Co‑op work permit

​​International students who must participate in a mandatory co-op, internship, practicum, or placement (i.e. one that is a requirement for their program) must also apply for a co-op work permit. This applies whether the work is on- or off-campus, paid or unpaid, during the academic year or during the summer, and regardless of the number of hours involved.

If you are accepted directly into a program requiring an internship, you can apply for a co-op/internship work permit at the same time as you apply for your initial Study Permit. Once you receive your co-op work permit, you will also need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Because of current processing delays, students are advised to apply (in Canada) for their co-op/internship work permit six months before their internship is due to start. 

Note: This application is fee exempt (i.e. free). 


Step 1: Log into your IRCC account through GCKey or Sign-in partner

If you are a new user, you will need to register for an online account through GCKey or Sign-in Partner

Please save your password and username so you don't forget it.

Step 2: Click on ‘Apply to come to Canada'

You will be asked to enter a Personal Reference Code.  

If you do not already have a code, go to the section, "I do not have a Personal Refence Code" and click on Visitor visa, study and/or work permit

Answer all the questions that follow. Please use the Co-op Work Permit Eligibility Questionaire Guide available in the navigation.

Step 3: Fill in the online application form and gather supporting documentation

1. Complete the IMM 5710 Application form. Validate and save the form as an unsigned copy. You can find the guide to completing IMM5710 in the sidebar.

2. Gather the following supporting documents:

  • digital photo (420x540 pixels)
  • passport (only pages with stamps, visas, photos)
  • co-op letter from department

Each document must be 4MB or less. Once you have all the documents ready, you should save them electronically as a pdf, jpeg or word doc.

Step 4: Upload biometrics receipt (if applicable)

If you paid $85.00 CAD for biometric collection but have not yet completed biometrics, please upload your $85.00 receipt under “Optional Documents-Client Information”. Make sure to indicate YES to biometrics in the online questionnaire or you will be charged again.   

Step 5: Submit the application

Save or print your confirmation of successful transmission for your records.

Important Information

After you submit your application, Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada may contact you for additional documents.  If you are contacted, make an appointment with an International Student Advisor to ensure you respond accurately and punctually to the IRCC request.   


Maintain your permit

The expiry date on your co-op work permit will normally coincide with the expiry date of your study permit. You may renew your co-op work permit at the same time you apply to extend your study permit. Check estimated processing times online but note that these times are not guaranteed.


What is it?
The co-op work permit allows international students to work when the work is for credit and is a required part of your Canadian academic program. A co-op work permit allows students to work full-time during regular school terms. A co-op work permit is different from an off-campus work conditions, and you may hold both if you meet the criteria for each.

A co-op work permit is necessary for paid and unpaid work because co-op work is considered competitive work in Canada.

Why do I need it?
If you are enrolled in a co-op program, you are required to have a co-op work permit before you start your work term. Your co-op work permit will list the employer as “Dalhousie” and will allow you to work for any authorized co-op work term. This work permit only allows you to do the job approved by your co-op program within your co-op work term.  Remember, even if your co-op or internship is unpaid, you still need to apply for a co-op work permit because a co-op/internship is competitive work.

When do I need it?
You may start your application for a co-op work permit as soon as you receive the letter from your co-op coordinator confirming your acceptance into the co-op program at Dalhousie.


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