If you currently hold a Work Permit in Canada, and have presented an application for permanent residency, you might be able to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). This permit will allow you to keep your job or find a new one while your permanent resident application is processed.

To qualify, you must have applied for permanent residency under the FSW Program, CEC, FST Program, Provincial Nominee Program, or one of the two caregivers classes. 

You must also:

  • currently, be in Canada, and
  • have a valid Work Permit that will expire in less than four months.

If you applied for permanent residency using the Express Entry system, you can apply for the BOWP as soon as you receive your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AoR) (automatically received on your EE account after submission of your ​application). You will need to add this letter as a supporting document for your BOWP application. 
However, the BOWP will not be issued until your permanent residence application has been checked for completeness (R10 check) by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which is done within the first couple of months of the processing of your application.

If you applied on paper (outside the Express Entry system), you must wait until your receive, by mail or e-mail, your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AoR). This AoR will not be issued until IRCC assesses that your application passes the eligibility check. You will need to add this letter as a supporting document for your BOWP application. 

If you are applying for permanent residency under a Provincial Nominee Program, you need to be careful. Make sure that during the BOWP application procedure, in the Province and City of Destination section, you select the province or territory that nominated you. 
If you are applying without a provincial nomination, you can select Unknown (UNK) in the Province and City of Destination section.

On your certificate of nomination, there may be employment restrictions. If on the restrictions section, it says “Yes”, then you will not be eligible for the BOWP. 
If you are residing in Quebec, you will not be eligible for the BOWP. However, if you have a “Certificat de Selection du Québec (CSQ)”, you can be issued a employer-specific Work Permit with your current or a new employer. You will also not need to provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
You can either apply online or on paper.
  • If you apply online, you will have to pay the fees online ($255) and print, fill and scan your forms and supporting documents before uploading them on the system. Find out if you are eligible and apply online.
  • If you apply on paper, you will have to fill the required forms (see below), annex your supporting documents and fee payment receipt, and send your application by mail to this address.
We would recommend you to apply online, as processing times are always quicker than when applying on paper.
You need to pay the work permit processing fee ($155) and the Open Work Permit Holder fee ($100). If you apply on paper, you can pay the $255 fee here.

A BOWP is processed within approximately 60 days if online, and 100 days if on paper. 

You can check the processing times here. You need to select “Visiting, studying, working temporarily”, then “Work Permit Extension (new employer)”.