your completion letter should state the length of your program. Contact your program to request this information be included in your letter of completion.  

Documents NOT accepted:

A letter stating that you will soon complete your requirements is not acceptable for a post-graduation work permit application (e.g. you are expected to complete requirements pending final grades for the term). You must wait until after you have completed your requirements before you can apply. Submitting this document with your application will result in a refusal of your application.

Important: once your letter of completion becomes available you are no longer eligible to work on or off campus and must stop work immediately. To ensure there is no gap in your eligibility to work, apply for your PGWP when your Letter of Completion becomes available (as long as you meet all eligibility criteria).

Transcript

A copy of your official transcript must be submitted in your application. You must wait until all final grades are available before requesting it.

Order an official transcript

Once you receive your transcript, open the envelope and scan all the pages. Include one scanned copy of the “Explanation of student academic record” page that is on the back of every page.

If applying online, combine the copy of your transcript with the UBC Definition of Full-time Studies for Immigration Purposes Letter and upload them together under the 'Recent Education Transcript' field of your document checklist.

If you studied at more than one institution in Canada, consult with International Student Advising for extra documents you will need to include. 

Passport

You must provide a scanned copy of your passport merged into one PDF document that includes:

  • a copy of the bio-data page (the page with your name and photo)
  • a copy of every page in your passport that has stamps, signatures, visas, or any other markings from Canada or other countries

If your passport will expire soon: Consider extending it before applying for a post-graduation work permit, because your post-graduation work permit cannot be issued past your passport's expiry date. However, do not wait too long for a new passport - you have only 180 days after program completion to apply for the work permit. Contact International Student Advising for guidance on timing your application.

Need help scanning your documents? Go to the Irving K. Barber Chapman Learning Commons.

Digital photo

Make sure your photo meets IRCC's specifications.

UBC’s Definition of Full-time Studies for Immigration Purposes Letter

All students are advised to include in their Post-Graduation Work Permit application this Letter acknowledging UBC’s Definition of Full-time Studies for Immigration Purposes.

If applying online, combine the copy of your transcript with the UBC Definition of Full-time Studies for Immigration Purposes Letter and upload them together under the 'Recent Education Transcript' field of your document checklist.

Documents you might need

Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need one or more of the following documents. Review the Post-Graduation Work Permit List of Additional Documents to get started.

Letter of Explanation

A letter of explanation is a good way to describe your unique situation or include additional documents, including:

  1. The purpose of your application
  2. Issues you would like to make clear or that the officer might find useful
  3. Supporting documents, screenshots or any other proof to support your explanation
  4. Additional employment history if you have run out of space in the "Employment" section of your application
  5. To request that restrictions to work in an occupation that requires a medical exam be removed to allow you to work in that occupation (see next section on medical exams.

    Medical exam report (e-medical)

    You require a medical exam report if you:

    • Have lived in a designated country or territory for more than 6 months in the past 12 months, OR
    • Plan to work in a job in which a worker's illness could endanger the public, such as public health, health sciences, school teaching, or agriculture-related fields. Visit IRCC to find out if you require 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 work permit application.

    Important: If there is any chance you will work in these occupations, consider completing a medical exam and submitting your e-medical when applying. Include a letter of explanation asking specifically for your work permit to indicate that you may work in these occupations. Contact International Student Advising for guidance. You cannot start the position until you have received a work permit with appropriate conditions.

    Schedule 1: Application for Temporary Residence [IMM5257B]

    Most students will not require this form.

    This document is required only if you answer “Yes” to questions: 3, 4, 5 or 6 in the "Background Information" section of your application form.

    Important: If you answered "Yes" to any question in the "Background information" section other than 2(c), please speak to International Student Advising

    UBC Acknowledgment Letter

    Students who have taken any gaps in their UBC studies (approved or not) for any length of time are advised to include in their Post-Graduation Work Permit application this Letter acknowledging UBC’s policy towards time taken away.

    Biometrics

    If you have not previously provided biometrics (fingerprints and a photo), you will be required to submit them in-person at a designated Service Canada location. 

    The time it takes to submit your biometrics is not included in the processing time for your PGWP and your application will not be processed until biometrics are received. You only need to give biometrics once every 10 years.

    U.S. citizens and people who have provided biometrics in the past 10 years and certain other individuals are exempt from providing biometrics. 

    1. Pay the biometrics fee at the same time you submit your PGWP application for faster processing.
    2. Receive your biometrics instruction letter. If you applied online you will receive an electronic biometrics instruction letter within 24 hours.  
    3. Book an appointment as soon as possible at a designated Service Canada location
    4. Submit your biometrics within 30 days of receiving your biometrics instruction letter

    4. Complete the application form

    Your application form is a legal document and is an important part of your application. Missing or incorrect information can lead to a refusal. Below are five steps to help create a comprehensive application.

    i. Download the newest forms

    Required for all applicants: Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM5710]

    IRCC makes periodic updates to their application forms. Always make sure you are using the current version by downloading the form(s) directly from the IRCC website.

    Download the latest form

    ii. Get help with commonly asked questions

    What is a UCI?

    Image of Unique Client Identifier (UCI) field on the form

    UCI stands for “Unique Client Identifier,” also known as “Client ID.” It is an eight- or ten-digit number on your study permit. Your UCI has this format: 0000-0000 or 00-0000-0000.

    How do I answer “I am applying for one or more of the following:”?

    Field where users select their permit options

    Select “An initial work permit or a work permit with a new employer”.

    How do I fill out the “Current mailing address” section?

    Mailing address field

    This section is very important as the officer will use your address to mail you your work permit. If the address is inaccurate, you might not receive your work permit.

    • A “P.O. Box” is a paid lockable mailbox located in a post office station which you pay to rent. Your mail box number in your apartment or residence is not a P.O. Box number.
    • If you do not have an assigned mailbox number, you can put your apartment number under Apt/Unit.
    • A street number is the main number on the outside of a building that indicates the location of a building on a street. 
    • Some “street names” also contain numbers, such as West 10th Ave, but this number is part of the street name.
    • If you live in a residence on campus, you might have an assigned mailbox number. You can provide your mail box number in brackets after the street name; for example: “Lower Mall (mailbox 4025)”.

    If you are unsure of your mailing address or might move during the time your application is being processed, you can provide a mailing address of a trusted friend. Please ensure that your mail can be received by your friend securely if the mail is under your name and not your friend’s name. You are welcome to use International Student Advising but you must come in person to check if your mail has arrived. We cannot guarantee your document will be received, and it will be publicly accessible in our office.

    What is a document number?

    Document number field

    A document number appears on official immigration documents (e.g. study permits). It is usually printed in black ink with a letter (an “F” for study permits) followed by a 9-digit number.

    How do I complete the “Details of my prospective employer” section?

    Details of employment field

    Because the post-graduation work permit is an open work permit, you are not required to have a job offer. Even if you have a job offer, it is best to follow the above example and indicate “Not applicable” in these fields.

    How do I answer “Intended location of employment in Canada”?

    In this section you can select “BC”, “Vancouver”, and type “Not applicable” in the field provided for an address.

    How do I answer “My occupation in Canada will be”?

    If you do not have a job, you may indicate your occupation as “Job seeker”. In the field provided for “brief description of duties” you may type “As assigned”.

    How do I answer “Duration of expected employment”?

    Duration of employment field

    In the “From” field: Type in the date when you will submit your application.

    In the “To” field: Type in a date that corresponds with the length of work permit that you are eligible. For example, students who complete a program of two years or more in length are eligible for a three-year work permit. For more information on post-graduation work permit length, refer to the IRCC website.

    How do I complete the “Education” section?

    The information you provide in this section gives IRCC a fuller picture of your current post-secondary education.

    • Indicate ‘yes’ to the first question as you have studied at UBC. Type in the current year and month in the “to” field.
    • Type in your completed program (e.g. Bachelor of Arts) at UBC.
    • If you need more space, provide additional information in a letter of explanation.

    How do I complete the “Employment” section?

    Employment field

    The first section under employment is your “current activity”.

    • If you are currently employed, include details of your current employment.
    • If you currently do not work, you can type in “student” and include the time you studied at UBC.

    Provide information about your employment history, including full time or part time work in the past 10 years in any country, if applicable. If you need more space, provide additional info in a Letter of Explanation.

    How do I answer the “Background Information” on page 4?

    You must answer these questions truthfully.

    2 (a) Have you remained beyond the validity of your status, attended school without authorization or worked without authorization in Canada?

    2 (b) Have you ever been refused a visa or permit, denied entry or ordered to leave Canada or any other country?

    Please speak with an International Student Advisor if you answered “yes” to questions 2(a) or (b) because it will affect other parts of your application.

     2 (c) Background information: Have you previously applied to enter or remain in Canada?

    Background info screenshot

    If you have ever applied for a Canadian study permit, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), or a work permit, whether it was approved or refused, you must report it to IRCC by checking the box "Yes" to 2(c) and writing down when you applied for each type of document in the box and provide details. Most students will need to answer “Yes” to this question.

    How can I sign the [IMM5710] form if I apply online?

    You will be prompted to electronically sign your application later in the online application process after you have uploaded all documents.

    iii. Validate your form

    When you finish filling out your application form, click the blue “Validate” button (found on the first or last page). This will highlight any missing information required on your application.

    • You can make changes after the application is successfully validated. You can edit and validate as many times as you need. Always validate before uploading.
    • Remember to validate, save, and upload the final form.

    Once your application has been successfully validated it should show the following:

    TRV Validate

    If you do not see any barcodes when you validate your application, please visit the RCIC help page

    iv. Take screenshots as you apply

    It is a good practice to take screenshots as you apply in case there are issues after you submit your application. You are welcome to take screenshots of all screens; however, these are the most important:

    1. The "Your document checklist" page after all your documents have been successfully uploaded to your MyCIC account
    2. The "Acknowledgment of receipt" page after the application has been submitted
    3. After you submit your application, if an IRCC officer requests you submit any additional documents, take a screenshot to prove you uploaded them

    Save your screenshots to a safe place where you can access them easily. 

    How to take screenshots

    5. After you've applied

    You may begin working full-time immediately after submitting your post-graduation work permit application while you are waiting for a decision from IRCC:

    • If the time you submitted your application, you:
      • Have a valid study permit and apply within 90 days after your Letter of Completion first became available, AND
      • Have completed your program of study, AND
    • If you were eligible to work off campus without a work permit during your studies, AND
    • If you did not work off campus for more than 20 hours per week during academic sessions.

    If you plan to travel, visit travel scenarios for more information to review your options.

    6. After you receive your work permit

    Check your work permit

    Once you receive your post-graduation work permit, check the length of the work permit to make sure it was issued correctly:

    • If your program of study was at least eight months and less than two years in length, your work permit should match the length of your program
    • If your program of study was two years or more in length, or a graduate program that was 16-23 months in length with no scheduled breaks, you should receive a three-year work permit

    Contact International Student Advising if you believe the officer made a mistake with the length of your work permit.

    Exception: Your work permit cannot be issued for longer than your passport; therefore, a shorter work permit may be issued based on your passport expiry date. If this is the case, you must first extend your passport, and then apply to extend your work permit for the remainder of the time for which you are eligible.

    Keep your documents up to date

    Keep your immigration and health insurance documents up to date by completing the following important steps:

    1. Keep track of the expiry date of your work permit. You must either leave Canada or apply for another immigration document before your work permit expires.
    2. Apply for or extend your Social Insurance Number (SIN). You need a valid a SIN to be paid for work in Canada. 
    3. Be sure to extend your Medical Services Plan (MSP)
    4. Apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada (if required), OR
    5. Check that you have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) that is valid until the same date or a future date. An eTA is required to re-enter Canada for citizens of specific countries.

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

    Leaving and entering Canada

    Every time you enter Canada, be prepared to prove at the border that you can support yourself financially (that is, carry an updated bank statement). If you don’t have a job, bring proof that you are actively looking for work (your resume, list of jobs you are applying for, etc.)

    7. If you need help

    Before submitting your application

    Attend an Application Review session to go over required documents, learn how to fill out the form, avoid common mistakes, get your questions answered, and leave the session ready to submit your applications. Sessions are available weekly.

    Book a review session

    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.

    Connect with an advisor

    International Student Guide

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

    View the guide