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Work Permits for International Post-Docs


Obtaining a Visa
Obtaining a Work Permit
Renewing a Work Permit
Spouse Work Permit



Obtaining a visa to Visit Canada

Some nationalities will need to obtain a temporary visitor's visa before entering Canada. This can be done when you apply for your work permit. If you are a Citizen or Permanent Resident of Non-Visa Country then you will not require a visa but must still obtain a work permit to be employed as a Post-Doc

US Citizens must present appropriate evidence of citizenship (i.e. birth certificate) but, at the present time, do not require a passport. NOTE: This is under current review and all U.S. & Canadian citizens may soon have to carry a passport to travel across the border.

US Green Card Holders whose country of citizenship is that of a non-visa country must present your passport and legal proof of residence.

Obtaining a work permit

If you are an international PDF you will require a work permit to work in Canada. This must be done in advance of your arrival.

To obtain a work permit you will need to go to the Canadian High Commission in your own country with an application form

With your application form you will need to include the following documentation:

  • A valid passport
  • A letter of appointment
  • Copies of your Curriculum Vitae
  • Confirmation of your doctoral degree
  • Evidence of financial support while in Canada

Evidence of financial support is usually a job offer from your new boss confirming your position, pay, duration of appointment. This should at some point say:

“As a Postdoctoral Fellow this position is exempt from advance confirmation of employment under Regulation 205(c)(i) and the confirmation exemption C44 of the Immigration Manual.”

The processing fee for the work permit is currently $150(CAD). Once processed you should receive a letter confirming that your application has been successful. You will need to give this to the immigration officer at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada. They will then issue you your work permit.



Renewing a work permit

All requests for extension of previously issued work permits are processed through the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Vegreville, Alberta. Requests must be submitted by mail, at least four to six weeks in advance of the expiry date of the current permit as, normally, it takes 25 working days for the CPC to process an application.
NOTE: it took my (bcoe) visa more than 2 months to get renewed so planning ahead is a good idea. Also, if you use your contract with Queens (which is generally only for 1 year) your work permit will expire EVERY YEAR. This means you will have to renew your work permit, SIN Card, & OHIP Card every year. Instead of using a Queens contract you can get your "employer" (i.e. PI) to write a 'letter of appointment' stating a longer term of employment and save yourself a lot of money and waisted time.

Application kits can be obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site or by calling the call centre in Vancouver, British Columbia (1-888-242-2100).

When completing the application form, carefully review it to avoid errors of any kind (eg, incorrect processing fees; omission of your signature, etc). Errors can result in the application being returned without processing, which will cause additional delays.

You will need to pay the $150 (CND) processing fee each time you renew your work permit.

Spouse Work Permit

If your PDF appointment is for six months or longer, your spouse (husband, wife or common-law partner) will qualify for an "open" work permit without the need for job confirmation from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

In the National Occupational Classification the code for PDFs is 4122 (Skill Level A-4122). Your spouse’s permit will be valid for the same period as your authorization to train in Canada

Full details can be obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site. You will also need a form to declare a common law partnership.

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