I am an international student. How can I stay in Canada after I graduate?

You may be able to stay in Canada if you are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit. 

The Post-Graduation Work Permit is for graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions who have completed a program of at least 8 months.  The work permit is valid for the same length as your academic program, up to a maximum of 3 years.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit, you must have:

  • Studied full time in Canada and completed an academic program that lasted at least eight months;
  • Completed your program successfully and received a notification that you are eligible to receive your degree, diploma or certificate; and
  • Graduated from a public institution, select private post-secondary institutions or a private institution that is authorized to award degrees (and you were in a degree program).

Application Process

To apply for the Work Permit you must have a valid student visa and apply within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you have completed the requirements of your academic program.

You must include the following documents with your application:

  • Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
  • A photocopy of your passport pages showing your passport number, the dates of issue and expiry, name and date of birth and stamp by Canadian authorities on your most recent entry to Canada
  • A document stating that you have completed the requirements of your academic program such as a final transcript, letter from your institution or a formal notification of graduation
  • A receipt for the application fee
  • The completed document checklist

If you receive a job offer before you receive your Post-Graduation Work Permit, you can start working if you have a valid off-campus work permit.

If you would like to immigrate to Canada permanently, you can find out about your options in the article: I am an international student. Can I apply for permanent residence?

For More Information

  • Post-Graduation Work Permits – This webpage provides basic information about the Post-Graduation Work Permit and includes links to other important documents. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • International Students - This webpage has information about coming to Ontario as an international student, and working while you study and after you graduate. From the Ontario Immigration website.
  • IRCC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Last updated: July 13, 2016 4003699