A simple guide to the Study & Work Permit in Canada
Cooperative education programs (co-op programs) require both a study permit and work permit in Canada. The guide below outlines what you need to do to obtain the correct documents in order to study in one of these unique, professional development programs.
What is a study permit?
A study permit is an official document issued by Immigration Canada which allows foreign nationals to study in Canada for a certain period of time. Usually, studies that are at a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) and for a period longer than 6 months require a study permit.
What is a work permit?
A work permit is also an official document which allows a foreign national to work in Canada, temporarily.
A study & work permit is usually required when a student is registered for a program longer than 6 months and is:
- required to take an internship or co-op work experience component in order to graduate from their program and the co-op placement makes up 50% or less of the overall program
- working on campus
- working off campus
If you plan to take any of our co-op study and work programs, you will be required to apply for both a study and work permit for Canada.
I plan to study less than 6 months, do I need a study permit?
Students do not need a Study Permit for study programs that last 6 months or less. If you plan to study in Canada for longer than 6 months, you must obtain a Study Permit. Students may apply for a Study Permit even if they are going to study for 6 months or less. If students are coming for less than 6 months and are thinking of possibly extending their studies to more than 6 months, they should apply for a Study Permit in their home country. Students can extend their Study Permit from within Canada.
International students who wish to study in Canada for up to 6 months may need a Visitor’s visa depending on the country for which they hold a passport. Please check the list of Countries and Territories Whose Citizens Require Visas in order to enter Canada as visitors.
What are the requirements a co-op study & work permit?
In order to be eligible for a study permit for Canada, you must:
- be enrolled at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- prove you have enough money to pay for your:
- tuition fees
- living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and
- return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada
- obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required)
- are in good health and get a medical exam (if required)
- prove to an immigration officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires
Co-op study programs include work experience as a required part of the curriculum. You can apply for a co-op or intern work permit if:
- you have a valid study permit
- work is required to complete your study program in Canada
- you have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree, and
- your co-op placement or internship totals 50% or less of your study program
You are not eligible for a co-op work permit if you’re taking one of the following:
- English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL),
- general interest courses, or
- courses to prepare for another study program
Your study permit is not a visa. It doesn’t let you enter Canada. You may also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA). If your study permit is approved, Immigration Canada will issue the necessary visa and/or eTA to you along with your study (and work) permit.
Your responsibilities as a student in Canada
While studying in Canada you must:
- make progress towards completing your program
- respect any conditions listed on your study permit
- stop studying if you no longer meet the requirements and
- leave Canada when your permit expires
Depending on your case, there may be conditions on your study permit such as:
- if you’re allowed to work in Canada
- if you’re allowed to travel within Canada
- the date you must stop studying
How can I apply for a study & work permit?
How you apply for a co-op work permit depends on if you already applied for your study permit or not. If you have not already applied for a study permit, you can apply for both permits at the same time prior to your departure to Canada. The processing time depends on which country you are applying from. In all cases, we encourage you to apply online and before you come to Canada.
Before you apply for a study permit, you will need:
- an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI)
- a valid passport or travel document
- proof you can support yourself, and any family members who come with you, while you’re in Canada
2. Read the online instruction guide
Read the instruction guide before you complete your application. The guide will explain how to complete each field on the form.
3. Use the online application tool
The Come to Canada online application will help you start your application and give you specific instructions for preparing your application to study in Canada. Using this tool will generate a personal checklist and personal reference code to be used in your application online.
4. Know the fees you have to pay
In most cases, your fees will include:
- processing fees for you and anyone you include on your application
You are responsible for any third party fees such as fees for medical exams, police certificates etc.
5. Create your account / sign in
Your account lets you start an application, submit and pay for your application, get messages related to your application, check the status of your application and update your information.
How applying online helps you
- No courier fees or mail delivery time – we get your application instantly.
- Your applications may be processed more quickly.
- It helps you make sure your application is complete before you submit it.
- You can quickly submit more documents online (if we ask you to).
- You get updates on the status of your application directly in your online account.
What is International Experience Canada?
International Experience Canada (IEC) permits provide the opportunity of a lifetime for young adults from around the world to experience Canada. Take a working holiday and immerse yourself in Canadian life! Or participate in a professional internship and gain valuable work experience and skills related to your education.
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a program designed to allow youth the opportunity to work in Canada for temporary periods. Citizens of countries with a bilateral Youth Mobility Arrangement with Canada who are between 18 and 35 years old may be eligible for IEC work permits.
The most popular of these permits is the Working Holiday permit which is an open work permit allowing young adults to work and travel in Canada. Be sure to read our guide to the Working Holiday Permit.