PGWP extension: How to proceed?

May 11, 2018

Its officially graduation time for many students in Canada and many of you are looking to stay in Canada after graduation.  For international students on a study permit, this means that you need to apply for a post graduate work permit in order to be legally able to stay and  work in Canada after you graduate.


The post-graduate work permit is a one-time chance to gain valuable Canadian work experience after finishing your degree. The Canadian work experience you gain through this permit is also a key factor in obtaining permanent residency.


We often hear horror stories of students who studied in Canada for a 3 year program and only get 1 year on their post-graduate work permit. Even worse, some students fail to meet the deadline to apply for a post-graduate work permit and thus, miss their chance to obtain one. 

If you're a graduating student looking to obtain a post-graduate work permit, we are here to help! Here's our best tips to help you obtain your post-graduate work permit:


  • No job offer needed: You do not need a job offer from an employer in order to be eligible for a post-graduate work permit. The post-graduate work permit is similar to an open work permit, which means you are not limited to one employer.

  • Apply early: You must apply for your post-graduate work permit within 90 days of receiving your program completion letter. Your study permit must also still be valid when you submit your application.

  • If your passport expires soon: You should think of renewing your passport as you will only obtain a post graduate work permit for the remainder of the validity of your passport. (Ex. you are eligible for a 3 year post-graduate work permit but your passport expires in 2 years, your permit will only be valid for 2 years, and you will have to reapply to obtain the remainder).

  • Explain anything that is unusual: You should write a letter of explanation to clear out anything that may seem unusual about your application. For example, some Quebec students started studying without a certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) and their school credited their studies. It is necessary to explain anything that seems out of the ordinary, or else you might not obtain a 3 year work permit.

  • To maximize a 3 years post-graduate work permit: If you are trying to use two diplomas to maximize the length of your post-graduate work permit, make sure that you show the completion letters and transcripts for both studies. The officer will only grant you a 3 year work permit if you have studied in Canada for 2 years or more.

  • If you are going to the border: If you are looking to obtain your post-graduate work permit at the Canadian border, you must do so at the designated times.

  • You can work full-time while waiting for your permit: If you submitted your application for your post-graduate work permit before your study permit expired and you have completed your study program, you may start working while waiting for a decision to be made on your work permit application.

  • Additional documents may be required: If the officer requires additional documentation before issuing your work permit, you will only have 7 days to submit them, so check your account often!







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