You are an international student in Canada and you are about to graduate from your program of study. What should you do next?
This is a question we often receive from international students who are finishing their studies but want to extend their time in Canada to work, travel, pursue further education, or settle. There are a number of options for individuals in this situation.
Extend Your Study Permit
Some students choose to extend their study permit to stay in Canada for a longer period of time. To extend your study permit, you can apply online or by paper. When deciding which method of application to use, you should keep in mind that the study permit extension processing time is roughly 34 days for an online application and 100 days for a paper application. You’ll need to complete various forms and supply documents, including your passport, your identity document (e.g. birth certificate), proof of acceptance or enrolment at your academic institution, proof of your academic standing (e.g. transcripts), and proof of funds available.
If your study permit expires after you have submitted your application for an extension but before you receive a decision on your application, you can stay in Canada under implied status. This lasts until a decision is made regarding your application.
Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit
Some graduates choose to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Graduates have 180 days after their school issues their final grades to apply for a PGWP. Eligible applicants must also have completed a program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that was at least 8 months long and led to a degree, diploma, or certificate. In addition, you must have maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of their program (except for the final semester).
The processing time for the post-graduation work permit is 89 days for an online application and 111 days for a paper application. The Government of Canada updates processing time estimates on a weekly basis and you can use the processing time calculator check the most updated estimates.
If you plan on staying in Canada and your study permit will expire before you apply for a PGWP, you should change your status to visitor. When you apply for the PGWP, you will need an official letter from your school confirming your completion of a program and an official transcript or copy of your transcript from your school’s website.
Apply for Permanent Residency
Another popular option for graduates is to apply for permanent residency in Canada. There are a number of different permanent resident categories that you may fit into as a graduate. Some programs include the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program. Each of these programs has different requirements for applicants to meet, such as Canadian work experience, English/French language proficiency, and more.
Each option for new graduates differs in terms of the applicant eligibility requirements, the length of time successful applicants can stay in Canada, and the privileges afforded to successful applicants. When trying to decide on how to stay in Canada after graduation, it can be beneficial to seek out a professional’s opinion. Registered Canadian Immigration Consultants have extensive knowledge of Canadian Immigration programs and can identify which programs are best suited for applicants.
If you are unsure of what steps to take next, contact us.
We can help you determine the best course of action for your unique situation.