Work Permit

Working part-time on and off campus

Co-op Work Permit

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Work permit for spouses of international students

Applying for a Social Insurance Number

Working part-time on and off campus

If you hold a valid study permit, you can work part-time on campus, while you are registered in a full-time study term. In order to work part-time off campus (up to 20 hours/week), and work full-time during scheduled study breaks, you must be a full-time degree student with a valid study permit. If you meet the eligibility criteria and your study permit has a condition or remark regarding working in Canada, a work permit is not required for on and off campus employment. If this type of condition or remark is not there, and you have questions about rectifying this, speak with an International Student Advisor

Exchange students and students studying in an English as a second language (ESL) program are not permitted to work off campus. 

Co-op Work Permit

If you are in a co-op program, you must obtain a Co-op Work Permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) prior to undertaking employment on your first co-op work placement. It is important to maintain your Co-op Work Permit status during all of your co-op work terms required to complete your degree. You cannot be issued a Co-op Work Permit if you do not have a valid study permit.

You cannot use your Co-op Work Permit for work that is not a degree required co-op work term.

Contact Co-operative Education regarding finding a co-op position and the Waterloo co-op experience.

Application instructions in Canada

  1. Create/sign in to your account.
  2. Select apply for work permit.
  3. Select determine your eligibility and apply online for a work permit to answer the eligibility questions. If you also need to apply for a study permit, you can apply for these permits together.
  4. Tip: If you are only applying for the co-op work permit, when asked "What would you like to do in Canada?", you would select 'Work'.
  5. You will be required to provide an official co-op letter from the University of Waterloo stating co-op work terms are a requirement of your degree program. If you have not started your degree, or you are in your very first term of your degree, you can use your Letter of Acceptance from Waterloo as your co-op letter. We recommend highlighting “Internship” at the bottom of the page; only for the co-op letter file.
  • If you are a student in the Faculty of Mathematics, and you are in your second term or higher, contact Cathy Stein for your co-op letter.
  • If you are a student in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Arts, Engineering, Environment, or Science, and are in your second term or higher, contact the International Employment Specialist for your co-op letter.
  1. You will need to provide additional supporting documents.
  2. There is no application fee for the Co-op Work Permit.
  3. Keep all files used in your application for your records.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program that allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to work in Canada for up to three years after completion of degree requirements if you meet the PGWP eligibility criteria.  It is important to note that when you apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit you should have continuously studied full time in Canada.

To qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you must also submit your application within 90 days of completion of your degree requirements and have a valid study permit at the time of application. The PGWP can only be held once in a lifetime. If you think you may pursue another post-secondary program in the near future, please speak to an International Student Advisor about your options.

Completion of degree requirements for undergraduate students begins on the date official term grades are available on Quest. If you are a graduate student, check with the Graduate Studies Office for the official date of your completion. 

If your study permit will not be valid at the time you apply for the Post Graduation Work Permit, you need to apply to extend your study permit to remain in Canada for an extra 90 days after you complete your degree requirements to be eligible to apply for this work permit.

Application instructions

  1. Create/sign in to your account.
  2. Select apply for work permit.
  3. Select determine your eligibility and apply online for a work permit to answer the eligibility questions.
  4. You will be required to provide either of the following documents from the University of Waterloo proving you have completed your degree requirements:

An official completion of studies letter from the university stating you have met all degree requirements for your program.

OR

An official transcript from the university

  1. You will need to provide additional supporting documents.
  2. Pay the application fees and submit the application.
  3. Keep all files used in your application for your records.

Alternatively, you can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit by mail. If including official transcripts, they need to stay in the sealed envelope.

You can check estimated application processing times on the IRCC website. The IRCC Call Centre is available from within Canada for your questions. You can also use this automated telephone service to find out the status of an application.

Work permit for spouses of international students

If you are a spouse/common-law partner of a full-time international student on a valid study permit and want to work either at the university or off campus, you must hold a work permit. You are eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit for spouses. An Open Work Permit is not job specific. Some types of employment will require your spouse to complete an immigration medical exam. Work permits for spouses are issued for the duration of the student’s study permit. Spouses who change their status to students, or are already students, can review the regulations for working as a student.