Apply Online for a Co-op Work Permit

Please use this guide if you are applying for a co-op work permit from inside Canada.

What you need to know before you apply for a co-op work permit

The co-op work permit is required for any work that is a part of your academic program.  A co-op work permit is required for all mandatory co-operative work terms, practicums and internships, regardless of whether they are paid or unpaid.

You are only eligible for a co-op work permit if the work component is required of all students in your program.  If the work component is an optional part of your program, you are not eligible for the co-op work permit, and therefore are not able to select that option.

Applied Studies

Since Applied Studies are optional, international students are not eligible to complete Applied Studies.

We recommend applying for your co-op work permit as early as possible.  The co-op work permit is required for you to perform work that is required for your program.  If you do not have a valid co-op work permit, you will not be able to access the job board or begin your work placement or practicum.

Co-operative Education students should consult with the Career Bridge team as early as possible in their programs regarding timing and sequencing.

Normally, for University of Lethbridge programs, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will issue your co-op work permit with the same expiry date as your current study permit.

If you require more time to complete your program, you can apply to extend your co-op work permit along with your study permit.  To do this, you will need to obtain an updated Co-op Letter for your application to extend your co-op work permit.  Please see Uploading your Documents below for details and contact information. 

If you already have a valid co-op work permit and wish to extend, it it is very important that you apply to extend your co-op work permit before the expiry date on your current work permit. Normally, you would apply for your co-op work permit extension in the same application as the study permit extension.

It is possible that your current co-op permit may expire before you receive a decision from IRCC on your application to extend.  If you submit your application to extend before the expiry of your current study and co-op work permits, when your permits expire you will have implied status.  This means you can continue studying and working according to the conditions of your permits until IRCC makes a decision on your application, as long as you remain in Canada. 

If you leave Canada and return after the expiry date of your permit, but before a decision is made on your application, you lose your implied status. You must wait for a positive decision on your application to begin studying and working again.  Consult with an international student advisor before making a decision to leave Canada.

If your application to extend your co-op work permit is refused, your implied status ends. You must stop working immediately.

Nursing, Education and Addictions Counselling undergraduate programs all have some required practicum component, which requires a co-op work permit.

To perform work in these areas, a medical exam is required.  Because of this, students in these programs should complete a medical exam with an IRCC Panel Physician prior to applying for the co-op work permit. 

Please review the information here about medical exams for IRCC.

After completeing the medical exam, the panel physician will provide a document to use as proof of the exam, which you will upload as a required document in your online application.  If your online application does not require Proof of Medical, please contact the international student advisors for assistance prior to submitting your application.


To apply online for a co-op work permit, follow steps 1 - 5 below:

Use these steps if you are in Canada and wish to apply for a co-op work permit.

  • Log in to your online account through IRCC, or create one if you haven't already or if your account has expired . We recommend creating a GCKey. If you haven't already created an account, click the "Register" button at the bottom of the page. Create a username, password, and security questions.
  • Once logged in to your account, under “Start an application” near the bottom of the page, click “Apply to come to Canada”
  • Under “I do not have a Personal Reference Code”, click “Visitor, study and/or work permit”
  • Begin the questionnaire, indicating that you would like to work in Canada. Make sure you indicate your current country of residence is Canada. If completed correctly, the questionnaire should indicate that you are eligible to apply for Co-op (in Canada). Select that option and click “Continue” to complete the questionnaire and create your document checklist.
  • Read the information provided, and click “Continue”  until you arrive at your document checklist.
  • Click on “Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM5710)” to download the lastest version of the application form.  When you click on this link, you may see a "Please Wait..." message on a white page.  From here, use the download button on your browser to download the PDF document.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, follow the instructions on the "Please Wait..." page to download it.  Use Adobe Reader to open the downloaded IMM5710 file.
  • Use the Instruction Guide 5580 to help you complete the IMM5710 application form. This instruction guide is created specifically for students completing this form.  Here are some additional tips for completing the application:
    • UCI: Your universal client identification number can be found on your current study permit.
    • Details of Intended Work in Canada: You will put the University of Lethbridge as the employer when applying for a co-op work permit. 
    • Employment: Include any paid employment from the past 10 years, whether part-time or full-time, in Canada or outside of Canada. If you have no work experience, include any secondary or post-secondary studies and duration and state that your occupation was “student”.
    • Signature: For online applications, you do not need to physically sign this document. Just complete, validate and upload when ready. You will sign “electronically” prior to submission. Do not print, sign and upload a scanned copy.
  • Validate & Upload: When you have completed the application form, click the blue “Validate” button. If you have made errors or missed any fields, these sections will be highlighted red and you will need to complete these areas prior to attempting to validate again. Once you have successfully validated, a page of black bar codes will be generated as the final page of the document. Save the validated document and then upload to your application.

Upload your supporting documents:

  • Co-op Letter
    • Depending on the nature of your work placement, this letter will be provided by different offices. If you are applying for an extension of your co-op work permit, should obtain an updated letter from the appropriate office.
      • If you have applied to the Co-operative Education program, you will receive this letter once you have been accepted and completed all requirements of your application. 
      • If you need a co-op work permit to participate in a mandatory practicum for your program (e.g. Nursing, Education), you can request this letter from your Faculty advisor.  The International Centre is pleased to support your advisor should they have any questions.
  • Passport
    • Scan the biographical page of your passport, as well as all pages with stamps or visas
    • If you have a new passport, you should scan both your new passport, and the previous passport. The new passport should appear first in the document, with each page clearly labelled to indicate whether it belongs to the new passport or the old passport.
    • All images must be consolidated into one file
  • Digital photo
    • Colour photo; Image size at least 420 x 540 pixels
    • Must show full front view of head, face in the middle and include the top of the shoulders
  • Proof of up-front medical exam
    • This is required if you will be working in certain areas of work. These include teaching and health care. Please see above note.
    • If a medical exam is required, you must make an appointment for the medical exam with an IRCC Panel Physician.  The closest physicians are located in Calgary and Medicine Hat.
    • It is recommended that you have the medical exam performed prior to your application, to avoid unneccesary delays in processing.
    • If you happen to have proof of a medical exam performed by a panel physician in the past 12 months, you can provide proof of that exam rather than getting a new medical exam.

Optional Documents:

  • Client Information
    • Use this space to upload a letter of explanation if your situation is unusual
    • You can also use this space to upload additional Employment information from the past ten years that did not fit in the IMM5710 form
  • Schedule 1: Application for Temporary Residence (IMM5257b)
    • This document is required with your application only if you have answered "Yes" to any of the Background Information questions 3 through 6 on the IMM5710 form.
    • Please contact the International Student Advisor for guidance.
  • Once you have completed and uploaded all necessary documents, you will click “Continue” at the bottom of the page. You will continue to a signature page and then to the payment page. If you are applying only for a co-op work permit, there is no application fee. 
  • Take screenshots of any confirmation numbers regarding payment and application submission. If you need to leave the application and return at a later time, your application will be saved in your GCKey account for 60 days from the time that you first complete the questionnaire to create the application.
  • You will be able to follow the processing of your application via your GCKey account.  If IRCC requests any additional documents for your application, you will upload and submit them them via your online GCKey account. You must provide any documents requested by the deadline given by IRCC, or your application will be refused. If your email has a strong junk mail filter, consider logging in to your GCKey account at least once a week to check for messages.
  • If your application for a co-op work permit is approved, IRCC will notify you with a message in your GCKey account. Once you receive this confirmation of approval, you should notify your co-op coordinator or faculty advisor. If you are a co-op student, you are required to provide a copy of both your confirmation of approval and your co-op work permit to your co-op coordinator.
  • IRCC will mail your permit to the mailing address that you specified on the IMM5710 application form. If you do not receive your co-op work permit in the mail within 6 weeks of approval, notify IRCC using the webform.
  • If your application for a co-op work permit is refused, please contact us immediately for advice.


Request Assistance from an International Student Advisor

This guide has been written by a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.  The information provided is subject to change at any time. While we will endeavor to update this page regularly, please always see the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for the most current information.