UBC is proud of its diverse and international body of Post-Doctoral Fellows.
For Post-Doctoral Fellows arriving from outside of Canada, your employment within Canada may be contingent upon certain requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that these requirements are met prior to starting your postdoctoral appointment and are maintained throughout your time as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at UBC.
Foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellows are required to obtain a temporary work permit in order to be employed or hold a trainee position at UBC. Whether a foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow will hold an unpaid appointment at UBC, or whether they will be receiving their own fellowship funding, an application for a work permit must still be made.
Initial Work Permit Application Process for International Post-Doctoral Fellows
Step 1: Required UBC Support Documentation for Work Permit Application
Post-Doctoral Fellows (NOC 4011) are individuals who have completed a doctoral degree and who are seeking further training in a particular area of research. Foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellows are eligible to apply for a work permit under LMIA-Exemption Code C44. The Department or School will need to provide the foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow with the following support documentation before a work permit application may be made:
- UBC Appointment Letter
- LMIA-Exempt Offer of Employment Number (starts with A#)
- Employer Compliance Fee Receipt of $230 CAD
The above documentation is required to obtain the necessary authorization to work in Canada. If you have not received said documentation from your Department or School, please follow up with them.
Important: The foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow will need to provide the Department or School with a copy of their passport biographical page which is the page that has your full legal name, photo, passport number, nationality, date and place of birth, issue date and expiration date. Please ensure that the passport is valid for the full duration of the appointment as the work permit will otherwise be shortened.
Step 2: Determine Work Permit Application Process: Online vs. Port-of-Entry
Before proceeding with any travel arrangements, foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellows will first need to determine:
- whether they may apply for their work permit upon entry to Canada; or
- whether they must apply for a work permit pre-approval letter and work visa online.
Visa-Required Foreign Nationals
Visa-required nationals do not have the option to apply at the port of entry. They must apply online via IRCC secure account for:
- the issuance of a work permit pre-approval letter, and
- the issuance of a temporary resident work visa counterfoil into their passport.
This must be done before making any travel arrangements to come to Canada. If you are a visa-required national, please proceed to 'Step 3b: Work Permit Application Process for Visa-Required Nationals'.
Visa-Exempt Foreign Nationals
US permanent residents, and
other visa-exempt nationals*.
If you are a visa-exempt national, this is the recommended application process for you. Please proceed to 'Step 3a: Work Permit Application Process for Visa-Exempt Foreign Nationals' for a list of the documentation you must carry with you and other preparatory steps.
Overall, we note that visa-exempt nationals are also eligible to apply for a work permit pre-approval letter online. However, the required UBC documentation may only be linked to one type of work permit application (online or at the port of entry).
If you are a visa-exempt national and wish to opt for an online application instead of a port of entry application, please ensure that the official processing times at the corresponding visa office allow for a timely start. Once an online application has been submitted, you will be subject to official processing times from the visa office and cannot switch to a port of entry application. Estimated processing times are subject to change and only tell you how long it took IRCC to process 80% of applications in the past.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the work permit application process, please connect with the Immigration Team at the UBC Housing, Immigration and Relocation Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 3a: Work Permit Application Process for Visa-Exempt Foreign Nationals
The following nationals may apply for their LMIA-exempt work permit in person at the airport or land border upon arrival to Canada:
- US citizens,
- US permanent residents,
- and other visa-exempt nationals.
You will go through customs and immigration upon arrival to Canada. You must apply for your work permit and your family's status documents if applicable upon the first point of entry.
If entering Canada by plane, we recommend:
- Choosing Vancouver International airport as the first point of entry; or
- Leaving at least 4-5 hours between connecting flights.
If entering Canada via land border, we recommend:
- Using one of the larger ports, such as Douglas/Peace Arch.
- Traveling during regular business hours.
The work permit and status documents will be issued before you leave the port of entry.
electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Unless a US citizen or US lawful permanent resident, visa-exempt nationals must hold a valid electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The eTA is needed before boarding a plane or other commercial transporter to Canada. This is required for the principal applicant and their family members before their travel. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveler's passport.
If you do not already hold a valid eTA, please follow the instructions on how to apply for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Port-of-Entry Work Permit Application Checklist
Upon entry to Canada, please state that you wish to enter Canada as a worker and wish to apply for a work permit. When you arrive at one of Canada's international airports, you will be asked to verify your identity and make an on-screen declaration at one of CBSA’s primary inspection kiosks. You will present your printed declaration receipt to a CBSA officer at primary inspection who will refer you to the secondary services and inspections area to apply for your work permit.
Please present the immigration officer at secondary inspection with the following documents:
- Valid Passport (please ensure the passport is valid for the duration of appointment)
- Valid electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (unless US citizen or US permanent resident)
- Valid US green card (for US permanent residents only)
- UBC Employment Offer Letter (provided by Department/School)
- LMIA-exempt Employment Offer Number (# starts with an A) – (provided by Department/School)
- Employer compliance fee receipt for CAD 230 - (provided by Department/School)
- Copy of Ph.D., and certified translation if original is not in English or French (If certificate is not yet available, please provide an official letter from institution confirming completion of all Ph.D. requirements)
- Copy of Work Resume/CV
- Proof of Funds (if position at UBC is unpaid)
- Work Permit Processing Fee of CAD 155 (may be paid in cash or by credit card)
- Biometrics Fee of CAD 85 (may be paid in cash or by credit card – not applicable to US citizens)
- Confirmation of Upfront Medical, i.e. e-Medical Information Sheet (if applicable, please see section below)
For questions on current Covid-19-related entry measures, please see the government website.
The immigration officer issues the work permit directly at the first point of entry. The work permit allows the Post-Doctoral Fellow to work at UBC temporarily. Please check the information listed on the work permit for accuracy upon receipt. The employer should be listed as “UBC” and occupation as “Postdoctoral fellow”. Any errors or issues with the work permit should be addressed while you are in front of the issuing officer. It is significantly harder to request corrections after you leave the port of entry.
A temporary work permit will normally be issued for the dates outlined in the UBC offer letter. An immigration officer will consider other factors when issuing a work permit, such as passport expiry date. A work permit may not go beyond the applicant's passport validity date.
After arrival, the Post-Doctoral Fellow must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to Service Canada [for paid positions]. Upon receipt of the SIN, this information and a copy of the work permit must be provided to the Department/School. A work permit of at least 6 months duration is required to be eligible for medical coverage under the BC Medical Services Plan.
Requirement for Upfront Medical
Please note – if you or your accompanying family members have lived or travelled in a designated country for 6 months or longer in the 12 months before you travel to Canada – please check here whether you may need to schedule and undergo an upfront medical exam with an IRCC panel physician before travelling to Canada.
A country or a territory is designated if there is a "yes" in the column entitled "Immigration Medical Examination (IME) required" in the designated country and territory list.
Please note – if you or your accompanying spouse/common-law partner will be working in a location or an occupation that puts you in close contact with patients and/or children (i.e. in the health sciences field, at a hospital or a clinical laboratory, as a medical student/medical elective/physician or at an elementary/secondary school/kindergarten) you or they may equally need to undergo an upfront medical exam as a worker before traveling to Canada.
Accompanying Spouse, Common-Law Partner and/or Dependent Children
An accompanying spouse or common-law partner if applicable will be eligible to apply for an open spousal work permit concurrently as long as the foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow has a valid offer of at least 6 months at the time of application. An open spousal work permit allows the spouse or common-law partner to search for and take up employment in Canada.
In the immigration context, a person is your spouse if your marriage is a legally valid civil marriage. A common-law partnership means that a couple have lived together for at least one year in a conjugal relationship.
There is no provision in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for fiancé(e)s or intended common-law partners. If your partner does not meet the definition of a spouse or common-law partner, they will not be eligible to apply for a spousal open work permit until you get married or have live together for at least 12 months and established a common-law relationship. Accompanying partners may still apply for a visitor status.
A visa-exempt spouse or common-law partner may also apply for their work permit or visitor status upon entry to Canada provided that they are equally considered as fully vaccinated.
Visa-exempt children may be issued their Canadian status documents upon arrival as well. Unvaccinated children, youth and adult dependents may accompany a parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor who qualifies as a fully vaccinated traveler when they enter Canada. For full information, please see the government’s requirements for traveling with children and dependents
The following support documentation will need to be provided to the officer for a concurrent status application of a spouse or common-law partner or dependent child as applicable:
- Valid passports (please ensure the passports are valid for the duration of stay)
- Marriage certificate & certified translation if original is not in English or French (for spouse only)
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law (for common-law partner only)
- Birth certificates & certified translation if original is not in English or French (for children only)
- Spousal open work permit processing fee of CAD$255 if applicable (may be paid in cash or by credit card)
- Biometrics fee of CAD$170 for families of two or more
- Confirmation of Upfront Medical (if applicable, please see section below)
Important: If any accompanying family member is not a visa-exempt but a visa-required national, please note that they will not be eligible to apply upon arrival, i.e. at the port of entry. In this case, it is recommended for the whole family to apply online and await their approval notices prior to traveling to Canada.
Study Authorization for Children of International Post-Doctoral Fellows
Visa-exempt dependent children accompanying a foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow may be issued a Canadian visitor record for the same duration as the Post-Doctoral Fellow work permit. Please review the document and length for accuracy before leaving the port. With a Canadian visitor record, visa-exempt children under the age of 19 are authorized to study in Canada without a Study Permit.
Dependent children attending primary or secondary public school will be exempt from international school fees, as long as the foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow has a work permit that is at least one year in duration or longer.
We suggest that you contact the school board in your area of residence before you arrive at UBC to review specific requirements and to ensure that your children will be eligible to attend elementary or secondary school.
Important: Please note that a Study Permit is required for children 19 and older and those attending a post-secondary institution. The afore-mentioned study permit application cannot be made upon entry (unless your child is a US citizen) and should be submitted online via IRCC secure account.
Step 3b: Work Permit Application Process for Visa-Required Foreign Nationals
Incoming foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellows who are visa-required nationals must apply for a pre-approval of their UBC-specific LMIA-exempt work permit and work visa online prior to making travel arrangements to come to Canada.
Your Department/School will need to provide you with the following documentation first before you will be able to submit the work permit application online:
- UBC offer letter (Letter of Invitation)
- LMIA-Exempt Employer offer number (# that starts with an A)
- Employer compliance fee receipt for $230 CAD
If you have not yet received said documentation from your department, please follow up with them directly on the documentation.
Online Registration & Work Permit Application Checklist
If you are visa-required incoming foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow outside of Canada applying for their first work permit, please follow the below steps:
- Create and log into your IRCC Secure Account
- Select “Apply To Come To Canada”.
- Under ‘I do not have a personal reference code’, please select ‘Visitor visa, study and/or work permit’.
- Complete the Questionnaire to Create Your Work Permit Application Checklist.
- You are coming for work purposes.
- You are not part of the Global Skills Category.
- You are applying for “ A work permit with a Labor Market Impact Assessment exemption”.
- If you have any accompanying spouse or common-law partner or dependent child(ren), please select that you will be applying on behalf of a family
- Select that you will be paying the application fees.
Your account should create a work permit application checklist with an Application for Work Permit Outside of Canada (IMM1295) form. Please also double check the paper checklist from your country’s visa office to ensure that they are not requiring anything additional to what is noted in your online checklist.
Once you have selected that you are applying “Online (recommended)” and have selected “the country” that you are applying from, please select the PDF file “visa office requirements in [COUNTRY]” to view any additional instructions that might apply. Please note, not all countries will have an additional paper checklist for the application.
Application for Work Permit made Outside of Canada’ (IMM1295)’ Form
Please save the Application for Work Permit made Outside of Canada’ (IMM1295)’ Form on your desktop and open from your computer (not within your web browser). When you are ready to finalize the form, please type your name into the signature box and validate the form. This will create a barcode at the end of the form. The form may only be uploaded in said format. You will not be able to upload a scan of the printed form.
For the foreign national Post-Doctoral Fellow:
Under the ‘Details of Intended Work in Canada’ Section on the form (page 3 of 5), please select ‘Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment’ as the type of work permit. Once you have selected the correct type of work permit, please enter your LMIA-exempt offer of employment [A#] in box 6.
Without said information, your work permit application might be refused as the officer will not be able to link your application to the UBC offer in the government portal.
For the Spouse/Common-Law Partner - Spousal Open Work :
Under the ‘Details of Intended Work in Canada’ Section on the form (page 3 of 5), please select ‘Open Work Permit’ as the type of work permit. Once you have selected the correct type of work permit, box 6 will no longer be required to be entered. All other section may be entered as N/A. The Duration of expected employment should be entered as the same duration of expected employment as for the Post-Doctoral Fellow.
Required Support Documentation
- Employment Reference Letter: You must provide an employment reference letter (and up-to-date reference from current or past employers.) Specifics on the details to be included on said letter are mentioned in the help button. If you have previously been a student, and do not have any work history yet, you may include a reference letter from one of your previous supervisors, or an explanation letter.
- Employment Contract: Please upload your UBC Offer letter.
- Proof that you Meet the Requirements of the Job Being Offered: Please include a copy of your PhD, and certified translation if the document is not in English or French. If you have not yet received your PhD certificate, you may also include an official letter from your institution that you have completed all of the requirements of your PhD.
- IMM5802 Offer of Employment to a Foreign National LMIA-exempt: This is not a form that needs to be completed as the necessary details have been transmitted online.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the work permit application process, please contact the Housing and Relocation Services office by email at Immigration.Help@ubc.ca