How to submit a Canada work permit application

When I published my book, my main goal was to reduce confusion as much as possible. Ironically, we are not suffering from a lack of immigration information to Canada, but too much information. Therefore, finding your way is not easy. Here is another challenging issue. Do you know how to submit a Canada work permit application? Of course, the simple answer is either on paper or in-person or online. However, which option do you pick for your application? Can you select them randomly, or is there a best practice? Without further ado, let’s answer yet another confusing set of questions.

Where to apply for a work permit

The answer to how to submit a work permit application depends on where you apply. Nonetheless, there are three main options:

You most likely don’t have the luxury to pick and choose. Thus, you must see which option is available to you. If you click the links above, you’ll find out about your options. Regardless, here is a summary:

How to submit a work permit application before entering Canada

IRCC recommends the online application option for before entry applicants. However, you may alternatively submit your application on paper to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) near you. While the online application is more common, I cannot say which option is better. Nonetheless, here is some food for thought:

  • When you apply on paper, you must pay the VAC processing fee on top of the IRCC fees.
  • By submitting paper-based applications, you may give biometrics at the time of applying. Of course, you must visit the centre in person for this purpose, rather than mailing the documents. However, when you make the online application, you must later see a VAC and give biometrics. Regardless, if your biometrics are valid, then this second step is not necessary.
  • With an online application, you face file size limitations. Therefore, you may end up not being able to upload some of your documents. Of course, alternatively, you could compromise the quality of your files to upload more information. Honestly, it is a challenge that never ends. Alternatively, with an on-paper application, you leave the hassle to the VAC operator. Of course, your fate depends on how they handle the documents.
  • Sometimes immigration officers refuse an online application because they miss noticing some of your essential documents. However, you may request reconsideration in those cases. Of course, you need to review the officer’s notes to make sure this is the case.
  • Unfortunately, on rare occasions, the VAC misses submitting the complete package to IRCC. Therefore, you could not say on-paper applications are bullet-proof.

As you can see, there is the good, the bad and the ugly about both options. However, I prefer the online application in most cases. It is more convenient after all.

How to submit a work permit at a port of entry

Submitting a work permit at a port of entry is relatively straightforward. Of course, you must prepare a complete package beforehand. If the work permit is LMIA-based, then you must have the LMIA letter with you. However, if it is LMIA exempt, you must have the A number. Nonetheless, for open-work-permits, you must present documents to show you qualify.

Port of entry applications is the fastest way to receive a work permit. However, if your case has complications, then the CBSA officer refuses to process the application. Sometimes, funny things happen at a port of entry. Therefore, apply at a POE only if you are well prepared, especially if you are flagpoling. Of course, if your case has any complications such as inadmissibility to Canada, then stay away from POE applications.

How to submit a work permit after entering Canada

In most cases, your only option for after entry applications are online. However, you may apply on paper if you have a valid excuse. For example, you may use the on-paper option if you could not apply online due to a disability. Regardless, IRCC recommends on-paper applications in the following situations*:

LMIA-exempt applicants

LMIA-required applicants

Visitors to Canada

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If you wonder how to submit a work permit in Canada or face other issues, contact us. Of course, you may, alternatively, book a consultation session with me.

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    * Source: IRCC (subject to change)

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

    The characters and places in the articles:
    All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

    Important Notes:
    For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

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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.