Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

Prospective International Postdoctoral Scholars

This section includes broad information on the immigration process for foreign nationals moving to Canada, including work permits and work permit extensions. It is not meant to be exhaustive as each immigration case is unique to the individual and personal circumstances may differ.

A foreign national is defined as an individual who is neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident.


Work Permit

If you are a prospective postdoc who is neither a Canadian citizen nor permanent resident, you must apply for a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) “work permit” in your current country of residence (provided you have a valid residence permit in that country) PRIOR to leaving for London to take up your fellowship.

Steps for applying for a work permit:


Work Permit Extensions

Work permits can normally be extended as necessary for the duration of your job offer. Postdocs who already have a valid CIC work permit and who wish to extend their stay in Canada should submit a CIC Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada form. This should be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry date.

Western's Community Legal Services (CLS) offers legal services to assist you with:

Applications for Permanent Residency

Immigration Group Information (IGI) sessions are scheduled monthly, and students can register via CLS Scheduler. Individual appointments with the lawyer or CLS caseworker can be arranged subsequent to attendance at an information session. CLS Immigration services may also include assistance in drafting and swearing affidavits and preparing notarized copies of your documents in preparation for the above services.

For further information, please visit Western's Community Legal Services (CLS) or call 519-661-3352.


University Health Insurance Plan

As a Temporary Worker of Canada, you will be covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) only from the fourth month of your arrival to Canada. As such, you are required to purchase a health insurance plan for the first three months through University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). You must hold a valid work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

For more information, please visit Student Development Centre - UHIP or University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).


Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The application form for a Social Insurance Card can be downloaded here.

Applications can also be obtained in person downtown at the London Service Canada Centre located at 457 Richmond St, 519.645.5944 (Mon-Fri 8:30 - 4:00 pm)

You will need your passport, study permit and contract of employment* to apply for your SIN. If you are a temporary worker you will be given a temporary SIN number that will have an expiry date. All 900 series Social Insurance Numbers will only be valid for the length of the employee's work or study visa, to a maximum of five years.

If you are a temporary foreign worker (on a work permit) and apply for permanent residence status, you must reapply for a permanent SIN.

For international students who are new to Canada and have no Social Insurance Number (SIN), or those international students who are required to renew their SIN an official contract of employment must be presented. For more information regarding SIN cards, please visit Applying for a Social Insurance Card.


Employment for Spouses/Partners

Spouses of international postdocs are entitled to work in Canada, but must first obtain employment authorization. This can be done once the postdoc and their spouse have arrived here in Canada. More information and forms are available from Citizenship & Immigration Canada.

Please be aware that the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is not responsible for securing employment for your spouse or partner. Finding a job that matches your skills, education and qualifications may take time. Locally, there are many programs and services that can help your spouse or partner get the process started:www.welcome.london.ca/working/get-a-job.htm.


Driving in Ontario

If you intend to drive in Canada, you should obtain an International Driver's License in your country before coming to Canada. It will be valid for 60 days from the day you enter the province. After this time, an Ontario driver's license is required. For more information please visit Ministry of Transportation or DriveTest.