Why your study or work permit may only be valid for part of your program or employment contract

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: January 27, 2024

Considering the importance of permit validity and expiration for all newcomers to Canada, this article will help foreign nationals understand why the permit they receive may not be valid for the full length of their stay in Canada.

Many newcomers to this country want to ensure they maximize their time in Canada. This is especially true for temporary residents, including foreign nationals coming to Canada on a work permit or study permit.

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In other words, work permit holders will want to make sure the permit they receive is valid for the duration of their entire employment contract, while study permit holders similarly need to ensure their permit is valid long enough for them to complete the academic program that they are enrolled in. Receiving the maximum possible length on their Canadian work or study permit gives newcomers the best opportunity to pursue their goals in this country.

Why your permit may only be valid for a portion of your stay in Canada

There are two reasons why a foreign national may find that their permit is not valid for the full duration of their desired stay in Canada.

Expiration of passport/travel document

The first of those reasons is if the permit holder’s passport or travel document is set to expire before the end of their desired stay.

Applicable to both study and work permit holders, it is crucial to understand that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will only provide permits for as long as a foreign national’s passport/travel document is valid. Temporary residents across Canada are not allowed to remain in Canada beyond this expiration date.

However, there is a way to possibly extend your Canadian study or work permit (more on that later).

Health insurance coverage is not valid for long enough

In the same way that foreign nationals are only issued permits for as long as their passports/travel documents remain valid, International Experience Canada (IEC) participants are only eligible to receive work permits that match the length of their health insurance coverage.

There is no pathway to permit extension for IEC participants who do not have adequate health insurance coverage that matches the length of their work permit. This remains true under all circumstances, even for foreign nationals who are able to extend their health insurance coverage after the fact.

Accordingly, IEC participants must ensure that their health insurance coverage will be valid for their entire stay in Canada before they leave their home country.

Extending your permit with an expiring passport/travel document

To extend their stay in Canada by receiving a permit for the time remaining in their academic program/employment contract, foreign nationals must obtain a new passport or travel document while in the country.

At this time, the passport/travel document recipient can apply to extend their work permit or study permit with IRCC. The hyperlinks above will direct you to a Government of Canada page with more information on how to extend your Canadian work or study permit.

Note: Foreign nationals seeking a study permit extension are required to apply at least 30 days before the expiration of their current permit while work permit extension applicants are encouraged to also apply at least 30 days in advance.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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