Important Notice: Flagpoling
Given the current restriction on all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border, we are advising all students – including those with U.S. citizenship – not to flagpole at a US/Canada land border in order to apply for their work permits. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has confirmed that travelling for the purpose of obtaining immigration services is non-essential. We are therefore recommending that students apply online for their work permits at this time.
Before reviewing the information below, please see ISS' COVID-19 FAQs and resources pages for up to date information on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration related matters.
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
In order to apply you must meet the following requirements:
IMPORTANT! The date of completion of your academic program is NOT the same as the date of convocation (your graduation ceremony). Your official date of completion of studies generally occurs before your convocation date.
IMPORTANT! You can only obtain a PGWP once in your lifetime.
Proof of Completion of Program Requirements
Your degree is officially granted once McGill Senate has met to approve degrees. For exact dates as to when Senate will meet, please see the McGill Senate website under Meeting dates. If your last term is:
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 > Proof of Enrolment/Graduation).
In addition to your Proof of Graduation letter, you must also include your official printed transcript with the degree granted remarks.
If you have circumstances that require you to apply for PGWP before Senate has met to confirm graduation, please contact Service Point to request a special letter confirming that you have completed your program. Please note that in order to receive a letter confirming degree completion from Service Point, you must demonstrate that there are extenuating circumstances that require you to obtain proof of program completion before Senate meets. Extenuating circumstances could be one of the following:
Please note that you can only request this exception letter after your final grades have been posted on Minerva OR your final thesis/project has been accepted by your department.
If you wish to apply for a PGWP, you must do so within 180 days from the first date you receive official written confirmation of completion of studies (either Senate meeting date or letter from Service Point, whichever comes first). You can apply for your PGWP as soon as you have proof of completion of your program requirements. You do not have to wait the 180 days to apply.
Within the 180 days from the date you apply for your PGWP, you must hold or have held a valid Study Permit. If your study permit expired prior to you receiving proof of completion of studies, you will not have the full 180 days from proof of completion of your studies to apply for your PGWP.
YOUR DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR YOUR PGWP IS:
whichever comes first.
The examples below illustrate how to calculate the PGWP application deadline.
CASE SCENARIO 1: Study Permit expires after receiving proof of completion of studies
Mohammed’s last registered term was Fall 2018. The expiry date on his study permit is August 31, 2019. His degree was granted on February 21, 2019.
When is his deadline to apply for the PGWP? His deadline to apply for his PGWP is August 21, 2019. This is because 180 days from February 21, 2019, when his degree was granted, is August 21, 2019. Watch out! Mohammed’s study permit becomes invalid 90 days from proof of completion of his studies.
See section on When does my Study Permit become invalid below and timeline below:
The earliest Mohammed can apply for his PGWP is on February 21, 2019, once his degree has been granted. The latest he can apply is August 21, 2019, which is 180 days from when his degree was granted.
CASE SCENARIO 2: Study Permit expires before receiving proof of completion of studies
Ana’s last registered term was Summer 2018. Her study permit expired on August 31, 2018. Her degree was granted on October 24, 2018.
When is her deadline to apply for the PGWP? Her deadline to apply for her PGWP is February 27, 2019. This is because she must have held a valid study permit 180 days from the date she applies for the PGWP. 180 days from August 31, 2018, which is when her study permit expired, is February 27, 2019. Watch out! Ana does not have until April 21, 2019 to apply for her PGWP.
See timeline below:
The earliest Ana can apply for her PGWP is on October 24, 2018 once her degree has been granted. The latest she can apply is February 27, 2019, which is 180 days from the expiry of her study permit.
You can apply for your PGWP either from within Canada or from outside of Canada. Depending on where you apply from and what you choose to do during those 180 days, there are important consequences to be aware of.
If you do not apply for your PGWP while your study permit is still valid, you must do one of the following before your study permit becomes invalid:
You can apply for a post graduation work permit, Online OR at a Port of Entry (Land Border* or Airport**)
*Canada/US land border (Lacolle/Champlain, St. Armand/Phillipsburg, or Stanstead).
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 fees. 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 have applied for your PGWP (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:
Once you arrive at the Canadian border, the following scenarios may happen:
Note: It is possible that you will not be able to enter Canada. The decision to allow you to enter Canada while your PGWP application is pending is at the discretion of the border services officer.