Doing an internship for credit as part of your Université Laval study program
If you are doing an internship as part of your study program, you may need to get a work permit through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) co-op work permit program.
Under Canadian immigration rules, student internships, even when unpaid, are considered work and require a work permit.
Students registered full-time at Université Laval who hold a valid study permit are allowed to:
- Work on campus with no limit to the number of hours.
- Work off campus 20 hours per week during regular academic semesters and full time during academic breaks. Between November 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023, the 20-hour-per-week limit on off-campus work is lifted temporarily for some students. Thus, students allowed to work off campus AND who hold a valid study permit that has been applied for or renewed with Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) no later than October 7, 2022 are not limited as to the number of hours of work off campus during this period. If you applied for your current study permit after October 7, 2022, whether it is an initial study permit or an extension, you remain limited to 20-hours-per-week of off-campus work. See the IRCC website for complete details.
See the section on Working during your studies for more information.
You do not need a work permit to do an internship if your internship falls within the right-to-work limits of your study permit and if you meet all the following conditions:
- You meet all the right-to-work conditions for people with a study permit.
- Usually, you do not work more than 20 hours per week off campus during regular academic semesters (this work includes your internship work and any other off-campus employment, if applicable). Between November 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023, the 20-hour-per-week limit on off-campus work is lifted temporarily for some students. Thus, students allowed to work off campus AND who hold a valid study permit that has been applied for or renewed with Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) no later than October 7, 2022 are not limited as to the number of hours of work off campus during this period. If you applied for your current study permit after October 7, 2022, whether it is an initial study permit or an extension, you remain limited to 20-hours-per-week of off-campus work. See the IRCC website for complete details.
- You have a study permit that indicates that you have the right to work off campus (if not, see the page on Getting a social insurance number (SIN)).
However, if your internship is mandatory and you want your internship time to one day be counted towards an application for the Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ – Québec selection certificate) through the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ – Québec experience program) for graduates, you still need to have a work permit unless you are doing your internship while taking advantage of the IRCC’s temporary lifting of the limitation on working off-campus between November 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023.
The Bureau de la vie étudiante – BVE (Student Life Office) regularly offers presentations about this. See their website for details.
If your internship is a mandatory part of your study program, you can get a co-op work permit (free of charge).
To apply for your co-op work permit, you will need a letter confirming that an internship is mandatory for all students in your program and that students have to complete the internship to graduate. You can request this letter from your program director.
Important: As soon as you know that you will have to do a mandatory internship, apply for your co-op work permit right away. This will avoid delays that could put off starting your internship or keep you from completing it. You don’t already have to have an internship set up when you apply for your co-op work permit.
How and when to apply
You can apply for your co-op work permit at three different points in time:
- When you first apply for a study permit
- Anytime during your studies in Canada
- When you renew your study permit
Your co-op work permit will be valid for as long as your study permit is valid.
Applying for a co-op work permit when you first apply for a study permit
If you are applying online through your IRCC secure account (details on creating, preparing and submitting an online application):
- Answer “Yes” to the question “Is work an essential component of your studies?” This is one of the questions that appears when setting up your online application.
- Under “Evidence of Work Requirement in Study,” upload the letter from your faculty confirming that a mandatory internship is part of your program.
If you are applying through a visa application centre (VAC):
- With your file, submit the letter from your faculty confirming that a mandatory internship is part of your program.
Applying for a co-op work permit when you renew your study permit
- Use your IRCC secure account to apply for a renewal online
- Answer “Yes, I wish to apply for a CoOp Work Permit” to the question “Do you also want to apply for a work permit?” This is one of the questions that appears when setting up your online application.
- Under “Co-op letter,” upload the letter from your faculty confirming that a mandatory internship is part of your program.
Applying for a co-op work permit only
- Apply online through your IRCC secure account (details on creating, preparing, and submitting an online application).
- Answer the questions so you can set up your online application:
- Choose “Work” under the question “What would you like to do in Canada?”
- Answer “Yes” to the question “Is your work an essential part of your studies (for example, a Co-Op or internship program)?”
- The work permit will be mailed to your Canadian address. If your mailing address changes after you have submitted your application, you must let IRCC know by using the IRCC Web form.
- Processing times vary.
If you are currently in Canada, it may also be possible to apply for a work permit at the border, but IRCC doesn't recomment doing this. If you still choose this option, visit the Getting to a border crossing page to help you prepare.
Requested documents when applying online for a co-op work permit only (a customized list of documents will be created in your IRCC secure account)
- “Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM 5710]” form
- The form must be validated (with barcodes) in order to upload it. (You don’t have to sign it.)
- To help you complete the form correctly, read the Instruction Guide.
- Here are some guidelines to help you complete the form:
- First section of the form
- Box 1: UCI: You will find it on your current study permit.
- “COMING INTO CANADA” section
- Box 4: This number can be found in the top right-hand corner of your current permit. Study permit numbers start with the letter F and are followed by nine digits.
- “DETAILS OF INTENDED WORK IN CANADA” section
- Box 1: Choose “Co-op Work Permit.”
- Box 2: Enter the name and address of Université Laval (2325 rue de l’Université, Québec City, QC, G1V 0A6). You don’t have to have an internship already set up.
- Boxes 6 to 8: Information not required.
- “EDUCATION” section
- Enter the most recent post-secondary degree you have completed.
- “EMPLOYMENT” section
- Boxes 1 to 3: The information requested in this section is not required.
- “BACKGROUND INFORMATION” section
- Box 2c): If you are currently in Canada or have previously applied to enter or remain in Canada, you must answer “yes” to this question and provide details in box 2d).
- First section of the form
- Co-op letter: Include a letter from your faculty stating that you have a mandatory internship and that all students in your study program must complete their internship to graduate.
- Passport: A clear copy of the ID page as well as all pages where there are stamps, visas, or entries.
- Photo: It must be in colour and show the full front view of your head, with your face in the middle of the photo, and include the top of your shoulders. You can take it yourself with a digital camera. The image pixel size must be at least 420 x 540.
- A medical exam is sometimes required, for example, if you lived in a specified country for more than six months in the last year or if you want to work or do internships with certain clients (children, the elderly, etc.) or in certain settings (elementary and secondary schools, daycares, health care settings, clinical laboratories, hospitals, etc.). A temporary public policy for medical exams exempts many in-Canada applicants from medical requirements. For more information, go to Medical exams for visitors, students and workers.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic: As of July 15, 2020, and until further notice, those who have temporary status (a study permit, a work permit, a visitor visa, etc.) or are awaiting restoration of their temporary status and who would like to extend their stay are exempt from giving their biometrics if they are in Canada when they apply. This procedure is temporary. To check whether you are exempt from giving biometrics, see the IRCC webpage about this.
- Citizens of all countries (except the United States and other minor exceptions) have to give their biometrics to get or renew a permit. If you have already given your biometrics for a Canadian visa or permit application, your biometrics will remain valid for 10 years.
- Important: You must give your biometrics to the Canadian government even if you have a biometric passport.
- You will have to pay the biometric fee ($85), when you apply for your work permit if it is required.
- Within hours of submitting your application, you will receive the instruction letter that you must bring with your passport to a Service Canada office in order to give your biometrics (appointment necessary).
- You must complete this step as quickly as possible because your application processing time starts only once the biometrics have been collected.
You can’t get a co-op work permit if your internship is an optional part of your study program.
If your internship is optional, you will have to adhere to the right to work terms set out in your study permit.
You may be able to do your internship full-time during a summer semester as long as you meet all the conditions.
Or, you may be able to do your internship in the fall or winter semesters if you don’t work more than 20 hours per week as an intern (the 20-hour-per-week limit doesn’t apply between November 15, 2022, and December 31, 2023), as long as you meet all the conditions including to hold a valid study permit that has been applied for or renewed with Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) no later than October 7, 2022. See the IRCC website for complete details.
Last updated on: 2023-02-24