How to Get a Work Permit for Canada in 6 Steps

Posted on 11/04/2018


Do you have a job lined up in Canada? Or are you working in Canada right now, but your work permit will expire shortly? Applying for a work permit or extending your work permit is crucial if you want to work in Canada, or if you want to keep working in Canada. Let’s explore how to apply for as well as how to extend a work permit.

Step 1: Are you eligible?

The following eligibility requirements apply to all visitors or temporary residents who will be applying for a work permit:

  • Prove to immigration officials that you will return to your home country when your permit is up
  • Show you have sufficient funds
  • Have no criminal activity and not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • Be in good health and have a recent medical exam
  • Not work for ineligible employers as listed below

There are further eligibility requirements that depend on where you are applying for your work permit.

If you apply from outside Canada:

Go to to see if you need to give biometrics (fingerprints and photograph). If you do, then you should apply for a temporary work permit through your local visa office.

If you apply from within Canada

In this case, one of the following conditions must be true:

  • You, or your spouse, or your parents, have a valid study or work permit
  • You have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • You have a temporary resident permit valid for 6 months or longer
  • You have applied for permanent residence from inside Canada, and you have reached the stage of that application where you can now apply for a work permit. You cannot apply for your work permit when you initially apply for permanent residence except for inland spouse or common-law sponsorship provided you meet other applicable requirements.
  • You have asked for refugee status OR you have been recognized as a refugee or protected person by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD)
  • Your refugee claim has been rejected by the RPD, but you cannot leave Canada for reasons beyond your control.
  • Your current job allows you to work in Canada without a permit (see Step 2 below) but you are changing jobs and now need to apply for a permit.

If you apply when you enter Canada

In this case, you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are applying for a visa-exempt country AND
  • You have a valid medical certificate if your job requires it, OR you are from a designated country that requires one (go to to see if your country requires one) AND
  • Your employer has completed your work permit (see Step 3) OR
  • You are applying for an open work permit (see Step 3)

Step 2: Do you need a work permit?

The IRCC has a list of specific jobs that normally do not need a work permit. Go to to see this list of jobs. Any other jobs – which means most jobs in Canada – will require a work permit. So if your job is not on the list at the link above, you will need to apply for a work permit.

Step 3: Find out which of the following permits you will need:

  • Open work permit: for most employers in Canada, except those who are ineligible because they have not met the conditions (which usually means they set up so-called fake jobs to specifically help immigrants claim they have a job waiting for them in Canada); and except owners of strip clubs, erotic dance, escort or massage services.
  • Employer-specific work permit: this allows you to work for a specific employer who must be named, for a specified length of time, and at a specific location.
  • Bridging work permit: this applies in the specific case where you are waiting for the results of your permanent residence application and you need to keep working during that extra period of time. This is usually because your PR application is taking a little longer than expected. To be eligible for a bridging work permit you must:
    1. have applied for permanent residence in Canada
    2. have a current work permit which expires in 4 months or less
    3. have a valid status on your work permit
    4. be currrently living in Canada
    5. you must have applied for permanent residence through one of the following programs: Federal Skilled Workers; Federal Skilled Trades; ExperieCanadian nce Class; Caring for Children Class; Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class; Provincial Nominee Program
    6. If there are restrictions on your Provincial Nominee Program you CANNOT apply for a bridging work permit.

Step 4: Apply for your work permit

This step will depend on where you are applying from.

I: From Inside Canada

This applies to you if you are already in Canada and you wish to:

  • extend or change the conditions of your stay, OR
  • change your type of temporary status
  • correct problems with your status

Go to to see if you are eligible to apply online. You will need a valid Credit Card and a scanner in order to electronically send the required documents.

To apply on paper, you will need to submit supporting documents with your application package. These may include:

  • IMM 5556: Document checklist
  • IMM 5710: Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay, or remain in Canada as a Worker
  • IMM 5409: Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union
  • IMM 5476: Use of a Representative
  • IMM 5553: Instruction Guide

If you are filling out the forms on your computer, you will need Adobe Reader 10 and JavaScript installed. Also make sure you validate the forms BEFORE you print them. Then print them and sign them. Then place the last printed page which will have barcodes and a signature line, ON TOP of your application package.

II From Outside Canada

To apply online you will need a valid Credit Card and a Scanner so you can scan and electronically submit any required documents.

To apply on paper you should download and read Guide IMM 5487: Applying for a Work Permit Outside Canada. Go to to read the guide.

When you receive your offer of employment from an eligible Canadian employer, you may also require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which is a document from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that authorizes your employer to hire a temporary worker from abroad.

You may sometimes only need your offer of employment number from your employer if an LMIA is not required.

You may also need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) depending on which country you are applying from. Go to to see whether you need a TRV. If you do not need a TRV, go to this page on to see if you need an eTA.

Remember, a temporary work permit is only a permit to work in Canada. It does not give you the right to enter Canada. For that – unless you are from a visa-exempt country – you will need a TRV, or you will need an eTA. Your eTA or TRV will be issued at the same time as your work permit.

You will need a valid passport or travel document in all cases.

III As you enter Canada

This option is only available if you are applying from a country for which Canada does NOT require Visitor Visas. Go to to see whether your country is a visa-exempt country when it comes to visiting Canada.

If you are eligible for this option you will also need:

  • An LMIA or an offer of employment number
  • Proof you have the qualifications and experience for the job you will be doing in Canada
  • A valid medical certificate if required for the job or if you are from a country for which Canada requires one
  • A valid passport or other travel document

Step 5: Pay your Fees

Go to to see your payment options depending on where you are applying from. You may be able to pay your fees in local currency.

Remember to print your Fee Payment Receipt if you pay online. Or to save your Fee Payment Receipt if you pay at a bank, etc.

Step 6: Submit your Application

If submitting a paper application: Place your application form, your supporting documents, and your Fee Payment Receipt in a 23 cm X 30.5 cm (9″ x 12″) envelope. Do NOT use a prepaid envelope. Go to and scroll down to step 5: Submit your application where you will find the tool to determine where to send your application.

If you require any assistance please contact Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Mary Zhang at Maxcan’s offices in Markham Ontario at 1-855-212-9641 (inside North America) or 1-416-479-4221 . You can reach us by email at

Posted in Tips and tagged Work Permit

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