Off-Campus Work Permit - International Degree-Seeking Students

*The following information is subject to change. See http://www.cic.gc.ca for official information and updates.

The Off-Campus Work Permit [OWCP] Program for international students came into effect on April 27, 2006. Eligible international degree-seeking students may now apply for work permits to work off-campus while completing their studies at participating post-secondary institutions. As of February 3, 2009, Citizenship & Immigration Canada [CIC] has implemented a new application procedure. The following information is a guide to the new procedures.

How do I know if I am eligible?

To be eligible for a work permit under this program you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • have a valid study permit;
  • have studied full-time at a post-secondary institution for at least six out of the twelve months preceding your application to work off campus [co-op terms qualify as full-time study at the U of L];
  • have been, and continue to be, registered as a full-time student in an academic program;
  • have maintained a satisactory academic standing in your specific program at the University of Lethbridge; and
  • be currently registered as a full-time student in a degree or certificate program of the U of L.

You are also eligible if you:

  • have previously surrendered an off-campus work permit for which you became ineligible and have met all of the eligibility criteria for full-time study and satisfactory academic study as outlined above.

You are NOT eligible to apply for a work permit under this program if you:

  • are a visiting, exchange, or non-degree student at the U of L;
  • have a partial or full scholarship from:
    • the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT);
    • the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFAIT;
    • the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA);
    • the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, Canada-Chile;
    • the Canadian-China Scholars Exchanges Program;
    • the Organization of American States Fellowship Program;
  • are registered in our English for Academic Purposes [EAP] Program;
  • previously held an off-campus work permit, failed to maintain your eligibility, and failed to surrender your work permit; and
  • have failed to comply with the conditions of your study permit or your work permit.

How do I apply for the off-campus work permit?

You must have your work permit before you can begin working. To apply, please do the following:

Step 1

To determine if you are eligible to apply, please complete CIC’s Self-Assessment Tool on their website.

Step 2

If you determine that you are eligible for the program and wish to apply, please fill out a Request for Off-Campus Work Permit Verification [pdf] form and take the completed form to the International Centre for Students (ICS) office (SU-040) to see an International Student Representative who will confirm your eligibility to apply for the program. You will need to bring your U of L student ID and passport/immigration documents along with the Request for Off-Campus Work Permit Verification form. International Student Representatives are available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 1 pm and 3:45 pm.

You MUST come to the ICS to determine your eligibility for the program. We are NOT able to accept completed Request for Off-Campus Work Permit Verification forms sent by email, regular mail, courier, or fax from any student studying on the U of L Lethbridge campus. We are also NOT able to accept forms submitted by others on the student’s behalf. If you are not able to see an International Student Representative during the posted hours (see paragraph above), email ocwp@uleth.ca for assistance. If you are not studying on the U of L Lethbridge campus, you will need to email ocwp@uleth.ca for further instructions.

If you studied at another participating Canadian institution for at least 6 of the previous 12 months or if you previously applied through another college/university for an off-campus work permit, you must submit an official transcript from that institution as part of your application.

The request form requires you to enter your CIC Client ID number. This is an 8-digit number that can be found printed on your study permit. Please ensure that you enter your CIC Client ID number on your Request for Off-Campus Work Permit Verification form before submitting it to an International Student Representative.

Step 3

International Student Representatives will then review your current eligibility for the program. If your eligibility is confirmed, you will be asked to apply online for verification though CIC’s MyCIC web portal. You can do this from any computer either at home or on campus that has a web browser that meets the web browser requirements.

Step 4

After you apply for verification, the Designated Institutional Representative (DIR) will receive an email that your application is pending and your application will be verified online. Please note that we received your electronic application THE NEXT WORKING DAY after you submit it, so please be patient if we do not confirm your eligibility immediately. After we confirm your eligibility, you will then receive a confirmation email back from CIC in your CIC mailbox, as well as an invitation to proceed with your online application for a work permit. The entire process, including paying the $150 fee by credit card, can be done online and MyCIC will guide you through the process step by step. If you do not have a credit card or do not wish to pay online using a credit card, please request a receipt for payment from an International Student Representative in the ICS (SU-040).

This information is subject to change. See http://www.cic.gc.ca for official information and updates.

Completing the Forms

How to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN): http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/sc/sin/index.shtml

Applying for an Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP)

The Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP) Program for international students came into effect on April 27, 2006. Eligible international degree-seeking students may apply for work permits to work off campus while completing their studies at participating post-secondary institutions.

How do I know if I am eligible? The eligibility requirements are:

  • A valid study permit.
  • Registered as a full-time student through the entire semester in a degree or certificate program at the U of L (NOTE: If you meet all the eligibility requirements, with the exception of full-time status, but you are in your final semester, you are still eligible for the Off-Campus Work Permit Program. Operational Bulletin 193 - April 12, 2010). Full-time for undergraduate students means being registered in a least 9 credits or a Co-op course during the regular academic year (Fall and Spring). Registered graduate (Masters; PhD) students are considered full-time.
  • Completed at least 6 months of full-time study in the past 12 months at a participating institution.
  • Maintained satisfactory academic standing in your program of study (as defined by the U of L - CGPA of over 2.0 for undergraduate students or as specified by faculty; CGPA of over 2.7 for graduate students).

You are NOT eligible if you:

  • Are a visiting, exchange, or non-degree (open studies) student.
  • Are registered in the University's English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program.
  • Previously held an off-campus work permit, failed to maintain your eligibility, and failed to surrender your work permit. However, if you become ineligible for the program and surrender your work permit, you may reapply for a work permit if you meet the eligibility requirements at a later date.

How do I apply for the off-campus work permit?

  1. Review the Instruction Guide - assess your eligibility, conditions of work permit, your responsibilities, and requirements in transferring to another institution.
  2. Complete the attached Request for Off-Campus Work Permit Verification.
  3. Once we review your Request and confirm your eligibility, you will need to create a Government of Canada Access Key and then log on to MyCIC. Your MyCIC account is connected to your Client ID (the 8 digit number with a dash in the middle (0000-0000) found on your study permit).
  4. Request an Eligibility Verification Number (EVN). In MyCIC under "What would you like to do today?" click "Request an Eligibility Verification from my current educatinal institution (school)." If you have studied at another Canadian post-secondary institution and fulfilled the eligibility requirements at that institution in the past six months, apply for an "Eligibility with Transfer". Answer the questions listed and read through the terms and conditions of the application.
  5. Once you have completed your EVN request, your Designated Institutional Representative (DIR) will receive a message from CIC that your application is pending. Your application will be verified online usually by the end of the next business day.
  6. Once we confirm your eligibility, you will receive a confirmation message back from CIC in your MyCIC mailbox that contains your "EVN: Eligibility Verification Number" as well as an invitation to proceed with your online application for a work permit. The process, including paying the $150 fee by credit card, can be done online and MyCIC will guide you through the process step by step. If you do not have a Canadian credit card or do not wish to pay online using a credit card, we can provide you with information on how to pay at a bank.
  7. You will need to scan and save your passport and study permit as one PDF to attach to your application (refer to attached scanning instructions).

How long will it take to process my off-campus work permit?

Processing times vary depending on the time of year. Updated processing times are available on the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/temp.asp

Will I require a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

Yes, a SIN card is necessary to work in Canada. Employers must ask t see the SIN card of all new employees as soon as they are hired. You may apply for a SIN before or within three days of the start to work (you must show the proof of application within three days of the start date of employment) and you may work during the waiting period.

You will need to apply for a SIN from Service Canada. You must provide a valid off-campus work permit as Service Canada will require proof that your are eligible to work in Canada. It is recommended that you apply in person for the card and allow three weeks for processing.

Further information on the application process for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) may be obtained by visiting the Service Canada website.

My Study Permit is expiring soon. Should I extend it before applying for an OCWP?

No, if your study permit is expiring within the next six months, it is recommended that you apply to renew it at the same time as you apply for your OCWP.

What are the conditions of the off-campus work permit?

  • The OCWP will be issued up to the maximum duration of your study permit and is an "open" work permit which will allow you to seek employment anywhere in Canada.
  • You may work up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks. You may only work full-time during the summer term if you are not registered in any courses. If you are registered as a part-time or full-time student during the summer, you may only work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
  • An immigration officer may impose conditions on the type of work you may perform. For example, you must pass an immigration medical exam before you begin work in health care, child care or primary or secondary education.
  • You must continue to fulfill the terms and conditions of your study and work permit.

What are my responsibilities?

Once you are issued an OCWP, it is your responsibility to ensure you maintain your eligibility. If, however, you become ineligible for the program you should: inform your employer that you are no longer authorized to work, and surrender your work permit.

If you transfer to another participating institution, it is your responsibility to ensure that your EVN is transferred from U of L to your new institution.

If you have transferred to teh U of L from another participating institution, it is your responsibility to ensure that your EVN is transferred from your previous institution to the U of L.

Transferring institutions:

If you are an incoming student (to the U of L), and have/had an OCWP and received an EVN from your previous institution and are now transferring the U of L, then you MUST request a "transfer of eligibility verification" through MyCIC. Failure to complete the online transfer will result in you being reported ineligible by your former institution, as you are no longer registered there.

If you are an outgoing student (leaving U of L and going to another institution), and have/had and OCWP and received n EVN from the U of L to another participating institution, then you MUST request a "transfer of eligibility verification" through MyCIC. You should do this when you complete your last semester at the U of L, prior to beginning your new term at another institution. Failure to complete the online transfer will result in you being reported ineligible by the U of L as you will no longer be registered at the U of L.

Transition from off-campus work permits to post-graduation work permits - Important information for students who will soon be graduating:

If you will soon be graduating, you can continue to work using your off-campus work permit (as long as you have a valid study permit and valid off-campus work permitA) for a period of 90 days from the date you complete the requirements for your degree. This 90-day period is meant to coincide with the 90-day period you have in which to apply for a post-graduation work permit. Since processing time for post-graduation work permits varies depending on time of year, if you have a valid off-campus work permit, you may begin your post-graduation work with your off-campus work permit until your post-graduation work permit is issued. Employment during this transition period may be full-time. It is highly recommended that all eligible students in their last semester apply for an off-campus work permit if they intend to commence post-graduation employment immediately upon completion of degree requirements.

Maintaining eligibility in OCWP:

Once you have been issued an OCWP, you must continue to be registered full-time and maintain satisfactory academic standing.

You may be registered part-time in your very last semester only, providing you only need 6 credits or less t meet your degree requirements.

Where can I find more information?

Refer to the OCWP FAQs where you will find more answers to questions students frequently ask about the OCWP program.

This is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Always refer to www.cic.gc.ca for the most current information. Last updated in March 2011.