Canada will accept incomplete study permit and PGWP applications

Shelby Thevenot
Published: May 22, 2020

Some international students can’t submit all the required documents for their study permit or Post-Graduation Work Permit application, so Canada is keeping their files open until they can.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many application centres to close or limit their operations. As a result, some study permit applicants are unable to complete three essential components of their application:

  • giving biometrics;
  • having medical examinations; and
  • submitting their original travel documents

In light of the circumstances, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says they will not refuse study permit applications that are missing documents as a result of coronavirus service disruptions.

Instead, they will keep the application open, and continue requesting additional supporting documents, or necessary actions until either they receive the documents or are provided proof that an action has been taken.

Study in Canada in fall 2020

International students can work before Post-Graduation Work Permit approval

The temporary measure also extends to Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) applicants who are unable to get a letter of completion, or final transcript from their Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

If international students apply for the PGWP before their study permit expires, but they are unable to submit the complete application due to a DLI closure, they will be able to start working full time until a decision is made.

However, they should submit a letter of explanation, indicating they are unable to submit the documents due to their school’s closure. Once their documents are available they can submit them using the IRCC web form, which facilitates communication between Canada’s immigration department and immigration candidates.

IRCC is also allowing applicants to restore their status without the letter of completion or final transcript. Applicants who are restoring their status are not allowed to work while the application is processing.

Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility not affected by part-time status

Following health and social distancing restrictions, Canadian post-secondary institutions may have to close or cancel classes. International students may consequently have to put their studies on hold or study part-time.

If a student’s status changes from full time to part-time due to changes in the programming at their DLI for the winter and summer 2020 semesters, they will still be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

The PGWP is important because it enables international students to gain Canadian work experience. Such work experience helps them become eligible for more immigration streams under the likes of Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Canada recently announced a major reform to provide more PGWP flexibility for international students that want to begin their Canadian immigration journey this fall.

Study in Canada in fall 2020

Need assistance with the Temporary Work Permit application process? Contact

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Will Canada make its current international student off-campus work hours policy permanent?
Portrait of a girl with a backpack and school supplies in the hallways of the university campus with her classmates in the background.
Can I extend or renew my Post-Graduation Work Permit? 
Happy business man listening to a discussion in an office boardroom. Business professional sitting in a meeting with his colleagues.
What are my options if I need to defer my enrollment after obtaining my Canadian study permit?
Large group of students cheering at college sporting event
Travelling to Canada for the first time as a newcomer? Here is how you can arrive prepared
Plane landing
Top Stories
Why should I enter the Express Entry pool now despite a temporary pause in draws?
Will Canada make its current international student off-campus work hours policy permanent?
Receiving WES Credential Evaluation for Employment, Higher Education, or Licensing in Canada
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Sponsor Content
Receiving WES Credential Evaluation for Employment, Higher Education, or Licensing in Canada
Join CanadaVisa and WES for an opportunity learn how a credential evaluation can help you reach your educational or professional career goals in Canada.
Introducing SAIT’s new Global Student Ambassador Program
The Global Student Ambassador Program at SAIT, facilitated through The Ambassador Platform, allows prospective international students to connect with student ambassadors online.
Planning for Retirement and Managing Your RRSPs: A Guide for New Canadians
Retirement planning refers to a strategy that helps you achieve financial security and maintain your desired lifestyle after you stop working.
Investing 101 for Newcomers to Canada: Understanding Investment Products (Part 2)
Link copied to clipboard