International Postdocs

​​​Postdoctoral Fellow

We're proud of the large international presence on campus. In fact, most postdocs are non-Canadian resi​dents, ​and are visiting Toronto and Canada solely to complete a postdoctoral position. (Pictured above: Oisin Keohane, from Ireland.)

Imm​igrating to Canada: Working Temporarily in Canada

All international postdocs training in Canada require a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) work permit and usually must apply for a work permit prior to arriving. This requirement applies to postdocs who were previously students at U of T, but have not been granted permanent residency status. If an international student wants to work in Canada after graduating, he or she must apply for a work permit under the Post-graduation Work Permit Program, even if the student permit is still valid.

Please note that in most cases you must have finished all requirements for your degree and be able to obtain a letter from your institution confirming this before a Canadian embassy will issue you a work permit.

Obtaining a Work Permit

Previous postdocs have applied for advance confirmation of employment by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) under Regulation 205(c)(i), C44 of the Immigration Manual.

Work permit application procedure:

1. Hold a valid passport.

2. Obtain an engagement letter from a U of T faculty member. The total stipend amount must be indicated, regardless of funding source. CIC must be sure that financial support will be sufficient for any individual entering Canada. U of T’s minimum stipend of $31,000 allows you to prove that you have adequate support after arriving in Canada. If you are receiving funding from a source outside Canada, and/or U of T, such as a fellowship from your home country, university, a corporation, or research fund, the funding source and stipend must be indicated in the engagement letter.

3. Obtain proof that your employer has filed for an exemption from a Labour Market Impact Assessment, along with proof of payment of the compliance fee, from your future department at the University.

4. In some cases, obtain a letter from your home institution that states that you have completed all degree requirements. If you have already graduated, a copy of your transcripts should suffice.

5. Complete the online CIC work permit application or complete a paper application and submit it to the visa office at a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate in your home country serving your area and pay the required application fee in Canadian currency or the equivalent in your local currency. In most cases, postdocs applying for a work permit for the first time must submit their application to a Canadian visa office outside of Canada.

6. Please choose "Apply for a work permit with a labour market impact assessment​ exemption" when asked to choose which type of work permit you are applying for.

Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and your work permit before leaving your home country. See the list of persons requiring Temporary Resident Visas. Postdocs who do not require a TRV will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). As of March 15, 2016, all international postdocs are expected to have an eTA, unless they are citizens of the United States, or require a TRV to enter Canada.

US citizens are eligible to apply for a work permit at the Canadian port of entry. Other international postdocs may be eligible to apply for a work permit as they enter Canada, but we recommend applying outside Canada as the safest method.

It is the postdoc's responsibility to obtain the required valid legal documentation for CIC.

Extending Your Work Permit

If you wish to extend your work permit or stay in Canada, you need to complete a CIC work permit application to extend your stay. This application can be used to extend your stay with U of T, change the conditions of the stay, change your type of temporary status or amend application and contact information.

The application needs to be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry date on your current work permit. This also applies to the postdoc's spouse and dependents who are currently in Canada and want to obtain a work permit. Please note: the wait times for work permit renewals can be as long as four months or more. You will not be able to extend your OHIP health coverage until you receive the new work permit, although you will be able to remain in Canada on "implied status" as long as you applied 30 days prior to the expiry of your original work permit.

See Working temporarily in Canada: Extending your stay on the CIC website for details.

Postdocs may find themselves in a situation where they need a work permit sooner than the CIC can provide one, for health coverage reasons. Unfortunately, there is no process at the CIC to expedite a work permit. Postdocs may be able to travel to the United States and apply for a renewed work permit, provided that they have a valid (non-expired) work permit and temporary resident visa (if this was a requirement for immigration to Canada).

Work Permits for Spouses & Partners

If your postdoc appointment is for six months or longer, your spouse (husband, wife or common-law partner) may qualify for an "open" work permit.

To apply for an open work permit, spouses or partners must provide CIC with an application fee and the following documents:

1. Valid passport

2. Work permit of the postdoc spouse or partner

If you are common law, you may need to complete a Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union form (see below) in order to obtain your spouse's "open" work permit.

Your spouse or partner's permit will be valid for the same period as your authorization to train in Canada.

For more immigration information and the current application fee, please visit the CIC website.

School-Aged Children (Dependent Children Under the Age of 18)

When entering Canada with an adult holding a valid work permit, school-aged or dependent children do not need a permit to study in Canada. Indicate on the work permit application that dependent children will be entering Canada with the applicant. Parents/guardians must provide the child’s birth certificate, citizenship card, health records, and passport when entering Canada.

It is the responsibility of the postdoc to carefully review the application procedures and permit limitations prior to submitting his/her application to CIC. Some children will be required to submit a study permit application independently of his/her parent's/guardian's Work permit.

Please consult with a CIC representative at a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate to ensure that any child that will be entering Canada receives a proper permit or is indicated as a dependent on the postdoc's permit. For more immigration information, see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Enrolling International Children in a Toronto-Area School

International postdocs will hold a valid work permit once in Canada. This permit allows parents or guardians of international students to enrol their child in a public school free of charge. However, parents/guardians must provide the school with a number of documents prior to entering their child in school. For further information on registering your child in school, visit the school board site that applies to your area. Find a school or school board please visit the following website: Find a school or school board.

The Family Care Office has prepared a tip sheet on registering international children in schools.