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
Helpful advice for newcomers landing in Canada: A post-arrival checklist for newcomers to Canada
When you arrive, you will have to go through a process to confirm your identity.
How to take a break from your studies and maintain eligibility for a work permit
A student at the airport looking at flight times.
Why IRCC may refuse your application for a post-graduation work permit
Female entrepreneur working using laptop looking at camera.
British Columbia and Manitoba invite PNP candidates in latest draws
BC and Manitoba have invited candidates in latest PNP draws.
Top Stories
Frequently asked questions about visas for students, workers and tourists coming to Canada
Ontario and British Columbia invite candidates to apply for provincial nomination
7 apps to prepare for your move to Canada
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Life in Canada
7 apps to prepare for your move to Canada
Image of users holding mobile phones in both hands
Debunking four myths about life in Canada 
Mother using smart phone while taking selfie with her children at home.
Am I eligible for IRCC settlement services as a temporary resident?
Group of young people sitting at table reading books.
Recent policies that may make home ownership more affordable for eligible newcomers to Canada
Houses in construction in a housing development on a clear autumn day
Link copied to clipboard