News report | | 17/10/2023 | ±11 minutes reading time

There are several reasons why Canada is a popular destination among those looking for a (graduate) internship. The country is known for its prosperity, friendly and hospitable inhabitants, beautiful nature and high-quality education. If you wish to do and internship in Canada, you will need a valid travel authorisation and a specific work permit.

Work permit for internships in Canada

If you intend to do an internship in Canada, you must apply for a work permit, since you’re going to carry out work-related activities for a Canadian employer who should grant you an internship allowance. Therefore, a visa, eTA or study permit is not sufficient to intern in Canada.

You can apply for the required work permit for your internship in Canada via the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme. Within this programme, you can apply for a work permit aimed at students who want to do an internship in Canada: the International Co-op (Internship) work permit. You can apply for this work permit on the Canadian government’s website. However, not everyone is eligible for an International Co-op (Internship) work permit. Your eligibility depends on your nationality and age. Moreover, a work permit is not a visa, so you’re also going to need a travel authorisation. Once you are granted your work permit, you will automatically receive an eTA or a visitor visa to Canada, depending on your nationality.

In the table below, you can check if you are eligible for the International Co-op work permit. based on your age and nationality. If you are not eligible for this work permit, you might still be able to apply for a Working Holiday work permit. If you do qualify for the latter and your application is approved, you can still do an internship in Canada. Both work permits allow you to travel around the country while doing your internship, which is ideal if you wish to visit Canada’s tourist highlights during your stay.

For both work permits, the maximum validity period and additional requirements may vary according to the applicant’s nationality. It’s therefore advisable to check the validity period and additional requirements for your nationality before applying for a work permit.

Nationality Age Working HolidayInternational Co-op (Internship)
Andorra 18 to 30 years Yes No
Australia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Austria 18 to 30 years Yes Yes
Belgium 18 to 3o years Yes No
Chile 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Costa Rica 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Croatia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Czechia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Denmark 18 to 35 years Yes No
Estonia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
France 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Germany 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Greece 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Hong Kong 18 to 35 years Yes No
Ireland 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Italy 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Japan 18 to 30 years Yes No
Latvia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Lithuania 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Luxembourg 18 to 30 years Yes Yes
Mexico 18 to 29 years Yes Yes
Netherlands 18 to 30 years Yes No
New Zealand 18 to 35 years Yes No
Norway 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Poland 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Portugal 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
San Marino 18 to 35 years Yes No
Slovakia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Slovenia 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
South Korea 18 to 30 years Yes No
Spain 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Sweden 18 to 30 years Yes Yes
Zwitserland 18 to 35 years No Yes
Taiwan 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
Ukraine 18 to 35 years Yes Yes
United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) 18 to 30 years Yes No

Below you’ll find more information about the International Co-op (Internship) work permit. If, according to the table above, you do not qualify for this work permit but do qualify for the Working Holiday work permit, you should check out the article about the Working Holiday work permit application procedure and requirements.

Things you should know before applying

Before you apply for an International Co-op (Internship) work permit via the Canadian government’s website, consider the following:

  • You must possess a valid passport, which must stay valid throughout your stay in Canada. So check your passport carefully and apply for a new one if necessary.
  • You may only pay the fee with an international payment method, such as a credit card from (for example) Mastercard.
  • You need health insurance throughout your stay in Canada. You may take out insurance with a company from your home country, as long as it covers hypothetical expenses in Canada.
  • You must have at least 2,500 CAD in your bank account to cover your stay in Canada. You might be asked to prove this, for example, by showing a bank statement (the proof cannot be older than 10 days before your arrival).
  • If you have recently stayed for 6 months or longer in a country which represents a health risk according to Canada, you must undergo a medical check-up. Please check before departure which countries this applies to. If you intend to do a stage in one of the following sectors, you must always undergo a medical check-up:
    • Healthcare
    • Childcare
    • Education
    • Elderly care

Apply for an International Co-op work permit

Your eligibility for the International Co-op work permit is thus determined (among other factors) by your age and nationality. However, there are a few more requirements that you must meet to be eligible. For instance, you need a signed letter, a letter of intent or a signed contract from the Canadian company where you’re going to intern. You must also prove to be a student, for example by showing a proof of enrolment. If you meet all the requirements, and if you can provide the necessary documents, your application will finally be approved.

In order to apply for an International Co-op (Internship) work permit, go to the Government of Canada website and follow these steps:

  1. Check if you meet the age and nationality requirements for the International Co-op (Internship) work permit.
  2. If you are eligible, fill in the “Come to Canada” questionnaire (it will only take 10 to 15 minutes). Your eligibility for the International Co-op (Internship) work permit will be assessed based on your answers.
  3. You will receive a personal code after filling in the questionnaire.
  4. Create an IRCC account on the Government of Canada website and use the personal code from step 3 to start the application.
  5. Complete your profile and pick your pools. For an internship, you should join the Working Holiday pool or (if you are eligible) the International Co-op (Internship) work permit. The steps below apply only if you are invited to apply for an International Co-op work permit.*
  6. If you are invited to apply for an International Co-op (Internship) work permit, you have 10 days to start your application or cancel it.
  7. You have 20 days to complete your application, send the necessary documents and pay the fees. You will need to request some documents from other parties (such as the municipality, hospital, or police), so it is advisable to do so well in advance. If you cannot provide the required documents within 20 days, you should provide a proof that you have requested the necessary documents on time but haven’t received them yet. You must also pay a fee of 230 CAD through the employer portal on the Government of Canada website. After paying, the internship company will receive a code that you will need to apply for a work permit.
  8. Check the uploaded documents and your answers carefully before submitting your application.
  9. You might be required to provide your biometric data, such as a facial scan and/or fingerprints. If so, you will receive instructions within 24 hours after submitting your final application. You then have 30 days to have your biometric data collected at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). Make sure you schedule an appointment in time and bear in mind that you will be charged for the collection of your biometric data.
  10. Even after submitting your application, you might be asked to provide additional documents. So keep an eye on your IRCC account.
  11. After submitting your application, it may take up to 56 days for your work permit to be granted. This assessment period starts immediately after paying the fees or submitting your biometric data (if it’s required). If you are asked to submit additional documents, the 56-day assessment period will be paused. It will resume after you provide the additional documents. We recommend starting the application at least 4 months before the start of your traineeship (also consider the pools’ deadline).
  12. If your application is approved, you will receive a “Port of Entry Letter” on your IRCC account. Please make sure to bring both a digital and a physical copy of the letter with you to Canada.

* Bear in mind that the pools have deadlines. Registration closes when the deadline has passed or when there are enough applications, so make sure you submit your application in time. Moreover, be aware that not every application will be approved, so you might not be drawn for any of the work permits.

A work permit is no travel authorisation

Since a work permit isn’t a travel authorisation, you will still need a valid visa or eTA to travel to Canada. If you apply for an International Co-op work permit you will need a proper travel authorisation as well. Based on your nationality, you will automatically get a visa or eTA Canada once your work permit is granted.

Job interviews and internship addresses

Most (foreign) internship addresses can be found online these days, and job interviews can take place online as well. Nonetheless, you may also choose to visit Canada to look for an internship address or attend a job interview in person. You may use an eTA for this purpose. However, you should make sure that there is sufficient time between this orientation phase and the actual internship period, due to the length of the work permit application process. An eTA doesn’t allow you to work in Canada, as this travel authorisation is only valid for vacations, business trips and for transiting in Canada.

Those travelling to Canada for a holiday, business trip or transfer may therefore apply for an eTA Canada. The application can be easily and quickly submitted online via this website as long as the applicant meets a few requirements. Family members or friends who want to visit you during your internship in Canada may also apply for an eTA.

eTA Canada application

e-Visa.co.uk is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the eTA Canada. e-Visa.co.uk acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for an eTA directly with the immigration service (7 CAD per eTA, via onlineservices-servicesenligne.cic.gc.ca). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.co.uk, our support centre is available to you 24/7. We also check your application before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 7 CAD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £25.93 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous eTA Canada was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.