Bridging Open Work Permit

Waiting for permanent residence can be a stressful time. It’s sometimes necessary to work before a decision is made on your application. While you wait for the outcome of your permanent residency application, you can work with a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). This guide has all the details of how to apply for the BOWP step by step and who is eligible to receive this type of work permit.

What is the BOWP?


Canada is dedicated to keeping the skilled temporary foreign workers it requires to maintain economic prosperity. This includes ensuring that temporary foreign workers can easily transfer to permanent residency in Canada if they so desire. During the application process for permanent residency, it is not uncommon for foreign workers to discover that their temporary work visa is about to expire.

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) permits foreign nationals who are currently working in Canada to extend their work permit while their permanent residency application is being processed. This relieves both workers and their Canadian employers of stress, allowing them to continue working in Canada while awaiting the outcome of their immigration application.

Only those who have applied for permanent residency and have a valid work permit are eligible for the BOWP. A successful BOWP application results in an open work permit that allows the applicant to work for different employers in a variety of locations of their choosing.

Who is eligible for a BOWP


If you apply to one of the permanent resident programs listed below, you may be qualified for a BOWP.

  • Permanent residence using Express Entry
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Quebec skilled workers
  • Home Child-Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot
  • Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class
  • Agri-Food Pilot
  • In addition to having applied for one of the above, applicants must additionally meet the following requirements: be currently residing in Canada, be in possession of a valid work permit that will expire within four months. Note that if you applied for PR in Quebec you won’t be able to take advantage of this particular work permit. A Certificate de selection du Quebec (CSQ) may allow you to work, however.

    How to apply

    Both paper and online applications are accepted. If the online option doesn't work for you, you can submit a paper application. This sometimes happens if the online application isn't working properly. The paper application is also available if because of a disability, you are unable to apply online.

    To apply online choose 'Open Work Permit' as the type of work permit being sought, and pay the work permit processing charge as well as the Open Work Permit Holder fee.

    Submit your supporting documents that are named on the document checklist, most importantly, a copy of your acknowledgment of receipt letter to show you have applied for PR. IRCC will deny the Bridging Open Work Permit application if the permanent resident application is incomplete, and the processing expenses will not be refunded.

    BOWP Validity

    A BOWP holder can rest easy. The permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance. An applicant should be able to receive a decision on their permanent residency application during this time.

    BOWP Application Fees

    The Open Work Permit Holder charge is CAD 100 and the work permit processing fee is CAD 155. You must pay a CAD 255 fee if applying on paper.

    BOWP Processing Time

    If you submit your BOWP online, in normal times it will take about 60 days to process, and if you submit it on paper, it will take about 100 days. You can always check the current estimated processing times on the official immigration website. This is subject to change depending on circumstances. For example, due to issues around COVID-19, as of August 2021, the estimate for both paper and online applications was 84 days.

    BOWP Implied Status

    Before their current work permit expires, a non - resident must file a BOWP application. If their current work permit expires before they receive a decision on their BOWP application, they may continue to work in Canada under what is called 'implied status' until the BOWP application receives a final decision. If the BOWP application is denied, the foreign national must immediately stop working in Canada. If a foreign individual works in Canada without a legal work permit, their future immigration petitions to Canada will be jeopardized.

    Other Work Permits in Canada