If you are from a visa-exempt country and you apply for an initial study or work permit before you depart on your trip to Canada, you will automatically be issued an eTA once that study or work permit has been approved.
There is, therefore, no need to submit an eTA application or pay any additional fees. The eTA number will be quoted in the letter of introduction you will receive from the Canadian authorities once your work or study permit has been approved. Make sure you do not lose this number because you might need it in future correspondence with them.
When you fly to Canada, please make sure that you have the following with you:
- A letter of introduction
- A valid travel document, e.g., your passport
- If you have an eTA and you plan to fly to an airport in Canada, make sure you have the passport that has been linked electronically to that eTA
- If you are from a country whose citizens require a visa to enter Canada, your passport has to contain the sticker put in there by the Canadian authorities
What if I intend to apply for my first study or work permit at the Canadian entry port?
The situation will depend on how you will be travelling. If you are going to fly to Canada, you have to get an eTA before you will be allowed to board a flight to that country.
If you are arriving by car, train, bus, or boat (cruise ships included), you do not require an eTA. If you need a visa to enter Canada, you should first apply for one before arriving in the country
What if I currently have a study or work permit and I want to apply again?
If you are from a country whose citizens need a visa to enter Canada, make 100% sure that you have a valid visa if you plan to leave Canada and enter again at a later stage.
If you are from a visa-exempt country and you will be flying to an airport in Canada, ensure that you are travelling with the passport that has been linked electronically to your eTA.
You should, therefore, be travelling with your valid study or work permit, a valid travel document (eTA or visa), and a valid passport.
What happens after I apply for a Canadian work permit?
If you have applied from outside Canada, you will have to provide the Canadian authorities with your photo and fingerprints (i.e., your biometrics). It is advised that you book an appointment with them to have your photo and fingerprints taken as soon as possible to avoid the chances of unexpected delays.
How will the Canadian authorities check my application for a study permit or work permit?
They will start by checking your application to ensure that you have provided all the relevant documents, as well as your photo and fingerprints. If there is something missing, your application will be returned without being processed.
An officer of the relevant Canadian department will also do the following:
- Check that you actually qualify for a Canadian work permit
- Consult the list of employers who neglected to comply with official requirements to make sure that your prospective employer can in fact, hire you
They might also require you to:
- Attend an interview with one or more of their officials in your own country
- Provide additional documentation or information
The application system is online and uses UTC time. If they request that you upload additional documentation to your account, you will have to do so before 24h00 UTC on the date the official gives you. It is, therefore, recommended that you familiarize yourself with the difference between UTC and your local time.
You may also have to undergo a medical examination before being allowed to enter Canada. If this happens, an officer will inform you about the fact and will provide instructions on what you have to do. A medical examination can easily add 3 months or more to the period it takes for your application to be processed.
What happens if my application for a work permit is approved?
You will receive a letter of approval in which you are informed that you are now allowed to be employed in Canada. This document is referred to as the “port of entry letter of introduction.”
You will have to take this letter with you when you leave for Canada so you can present it at the Canadian port of entry.
This letter is not the same as a work permit. You will only receive your work permit the day when you arrive at the port of entry in Canada.
Once you’ve received your work permit, you should specifically take note of the following:
- The name of the employer you are allowed to work for
- The kind of work you are allowed to perform
- Where you are allowed to work
- The period for which you will be allowed to work
How will my application for a work permit be dealt with if I am already in Canada?
The Canadian authorities will check your application to ensure that you have provided all the relevant documents, including your fingerprints and photo. If you send in an incomplete application, it will be returned to you without being processed.
You should make an appointment for your biometrics to be taken as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary delays.
The officials will also carry out the following checks:
- They will consult the list of employers who neglected to comply with the official requirements to ensure that this particular employer is allowed to hire you
- They will confirm that you indeed meet the requirements for a Canadian work permit
Depending on the kind of work you will be performing, you could also be required to undergo a medical examination. If this is the case, you will be informed by an officer who will also provide you with instructions on what has to be done. As already mentioned above, a medical examination can add more than three months to the period it will take to have your application processed.
You could also be requested to provide additional information.
What if I held a valid Canadian work permit during the past 12 months, and I am now visiting Canada to apply for a new work permit?
In this case, you can request permission to continue working while your new application is being processed.
To qualify, you have to meet the following criteria:
- When you apply, you should be physically present in the country
- You have to remain in Canada while your application is being processed. If you should leave the country while the authorities are processing the application, you will stop being eligible under the official policy
- When you apply for the Canadian work permit, your visitor status has to be valid
- Once your visitor status expires, you will first have to restore it before you can submit an application for a Canadian work permit again
- You must have had a valid work permit during the 12-month period before you submitted the application for the current work permit.
How can I get permission to work while I am waiting for my work permit?
The steps involve the following:
1. Contact the Canadian authorities
After you have applied, complete and submit the IRCC Web form. When completing the section about your inquiry, you have to cut and paste the following text:
“Message to request interim authorization to work”
Double-check that you have filled out the parts in square brackets, such as:
- The number of the work permit (it starts with a ‘U’)
- Your employer’s name
- Your job title
If you submitted a paper application and you do not know what the application number is, just include the tracking number provided to you by the courier. This will make it possible for the authorities to identify your application.
In case you have more questions, you will have to submit a new IRCC Web form.
2. Wait for the Canadian authorities to contact you
You will now have to wait for the authorities to confirm when you will be allowed to start working. This could take as long as 6 weeks or 30 business days.
What happens if I am in Canada and my application for a work permit is approved?
If you’re currently inside Canada and your application is approved, and you qualify to apply for a Canadian work permit from inside the country, you should have filled out the form referred to as “Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay, Or Remain In Canada As a Worker [IMM 5710].
If that is the case, the authorities will send your work permit to the address in Canada that you gave them. This will also apply if you are currently a visitor who submitted an application for a work permit under a temporary government policy.
If there are any changes to your mailing address before you receive the outcome of your application, you have to follow the instructions to inform them of your new address.
If my application is successful, what will the work permit outline?
Your work permit will contain the information below:
- The kind of work you are allowed do
- The employer you are allowed to work for
- Where you will have the right to work
- The period for which you are allowed to work