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PGWP Canada – Requirements, Documents & Processing Time

Updated on 28 March, 2024

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

After completing their degrees in Canada, international students have 180 days to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). Students are eligible to apply for PGWP only if their study permit or visa has been valid at some point during the 180 days. It is granted for a minimum of 8 months to a maximum of 3 years.


Canada is very particular about the eligibility criteria for post-graduation work permits for international students. To apply on time, it is important to have a sound understanding of the eligibility requirements in Canada for a post-graduation work permit.

Read More: What is Visitor Visa in Canada?

Apply for a PGWP Before the Expiration of Your Study Permit

International students need a valid permit to stay in Canada post-studies. If the study permit of the international students expires before the declaration of final marks, they have the below-given two options in which they can extend their stay.

  1. Apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada for an extended period till the final marks are declared.
  2. Leave Canada and then apply for a post-graduation work permit.

Students must pay an additional CAD 605 to restore the study permit.   Moreover, graduates who apply for a post-graduation work permit before the expiry of their study permit are eligible to work full-time without a work permit while waiting for a decision on their application. 

Recommended Read: Study in Canada

Who can Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

  1. International students can apply for a post-graduation work permit only when their study permit or student visa is valid. 
  2. International students with visitor cards can apply for a PGWP.

International students have the option to apply for a PGWP from outside Canada as well. If a student decides to return to their home country upon completing their studies, they can still apply for a work permit. However, the visa officer can ask for additional documents.

Application Details

Here is a quick rundown of the application details for PGWP Canada:

  • If you desire to restore your student status and PGWP, you will have to pay CAD 605
  • Usually, the online application processing will consume 163 days. 
  • The processing time for paper-based applications is 146 days. 
  • The applicant will be charged CAD 255 (which includes CAD 155 as the base fee and CAD 100 as the ‘Open Work Permit Holder’ fee)

When Should I Apply?

A student has up to 180 days upon completing their graduation to apply for a PGWP. Moreover, If a student does not change their status to a visitor and their study permit expires, they have up to 90 days after their study permit expires to apply for a PGWP and restore their status as a student.

Read More: Degree or Diploma in Canada – Which is best fit for you

Processing Time for Post-graduation Work Permit Canada

A post-graduation work permit or PGWP can take 80 to 180 days to process. One is free to work in Canada while waiting for their PGWP, provided they applied for it before the expiry date of their student permit. A student has 180 days to apply for their PGWP from the completion date of all the requirements of their program of study.

Who is NOT eligible for a post-graduation work permit?

  1. International aspirations that have already received a post-graduation work permit are not eligible for a new one.
  2. General courses, personality, or self-improvement programs are not eligible under PGWP. Students with a recognized degree or certificate will be eligible.
  3. International students who have taken a distance learning course for most of their tenure.
  4. Students at a non-Canadian university in Canada are not eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

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Requirements for Post-graduation Work Permit Canada

International students need to fulfill the following criteria to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada: 

  • Applicants must have completed their studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program that lasted at least eight months at an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI) List.
  • The applicant’s study program must lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • The applicant must have held a full-time student status in Canada during every academic session of the course of study completed and included as part of their post-graduation work permit application.
  • The applicant should have received an official letter and a transcript from the eligible DLI confirming that they had met the requirements to complete their program of study. This official letter and transcript must be included in a post-graduation work permit application.
  • The applicant must have graduated from a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade or technical school, or university. 

What Happens if Your Passport Expires Before Your PGWP?

The government will offer a PGWP only for the period until the validation of the passport. The PGWP is valid for only the remaining tenure of passport validity.

The students must extend their passports if they want a valid work permit. When the passport is renewed and extended, the PGWP will be fully valid.

The following two scenarios are possible if your passport expires before your PGWP should:

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Special Cases to Attain a Post-Graduation Work Permit

1. Accelerated Programs

Non-Canadian students can apply for a post-graduation work permit when they complete a program in less time than the normal program duration. They will get the PGWP for the entire program duration. For example, if a student completes a program of 1 year in 8 months, they may get the PGWP for one year.  

2. Distance Learning

If students take up distance learning for 50% of the course, they can earn a post-graduation work permit. The PGWP will include both distance learning and full-time course duration. So, if students study one year at distance learning and one year at full time, they will get a PGWP of 2 years.

3. Transfers between Educational Institutions

If you have been transferred between schools, the following two situations need to be taken care of:

a) If students have been transferred between designated learning institutes and taken at least 8 months of a full-time course, they can apply for a post-graduation work permit.

b) When students transfer from a non-designated learning institute to a designated learning institute, only the tenure of the DLI course or specialization will be counted. The students will receive PGWP based on their tenure at DLI and not non-DLI.

4. Overseas Components

When students studying at Canadian universities have an overseas component, they will receive PGWP only when they earn credit from Canadian universities.

5. Flight School

A flight school candidate should complete a flight training course at a DLI training center and have a Canadian pilot’s license.

Recommended Read: BBA in Canada | Reasons for Canada Student Visa RejectionHow to Get Canada PR from India?

Supporting Documents

International students can receive a post-graduation work permit with the help of a few documents. They are:

  1. A formal letter from the educational institution stating the tenure of the course or program, program code, and type.
  2. A degree certificate that proves the successful completion of a program.
  3. An official transcript from a private institution.

Meeting the eligibility criteria for a post-graduation work permit in Canada may seem a little difficult but it can be simplified if you stay updated with the process from the start of your course. There are various conditions, criteria, and exceptional cases that every international student must know. For assistance regarding the eligibility criteria, students can also get in touch with a counselor from upGrad Abroad.

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upGrad Abroad has tied-up with several leading universities in Canada to bring a portfolio of new-age study programs. To know more, get in touch with our counsellors.

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What is a post-graduation work permit in Canada?

The Post-graduation Work Permit is an open work permit that allows international students who have completed their graduation to work for any Canadian employer without requiring a job offer. The validity of the PGWP is up to three years. A person’s actual length of PGWP is based on the length of their educational program in Canada. A PGWP’s foremost benefit is that it enables international graduates to gain professional work experience in Canada, making it easier for them to apply for Canadian immigration in the future.

How to apply for a post-graduation work permit in Canada?

After your institute has published your final marks, you have 180 days to apply for a PGWP in Canada. You should get all your documents ready before you apply, such as your degree or diploma, an official letter from your institute, an official transcript, or a copy of your transcript from your institute’s website, etc. In most cases, the application for PGWP can be done online, but depending on your location at the time, you might be required to apply on paper.

Can I extend my PGWP in Canada?

The Post-graduation Work Permit is a one-time opportunity for international graduates, and one cannot apply for an extension. Usually, a PGWP lasts as long as the holder’s study program. For instance, if someone did a one-year credential, they get a PGWP for one year. The maximum validity of a PGWP is three years.

How long does it take to get a PGWP?

Once you have applied for a PGWP in Canada, it will get processed anywhere between 80 to 180 days. During this waiting period, you will be allowed to work in Canada, but only if you had applied for the PGWP before your student permit expired.

Does PGWP get rejected?

Yes, a PGWP application can get rejected due to many reasons such as unauthorized work, absence of an educational transcript, study gap, expiration of study permit, studying at non-eligible PGWP schools, etc.

Can I bring my family to Canada on a work permit?

If you are a post-graduation work permit holder, your spouse and/or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for an open work permit under the C41 exemption for spouses and common-law partners of skilled workers.

How can PGWP help to immigrate to Canada?

A post-graduation work permit is a wonderful way to gain working experience in Canada. It adds extra credits to your CV and earns you additional points while applying for permanent residence. If your goal is to settle in Canada, then a PGWP can take you closer to actualizing your dream and getting a good job. Certain immigration programs have options for candidates with Canadian work experience, such as – Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, Provincial Nominee Programs, Quebec Immigration Options.

How much is the validity of PGWP?

The validity duration of a post-graduation work can be between eight months and three years. It must be noted that a PGWP will not be issued for a period longer than the course duration of the applicant and it can be up to three years maximum. Provided that more than 50% of the program of study is conducted via in-person classes, the applicant is eligible for a PGWP equal to the duration of the same. If an applicant has studied part-time or did accelerated studies, the length of their PGWP will be the length of their program if taken full-time.

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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