What happens if my work permit expires in Canada?

A work permit is a special document that allows a foreign national to work in Canada on a temporary basis. There are different types of work permits, and each of these types of work permits may have a different length of validity. All of these work permits expire. 

When your work permit expires, you are expected to leave Canada as you will no longer have a valid visa that allows you to live and work in Canada. However, you also have a multitude of options. Keep in mind that the majority of these options must be dealt with BEFORE your work permit expires.

1. Did your job get extended or change? You will need to make an application to change the conditions of your work permit or extend it before your work permit expires.

2. Were you offered a completely different job in Canada? You will need to apply for a new work permit before you can start this job.

3. Is your work permit about to expire, but you want to remain in Canada permanently? You must determine if you qualify for immigration to Canada as a permanent resident under certain immigration categories, such as the Canadian Experience Class or skilled worker stream.

4. Did you leave Canada and want to come back? When you return to Canada you must have a valid passport and a valid work permit or other visa that will allow you into Canada.

Please note that you must make decisions on the above options before your Canadian work permit expires. If your work permit has already expired and you are still in Canada, please contact one of our licensed immigration lawyers as soon as possible. Overstaying your visa or work permit can be a very serious matter, and in most cases you may have to leave Canada to apply for another work visa or other visa to come back into Canada.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

8 thoughts on “What happens if my work permit expires in Canada?

  1. Mark


    I was a foreign student in Canada since 2002, in 2011 I applied and qualified for 4-year work permit. But during that 4-year period I was married to a Canadian and I left Canada after my work permit expired.

    Now, I want to come back to Canada and live with my spouse. What should I do other than having my spouse sponsor me? Can I still get another work permit?


  2. anon

    Hello we are holidaying in Canada for 5 days after our work permit expires. we will then travel to the US for a week and then onto home in AUstralia. Do we have to apply to extend our time in Canada for a week or will we be ok leaving 5 days after it expires. will we have trouble getting into the US on holiday if our permit had expired? thanks

  3. allan

    hello just want to ask CIC refused my work permit application and my work permit is expired last november 18 2014, can i go back to my country (philippines) and come back to canada and can i apply work permit at the canada airport. thank you

    1. owen

      Hello Allan,

      At this point you should probably go back to the Philippines, as you may not have legal status in Canada. This could have negative consequences for your future life in Canada, so please get in touch with us as soon as possible, and we would be happy to help.


  4. saj

    My work permit will be expire in May 2015 and I already applied for PR.
    I want to go back my country(Iran) in Febraury but I do not have a visa to come back to canada.

    If my PR does not come until May and I receive it after May, is it possible to come back to canada after May when I am in Iran?

    1. owen

      Hello Saj,

      If you receive PR status, then you will be able to re-enter Canada after visiting abroad temporarily.


  5. Anonymus

    Thanks for the info.
    I would like to ask a question,
    What if your work permit expires and you are out of the country in that moment (vacations for example) and you just want to come back to the country to stay a couple of weeks because your girlfriend lives there or you just wanna come back and pack everything to leave the country in a few days?
    Can you get into the country as a tourist?

    I’d like to have a soon answer,

    Thank you,

    1. owen


      Thanks for the question. If your work permit expires, then you must get a new visa in order to come back into Canada (such as a TRV for example). We would be glad to help you obtain a TRV, which is something that we have done for many clients in the past. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions.



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