Apply for Work Permit Inside Canada

Apply for a work permit inside CanadaMercy is a citizen of Kenya. She travelled to Canada last month with her husband. Mercy’s husband is an international student in Canada. Consequently, Mercy holds a Visitor Record that is valid for the next two years. Unfortunately, her Visitor Record does not allow her to work in Canada. Since she needs the income to help with their household expenses, she wonders if she could apply for a work permit inside Canada.

The government of Canada allows every work permit applicant to submit their application for work before entering Canada. Of course, they need to wait for the results. If approved, they may then travel to Canada and receive their work permit document at a port of entry (POE). However, under certain circumstances, you may apply for a work permit upon arriving in Canada or after entry. For the latter, keep reading this article. For the former visit the following page:

Who may apply for a work permit after entry?

You may apply for a work permit after entering Canada if you

  1. are studying in Canada with a valid study permit,
  2. are working in Canada with a valid work permit,
  3. hold a temporary resident permit (TRP) that is valid for six months or more,
  4. are not a business visitor but legally working in Canada without a permit,
  5. a dependent child, a spouse, or a common-law partner of any of the people mentioned above,
  6. are applying for a work permit under NAFTA,
  7. have received a positive referral from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
  8. applied for a work permit before entering Canada and the application was approved in writing but IRCC has not issued the permit [practitioners see R199],
  9. a refugee claimant waiting for the Refugee Protection Division hearing (some exceptions apply),
  10. hold a removal order that is not enforceable [practitioners see R206],
  11. applied for permanent residency under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class,
  12. a protected person,
  13. have successfully passed stage one of an H&C application,
  14. a dependent child, a spouse, or a common-law partner of any of the people mentioned on rows k to m [practitioners see R207], or
  15. a vulnerable worker or a family member of a vulnerable worker [practitioners see R207.1].

What documents do I need?

Depending on the nature of your application, you may need some or all of the following documents:

  • An LMIA or a file number that shows you are exempt from an LMIA (for employer-oriented jobs)
  • A copy of the documents that show you are eligible for applying from inside Canada (e.g. a copy of your valid study permit or your spouse’s work permit)
  • Identity documents such as passports, digital photos, etc.
  • Relationship documents such as a marriage certificate
  • Completed form IMM 5710 (Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker)
  • If you are in a common-law relationship, you may need to complete the Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union form [IMM 5409]
  • If you have a representative the Use of a Representative form [IMM 5476] and a submission letter by your representative

Of course, this list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. Depending on your particular circumstances, the list could change.  Regardless, you may apply online or in the paper, depending on your circumstances.

What if I am not eligible to apply after entry?

If you are inside Canada, but you are not eligible to apply for a work permit from inside Canada, consider one of the following options.

  • Leave Canada and apply from outside Canada. You may go back to Canada, only when the officer makes a final decision about your application.
  • Go to a land crossing (POE) between Canada and the United States and apply for a work permit there. We call this practice flagpoling. You need to hold a valid or implied status while making such a move.
  • Send your package in paper to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in New York. You may do so only if you already hold valid biometrics. You also preferably need to hold a valid visa to the United States, in case you need to visit the VAC in person.

I prefer the first option.

Biometrics for in-Canada applicants

Starting December 3, 2019, if you are applying from inside Canada you may need to give biometrics. Read the following article for more information:

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Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.