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Bridging open work permit for permanent residence applicants

Bridging open work permit for permanent residence applicants

The Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWP, sometimes referred to as a ‘bridging visa’) is a much welcome innovation from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In many cases, permanent residence applicants applying from within Canada are on a valid Canadian work permit. The Bridging Open Work Permit was created as a way to keep workers in Canada working while their applications for permanent residency are processed.

IRCC realized that applicants to certain permanent residence programs who had valid work status in Canada — but whose work status may run out before a decision was made on their application for permanent residence — would benefit from a work permit to ‘bridge’ the gap between the expiry of their current work permit and the decision on the application for permanent residence.


You may be eligible if you applied to one of the permanent residence programs below.

1. Permanent residence using Express Entry:

  • Federal skilled worker class
  • Canadian experience class
  • Federal skilled trades class

2.     Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

3.     Home Child-Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot

4.     Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class

5.     Agri-Food Pilot

Who can apply for a BOWP

To be eligible, you must:

  • live in Canada (Quebec not included)
  • have a valid work permit that expires in 4 months or less
  • be the principal applicant on your permanent residence application
  • have submitted a complete application for permanent residence and passed the completeness check
  • have your acknowledgement of receipt letter
  • we send this letter to your account after we get your permanent residence application

Eligibility for Quebec residents

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).

Supporting documents

When you submit your BOWP application, include:

  • the supporting documents listed in the document checklist
  • a copy of your acknowledgment of receipt letter

How to apply

Follow the instructions for extending or changing the conditions on your work permit.

When you apply, make sure you:

  • select “Open work permit” as the type of work permit
  • pay the work permit processing fee and the open work permit holder fee

In most cases, you must apply online.

Additional Information:

Express Entry applicants

When applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit, Express Entry applicants must provide all supporting documents listed in their document checklist. Applicants must also include a copy of their Acknowledgment of Receipt letter. Express Entry applicants receive this letter automatically when IRCC receives the application.

There are no restrictions to employment location for applicants under the FSWC, CEC, or FSTC (i.e. the three federal programs managed under Express Entry).

Non-Express Entry applicants

Applicants who applied for a program outside the Express Entry receive the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter after IRCC verifies that the application is complete.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants

Applicants under a PNP should note the following:

  • Applicants who applied under a PNP must not have employment restrictions as conditions of their nomination.
  • PNP applicants must also include a copy of their nomination letter when applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit.
  • The employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province.

Spouses/Common-Law partners of BOWP applicants

The spouse or common-law partner of a Bridging Open Work Permit applicant may also be eligible to obtain a work permit in Canada. The spouse or partner may apply at the same time as the principal applicant.

BOWP and their spouses or common-law partners should note the following requirements:

  • In all cases, the Bridging Open Work Permit must be valid for longer than six months.
  • For spouses/common-law partners of FSWC applicants, the work permit holder must be performing work that is considered skilled (i.e. that falls within National Occupational Classification [NOC] skill levels 0, A or B).
  • For spouses/common-law partners of PNP applicants, the spouse/common-law partner is eligible for a work permit for the duration of the work permit held by the principal PNP applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal PNP applicant’s occupation.
  • For spouses/common-law partners of FSTC applicants, the Bridging Open Work Permit holder must be performing work that falls within NOC skill level B.
  • For spouses/common-law partners of CEC applicants, there are no set prerequisites to be met by the principal CEC applicant with respect to occupation skill level.

Application Fees

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.

Processing Times

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)".

Due to COVID-19, no application in progress will be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation. IRCC will automatically give you 90 days to complete the steps needed to complete your application (such as providing biometrics, submitting passport or supporting documents, completing medical exam, etc.). Once you’re able to, complete the steps as soon as possible to avoid delays. Use the web form to upload any missing document.

Related Information:

Applying for Work Permit in Canada

Open Work Permit for Spouses of Workers & Students

20 Saved
Khan· Sep 09, 17:31
Appreciated, useful information
Lashkar· Sep 09, 17:52
Very much useful information
Helen· Sep 09, 20:19
I am not sure if this is the right platform to ask this question. I would need to understand since I'm in a private college and have a co-op with no pgwp what is the best way to apply for Permanent residence.
Prasanna · Sep 10, 00:10
Thank you