How to Obtain a Work Permit

  • Hold a valid passport.
  • Obtain an engagement letter from a U of T faculty member. The total stipend amount must be indicated, regardless of funding source. IRCC must be sure that financial support will be sufficient for any individual entering Canada. U of T’s minimum stipend of $35,000 allows you to prove that you have adequate support after arriving in Canada. If you are receiving funding from a source outside Canada, and/or U of T, such as a fellowship from your home country, university, a corporation, or research fund, the funding source and stipend must be indicated in the engagement letter.
  • Obtain an Employee ID number from your U of T department.
  • In some cases, obtain a letter from your home institution that states that you have completed all degree requirements. If you have already graduated, a copy of your transcripts should suffice.
  • Complete the online IRCC work permit application.

Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and your work permit before leaving your home country. See the list of persons requiring Temporary Resident Visas. Postdocs who do not require a TRV will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). All international postdocs are expected to have an eTA, unless they are citizens of the United States, or require a TRV to enter Canada.

US citizens are eligible to apply for a work permit at the Canadian port of entry. Other international postdocs may be eligible to apply for a work permit as they enter Canada, but we recommend applying outside Canada as the safest method. It is the postdoc’s responsibility to obtain the required valid legal documentation for IRCC.

Can I obtain a Work Permit for my Spouse or Partner?

If your postdoc appointment is for six months or longer, your spouse (husband, wife or common-law partner) may qualify for an “open” work permit. To apply for an open work permit, spouses or partners must provide IRCC with an application fee and the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Work permit of the postdoc spouse or partner

If you are common law, you may need to complete a Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union form in order to obtain your spouse’s open work permit. Your spouse or partner’s permit will be valid for the same period as your authorization to train in Canada.

For more immigration information and the current application fee, please visit the IRCC website.

Can I extend my Work Permit?

If you wish to extend your work permit or stay in Canada, you need to complete a IRCC work permit application to extend your stay. This application can be used to extend your stay with U of T, change the conditions of the stay, change your type of temporary status or amend application and contact information.

You must consult with your business officer, who will be working with HR Immigration to submit the request for an Employer ID number on your behalf; you will not be able to renew your permit without this number.

The application needs to be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry date on your current work permit. This also applies to the postdoc’s spouse and dependents who are currently in Canada and want to obtain a work permit. Please note: the wait times for work permit renewals can be as long as four months or more. You will not be able to extend your OHIP health coverage until you receive the new work permit, although you will be able to remain in Canada on “implied status” as long as you applied 30 days prior to the expiry of your original work permit. If you are on implied status, you will be able to continue to work and receive your salary as long as you do not leave and re-enter the country on this status.