Canada Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) lets foreign nationals continue to work in Canada while they await a decision on their permanent residency application.

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Bridging Open Work Permit Overview

Bridging Open Work Permit Application

Bridging Open Work Permit FAQs

What is a bridging open work permit?

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) allows foreign nationals who are currently working in Canada to extend their status while awaiting a decision on their permanent residency application. The BOWP is only available to those who have submitted a permanent residency application and are already in possession of a valid work permit. A successful BOWP application results in an open work permit, enabling the holder to work for multiple employers in multiple locations, of their own choosing.

Who is eligible for bridging open work permit?

In order to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) a foreign national must first meet the following conditions:

Bridging open work permit fee

The fee for an open work permit is $255 CAD – $155 for the processing fee, and $100 CAD for the open work permit holder fee.

Can I work anywhere in Canada on a bridging open work permit?

Open work permits typically allow foreign workers to work for any employer in Canada.  However, there are some exceptions in terms of the employment location for certain applicants:

PNP applicants

The employment location on a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) BOWP is restricted to the nomination province.

Quebec applicants

For individuals applying under the QSWC, the employment location indicated on the BOWP is restricted to the province of Quebec.

How long is a bridging open work permit valid?

Bridging open work permits are usually issued for 24 months. If permanent residence application processing goes beyond the validity of a BOWP, extensions may be issued for 12 months.

A bridging open work permit will not be issued beyond the validity of an applicant’s passport.

Can I add my spouse and dependents on my bridging open work permit application?

If a BOWP holder is currently working in Canada in a skilled occupation, their spouse may apply for an open work permit. Dependent children may also accompany the BOWP holder by applying for a visitor record.

How to apply bridging open work permit

For most cases, BOWP applicants must apply online through their IRCC secure account. Applicants that are having issues applying online can apply on paper.

When can I apply for a bridging open work permit?

Express Entry applicants applying for a BOWP may do so once they Acknowledgement of Receipt letter through their IRCC MyPortal account.

Quebec Skilled Worker Class applicants must wait until they have passed the completeness check stage of their application.

Bridging open work permit document checklist

The documents required for a Canadian work permit will depend on the type of work permit you are applying for. Applicants may need to provide the following documents as part of their work permit application:

  • Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter
  • Provincial nomination certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) (if applicable)
  • Signed employment contract (if live-in caregiver)
  • Completed application forms
  • Proof of status in Canada
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Valid copy of your passport
  • Medical exam results (if requested)
  • Proof of payment for applicable government fees

Can I apply for a bridging open work permit from Quebec?

As of August 2021, temporary foreign workers that hold a Certificat de sélection du Québec (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) and live in Quebec may be eligible to apply for a bridging open work permit.

To be eligible to apply for a bridging open work permit while residing in Quebec, temporary foreign workers must meet both of the following conditions:

  • Have applied for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as the primary applicant as a skilled worker in Quebec;
  • Have received an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) from IRCC confirming completeness of your permanent residence application

Bridging open work permit processing time

Bridging open work permits are typically processed within 3-4 months.

Can I leave Canada on a bridging open work permit?

A bridging open work permit allows foreign nationals to work in Canada but cannot alone be used as a travel document. Foreign nationals must also have a valid eTA or temporary resident visa to return to Canada on a BOWP.

Can I apply for a bridging open work permit from outside of Canada?

Foreign nationals must be residing in Canada to apply for a BOWP.

Why was my bridging open work permit rejected?

One common reason that a BOWP is refused is if applicants submit an incomplete permanent residence application. As applications for permanent residence must be passed the completeness check as part of the eligibility requirement, incomplete applications may result in a BOWP refusal.

Can I apply for PR on a bridging open work permit?

One of the main eligibility requirements of a BOWP is that an applicant has already applied for permanent residence (PR). As such, there would be no reason to apply for PR again.

What happens if my work permit expires while my PR application is processing?

If your work permit expires while your PR application is processing, you will be considered out of status and will need to apply to restore your status as a worker in Canada.

Can I work while waiting for a bridging open work permit?

A foreign national is required to submit a BOWP application before their current work permit expires. If their current work permit expires before they have received a decision regarding their BOWP application, they may continue to work in Canada under maintained status until a final decision has been issued regarding the BOWP application. However, if the BOWP application is denied, the foreign national must cease working in Canada immediately. If a foreign national works in Canada without a valid work permit, they will jeopardize all future applications for Canadian immigration.

Can I change from a closed permit to a bridging open work permit?

It is possible to change your work permit from a closed permit to a bridging open work permit as long as you are eligible.

Can a bridging open work permit be extended?

If a permanent residence application is not finalized by the time a BOWP expires, IRCC may issue extensions of 12 months.

What happens to my bridging open work permit if my PR application is refused?

If your application for permanent residence is refused while you are on a valid Bridging Open Work Permit, you may continue to work on that permit as long as it not revoked.

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