Co-op or internship work permit


As a temporary measure, some international students eligible to work off-campus can work more than 20 hours a week starting from November 15, 2022, until whichever comes first:

  • The study permit you applied for on or before October 7, 2022, expires
  • The study permit you held on October 7, 2022, expires, if you did not have a study permit application in progress on October 7, 2022
  • December 31, 2023.

Check the FAQ for details.

Immigration and Health Insurance FAQs

If you’re an international student, find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on immigration, health insurance, and more.

On this page:

About CO-OP Work Permits

You must have a co-op work permit if your program requires work, such as a UBC co-op, internship, or practicum, to complete your program requirements.

A co-op work permit allows you to work full-time during academic terms if your work is required for your program and this work is approved by your program. You are typically enrolled in a co-op term, internship, or practicum course.

You do not require a work permit to work on and off campus during studies for non-co-op employment if you meet the specific work requirements. You cannot apply for a co-op work permit for internships that are not required for your program or that are required by external funding organizations.

If you are not sure if your work is required for your academic program, please consult an Academic & Career Advisor or your graduate program advisor. You will need a letter from your faculty or program to apply for a co-op work permit.

If you are eligible for the temporary policy allowing you to work off campus more than 20 hours a week between Nov 15, 2022, and Dec 31, 2023, and your co-op placement will finish during this period, you might be exempt from a co-op work permit. Review the FAQ for important eligibility details.

When to apply for your permit

Start your application for a co-op work permit as soon as you receive an official letter confirming that the work is required for your program of study. Examples are a letter of acceptance into the co-op program or a letter acknowledging that you are required to do the internship as part of your graduate program from your department or graduate program at UBC.

 Do I need a medical exam for my co-op work permit?

If you will be working in jobs that require a medical exam, such as working with children or seniors, in healthcare settings, clinical laboratories, or in agriculture you must complete a medical exam and have the right conditions on your work permit before starting your position.

Make sure you’re eligible to work on your co-op work permit

Before you begin co-op work, you must meet all of the following requirements:

Other considerations

You may also wish to consider the following:

  • If you plan to work in jobs that require a medical exam, such as working with children or in healthcare settings, you must have taken a medical exam and have the right conditions on your co-op work permit before starting your co-op placement, internship, or practicum.
  • If you are doing volunteer or unpaid work, this can still be considered work in Canada and would require a co-op work permit if it’s required for your program. Review the temporary co-op policy.
  • You are not allowed to work in jobs at risk of exploitation.

Learn how your enrollment impacts immigration, including work eligibility.

If you’ve applied for the co-op work permit and are waiting for it to be processed

If you are eligible to work on or off campus from your study permit, you can now start your program-required work (co-op, internship, or practicum) with your on- or off-campus work eligibility. If you are eligible to work on or off campus, you can work during regular academic sessions (up to a maximum of 20 hours per week for all positions off-campus combined or on-campus unlimited hours), and you can work during scheduled breaks full-time on or off campus. Note that if your program-required work is full-time off-campus during academic terms and you are not eligible for the temporary off-campus work policy, you would be limited to working 20 hours a week. You must be registered in a co-op, practicum, or internship course for your program-required work.

However, if you will work in a job that requires a medical exam, such as working with children or in health-care settings, you must wait until you’ve received your co-op work permit with the right conditions before starting.

If your program-required work is starting soon and it is full-time off-campus but you have not received your work permit yet, and you are not eligible to work full-time off-campus under the temporary off-campus work policy, contact International Student Advising for support.

How many hours can I work in a co-op per week?

There is no limit to the number of hours you can work on co-op terms.

 When can I start working?

You cannot start your co-op work until you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You meet the above eligibility requirements.
  • You’ve received your co-op work permit, or you are eligible to work while you are waiting under the temporary co-op policy, or you’re eligible for the temporary exemption from the co-op work permit. Review the FAQ for details.
  • Your co-op work term has begun.
  • You are enrolled in a co-op placement, practicum or internship course.

 When must I stop working?

You must stop working immediately if you no longer meet the above requirements. For example, do not work if your study permit and co-op work permit expire and you did not apply to extend it.

Furthermore, you cannot use your co-op work permit for any employment other than a co-op, internship or practicum required for your program. You cannot continue using your co-op work permit after the end of your co-op, internship, or practicum term, even if it is still valid. If you finish your co-op term, you can only work up to 20 hours per week off-campus (or more if eligible for the temporary off-campus work policy).

 If you plan to work on or off campus during your co-op or internship

Co-op work permits are separate from the eligibility to work on and off campus and can only be used for work required for your program.

If you are enrolled in a co-op, practicum, or internship course, you are considered full-time for immigration purposes. You may work on a co-op work permit during your co-op term and also work on and/or off campus in addition to your co-op position at the same time if you meet the criteria for each.

How to apply for a co-op work permit

Applying from inside Canada

  • Co-op work permit application tutorial
    Your co-op work permit will usually match the expiry date of your study permit. If your study permit does not expire soon, apply for a co-op work permit only.
  • Extending your permit
    If your study permit expires soon, you can apply for a co-op work permit at the same time you apply to extend your study permit, usually, 3 to 4 months before your study permit expires.

Before submitting your application

Complete the Canvas application review course to go over the required documents, learn how to fill out the form, avoid common mistakes, and be ready to submit your application.

If your mailing address changes after submitting your application, be sure to update it via IRCC’s webform as soon as possible.

Applying from outside Canada

If you are new to your program and already have a letter from your program stating you have a required co-op, practicum, or internship, you can apply for your initial study permit from outside Canada and your co-op work permit in one application. Review the initial study permit tutorial to prepare your application. In the questionnaire, you will need to indicate “yes” to the question about co-op work and upload your co-op letter in your document checklist.

If you already have a study permit and are temporarily abroad during your program, in general, it is best to wait until you return to Canada and submit your co-op work permit application from inside Canada. Review the Canvas application course for more information.

If you hold an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or are a US citizen, you can apply in person at the airport or border crossing when you enter Canada. You will need to bring all original documents and the application form with you to apply on arrival.

After you receive your co-op work permit

  1. Check the estimated processing times online, but note that these times are not guaranteed and are updated weekly.
  2. After you receive or extend your co-op work permit, apply for or extend your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  3. About 3 to 4 months before your study permit and co-op work permit expire, extend both permits with one study permit extension application.