Post-Graduation Work Permit



Students who have completed a McGill degree can obtain a Post Graduation Work Permit. The Post Graduation Work Permit is an open work permit, with the following benefits:

  • no job offer requirement

  • a duration of up to 3 years (depending on the official length of program completed)

  • eligibility for Provincial Healthcare (information on applying for healthcare in Quebec can be found here)

For complete details, visit the Immigration Canada website.

INSTRUCTIONS - HOW, WHERE, WHEN to APPLY

Eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit

In order to apply you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must have continuously studied in a full-time program of study in Canada, with the exception of your last academic semester (Please see: Final Academic Session).
  2. You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program (for example, a transcript or an official letter -see below).
  3. Your study permit must be valid at the time of application. 
     

IMPORTANT!  The date of completion of your academic program is NOT the same as the date of convocation (your graduation ceremony).  Do NOT wait until convocation to apply, as convocation may occur more than 90 days after you have completed the requirements for your program.

PLEASE NOTE: You can only apply for a PGWP once in your lifetime.
If you plan to complete more than 1 degree/diploma/certificate in Canada, consider carefully when it would be most strategic to take advantage of this one-time opportunity.
 


Official Letter confirming Completion of Program Requirements

Undergraduate Students:
If you need this letter before Senate has met (to confirm graduation), you can request this letter online here, but first:

  1. Make sure your final grades have been posted on Minerva.
  2. If your graduation application is "pending", contact your Faculty to ask if they can confirm your graduation early (you may need to explain that this is necessary for immigration reasons).  Your Faculty advisor must update your status on Minerva.
  3. Apply online for your PGWP letter from Service Point (please allow 3-5 business days for processing)

After Senate has met to confirm your graduation, you can generate a letter directly from Minerva that confirms that you have met all the requirements to graduate (Minerva: Student Menu > Student Records > Letters-Proof of Enrolment).


Graduate Students:

If you need this letter before Senate has met (to confirm graduation), you can request this letter online here, but only once your final thesis/project has been accepted by your department, or your final grades have been posted (for non-thesis students). 

  • Your PGWP letter will take 3-5 business days for processing.

After Senate has met to confirm your graduation, you can generate a letter directly from Minerva that confirms that you have met all the requirements to graduate (Minerva: Student Menu > Student Records > Letters-Proof of Enrolment).
 

How to Apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit

You can apply for a post graduation work permit, Online OR At a Port of Entry (Terrestrial/Land Border* or Airport)

*Canada/US terrestrial border (Lacolle/Champlain, St. Armand/Phillipsburg, or Stanstead)


Applying At a Port of Entry:

To be eligible to apply at the border, you must be TRV-exempt*

*Even if you were required to have a TRV/Entry Visa to enter Canada, you are TRV-exempt if you are traveling only to the US and back with a valid Study Permit or Work Permit - see IRPA Section 190 (3) (f)).  Please note, however, that not all agents are familiar with this exception and may require you to apply online once you're in Canada. This is why we recommend that foreign nationals who require a TRV because of their nationality apply only at the US/Canada Land Border - Lacolle/Champlain . All other nationalities that do not require a TRV can apply at any Port of Entry. 

 Please bring the following documents:

1.  Valid Passport (The PGWP can not be granted past the validity of your passport. If your PGWP was granted for a shorted period of time than you were eligible for - because your passport was expiring - you will need to apply for a new work permit and pay the fees again, once you have obtained your new passport. You should include a letter of explanation stating that your PGWP expire prematurely because of the expiry date of your previous passport)

2.  Valid Study Permit
3.  Letter from Minerva or Service Point confirming that you have completed all the requirements of your program of study
4.  Official Transcripts in a sealed envelope showing final grades/results (border officials occasionally request these).
4.  $155 + new $100 fee (as of Feb. 21, 2015) = $255 (payable by cash, credit card or Canadian debit)

Optional documents: Immigration officers occasionally ask students whether they have enough money to pay for their living costs while looking for work. It is recommended to have a copy of your latest bank statement or any other document proving that you have sufficient funds to pay your rent while looking for work (there is no specific amount required by Immigration Canada).

If you do not have access to a car, there is a bus service to the Canada/US border from Montreal.

Applying Online

  1. Determine your eligibility to apply online for the PGWP here. 
  2. Once approved for online application apply through your MyCIC account
  3. Assemble your documents according to your personalised MyCIC document checklist, and follow the subsequent steps. 

As of February 5, 2016, students may now apply online either from within Canada, or from outside Canada. Please bear in mind that processing times (work permit - new employer) will vary by country


Once you have applied online and are waiting to receive your PGWP you begin to work full-time provided that:

a) you hold or held a valid study permit at the time you applied for your PGWP, and
b) have already applied for your PGWP from within Canada

Please note: We recommend that you remain in Canada while you wait for your Post Graduation Work Permit. 
 

 Your Post Graduation Work Permit and Your Temporary Resident Visa

  • If your current TRV (Entry Visa) says "Student" and is still valid, you will not need a new TRV if you are changing your status to "Worker". Your TRV is valid regardless of whether it was issued to you as a student or worker. You can enter Canada with a TRV – “student” with a work permit.
  • If you apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada, and your TRV or eTA expires you will be automatically issued a new TRV or eTA. You do not need to complete a separate application or pay additional feed. It will be issued by the officer at the same time as the documents you need for your entry to Canada as a worker (see Immigration Canada website). 
  • If you apply for your PGWP from inside of Canada, you will NOT be issued a TRV or an eTA automatically. You must apply separately for your TRV or eTA if they are expired. 

Traveling while waiting to receive your PGWP 

If you have applied for  your post-graduation work permit (and your study permit has expired) and you plan on traveling outside Canada while your application is in process, you can leave Canada and return.

However, in order to return and enter Canada, you must be:

  1. have a valid eTA OR
  2. have a valid TRV to enter Canada OR
  3. be a Citizen of the United States (exempt from both the eTA and TRV).  
     

Once you arrive at the Canadian border, 1 of 3 following scenarios may happen:

  1. You may be allowed to return and enter Canada, as a temporary resident, if Immigration Canada has not yet made a decision on your post-graduate work permit application.  The officer at the port of entry may ask you to prove that you have enough financial capacity to support yourself in Canada.
  2. You may be allowed to return and enter Canada as a worker, if the officer at the port of entry finds out that Immigration Canada has granted your work permit while you were away.
  3. You may be asked to apply for a new work permit at the port of entry, if eligible.  
     

Note:  It is possible that you will not be able to enter Canada. The final decision is made at the border by the border services officer.