Work or Study in Canada

Work Permit


View of the Rideau Canal
View of the Rideau Canal


Most foreign nationals need a work permit to work in Canada. 

There are two types of work permits: employer-specific and open.

  •  Employer-specific permits allow you to work for a specific employer, while open permits let you work for any employer except those listed as ineligible. 



Employer-specific work permit Open work permit
An employer-specific work permit allows you to work in Canada for a specific employer under certain conditions, including who you can work for, how long you can work, and where you can work. Before applying for this permit, your employer must provide you with a copy of your employment contract and either a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an offer of employment number. If your employer doesn't need to use the Employer Portal, they must simply give you a copy of the employment contract. An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, except for those on a list of non-compliant employers or those offering certain questionable services. You can only obtain an open work permit in certain circumstances, and some jobs may require a medical exam. If you prefer not to have medical conditions listed on your permit, you can get a medical exam from a panel physician.
Family members of foreign workers can apply for a type of work permit that allows them to work for any employer in Canada, except for those that are listed as ineligible or engage in certain services like striptease or erotic massages. If family members do not plan to work, they can apply to visit or study in Canada. If the worker is extending their stay in Canada, their family members must also apply to extend their stay as visitors or students.



Eligibility requirements for all applicants

There are specific rules you need to follow depending on where you are when you apply for a work permit.

No matter where you apply or what type of work permit you want, you must:

  • Show proof that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • Demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself and your family during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • Follow the law and have a clean criminal record (you may need to provide a police clearance certificate)
  • Not pose a security risk to Canada
  • Be in good health and pass a medical exam if required
  • Not plan to work for an employer on the “ineligible” list for not following employment conditions
  • Not plan to work for an employer who offers adult entertainment services
  • Provide any additional documents requested by the officer to prove you can enter the country.

Eligibility requirements if you apply when you enter Canada at a port of entry

You should apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada.

However, you can apply for a work permit when you enter Canada if you’re eligible.

To apply at a port of entry (POE), you must meet all of the following:

  • be eligible for an electronic travel authorization or to travel without a visitor visa (find out if you need a visa)
  • meet other requirements depending on the type of work permit you’re applying for (see below)

Employer-specific work permit applicants

Your employer must have completed all of the required steps for your employer-specific work permit.

Open work permit applicants

You must be eligible to apply for an open work permit.

You may also need to take a medical exam before you come to Canada. Find out if you need one.

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

If you’ll be working in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, you’re not eligible to apply for a work permit at a POE.


(In the case for Philippines)


Online applications from Philippines

Before you apply online, make sure you have:

Depending on your situation, you may need to submit Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union [IMM 5409] (PDF, 637 KB) 

You need an account to apply online. Use it to pay your fees, check your status and extend your permit.


You can apply from inside Canada if one of these applies:

  • You’re a Ukrainian national or an accompanying family member of a Ukrainian national.
  • You have a valid study or work permit.
  • Your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit.
  • You’re eligible for a post-graduation work permit and your study permit is still valid.
  • You or your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a temporary resident permit that is valid for 6 months or more.
  • You’re in Canada and waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence for the
  • You made or will make a claim for refugee protection.
  • You’ve been recognized as a Convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
  • You’re allowed to work in Canada without a work permit, but you need a work permit to work in a different job (this does not apply to business visitors).
  • You’re a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

To apply online from within Canada

  • Ensure you have the necessary documents and a valid credit or debit card.
  • If you encounter any issues, refer to the instruction guide before completing your application.
  • Priority processing is available for work permit applicants in essential service occupations.
  •  Provide the NOC number in the job title box to receive priority processing. 
  • Prepare your answers for the online tool to create a personalized checklist. 
  • Know the fees you must pay and create an online account to complete your application.
    • work permit fee ($155)
    • open work permit holder fee ($100)

After the procedure

  • If you are not in Canada, you will need to provide your fingerprints and photo for biometric purposes. It is important to schedule your biometrics collection appointment promptly to prevent any delays in the processing of your application. You can find out how to provide biometrics.
  • They (IRCC) will review your application to ensure that you have submitted all necessary documents, including biometrics. If your application is incomplete, it will be returned without processing.
  • An officer will also verify that the employer is eligible to hire you and that you meet the requirements for a work permit. You may be required to attend an interview with our officials in your country or provide additional information or documents.
  • The online application system operates on coordinated universal time (UTC). If instructed to upload documents, make sure to submit them before midnight UTC on the specified date. Be aware of the time zone difference between your location and UTC.
  • A medical examination may be necessary for entry into Canada; if so, an officer will notify you with instructions. This examination can extend the processing time of your application by over 3 months.
  • You can use the application status tracker to stay updated on the progress of your application. To create an account, you will need your unique client identifier (UCI) and application number.

If your work permit application is approved

  • Upon approval of your work permit application, you will receive an approval letter known as the port of entry letter of introduction, confirming your permission to work in Canada. It is important to carry this letter with you when traveling to Canada and present it at the port of entry. It is not considered your actual work permit.
  • Upon arrival in Canada, you will be issued your work permit at the port of entry. This permit will detail the type of work you are allowed to do, the employer you can work for, the location where you can work, and the duration you are permitted to work.


If you are in Canada, 

They (IRCC) will review your application to ensure all necessary documents, including biometrics if required, have been provided. It is recommended to schedule your biometrics appointment promptly to prevent processing delays. If you are unable to book an appointment by the specified deadline, temporary measures may be in place to assist you.

 If your application is incomplete, it will be returned without processing. An officer will verify the employers who have failed to meet conditions in order to authorize your employment, as well as ensure you qualify for a work permit. Depending on your job, a medical examination may be necessary, which could add significant time to the processing of your application. Additional information may also be requested from you.


If you are a visitor in Canada applying for a work permit and had a valid work permit in the past year, 

You can request permission to work while your application is being processed. To be eligible, you must be physically present in Canada when you apply, remain in Canada during the processing of your application, have valid visitor status when applying for the work permit, and have applied for an employer-specific work permit between August 24, 2020, and February 28, 2025. If your visitor status has expired, you must renew it before applying for the work permit.

Follow these steps: 

Step 1: Contact IRCC

After you apply, fill out the IRCC Web form.

Please copy the text below when filling out the Your enquiry section.*

Message to request interim authorization to work

Make sure to complete the sections within square brackets, including

  • dates
  • work permit number (begins with a “U”)
  • name of your employer
  • title of your job

If you submitted your application manually and are unaware of your application number, please provide your courier tracking number instead. 

This will help us locate your application. If you have any additional inquiries, you will need to complete a new IRCC Web form.

Step 2: Wait for IRCC o contact you

You are required to wait for their email notification indicating that you are cleared to commence work. This process may take up to 30 business days (6 weeks).If you’re in Canada and your application is approved

If you were eligible to apply for a work permit from within Canada

If you met the criteria to apply from within Canada, you completed the form labeled Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay, or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM 5710]. If this applies to you, the work permit will be sent to the Canadian address provided by you. The same procedure applies if you are a visitor who requested a work permit under a temporary public policy.

If your mailing address changes before we issue our decision, you need to adhere to the guidelines to inform us of your updated address.

The work permit will outline

  • the type of work you can do
  • the employer you can work for
  • where you can work
  • how long you can work

If you followed the instructions to apply for a work permit from outside Canada

If this scenario applies to you, you completed the form titled Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada [IMM 1295].

Upon approval of your application, you will receive an approval letter granting you permission to work in Canada. This correspondence is known as the port of entry letter of introduction, not a work permit.

To obtain your work permit, you must exit and re-enter Canada. Present your letter of introduction at the port of entry when you return.

The work permit that you obtain upon entry at the port will detail

  • the type of work you can do
  • the employer you can work for
  • where you can work
  • how long you can work

Additional information and resources