International Students

To be part of UBC Science Co-op, International Students must have a valid Co-op work permit, a valid study permit and a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Co-op Work Permit

International students in UBC Science Co-op must have a valid work permit to legally work in Canada. Remember:

  • Applying for a Co-op Work Permit is free
  • You must have a valid Study Permit and valid passport to apply for a Co-op Work Permit. If your Study Permit expires soon (within two months of applying), please contact International Student Development to discuss your case.
  • International Co-op students must obtain a valid Co-op Work Permit to legally work in Canada
  • Processing time varies and we recommend students to initiate their Co-op Work Permit application at least four (4) months prior to the start of their first work term. To check the current processing time, review the typical Work Permit Extension (new employer) for Co-op Permits
  • Note: Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50% (percent) of the total program of study. See Immigration Canada website for more details on this policy.

Applying for a Co-op Work Permit:

  1. Review the Co-op Work Permit instructions and tutorial online
  2. Request a Co-op letter from the Co-op Main Office (
  3. Apply online on the website following the tutorial
  4. After you have submitted your Co-op Work Permit application, login to SCOPE to update your Co-op Work Permit submission date (under "My Account")

Do I need a medical exam for my Co-op Work Permit?

International students must have a valid co-op work permit for all co-op placements. If you will be working in a job in agriculture related fields or public health or health sciences (e.g. health care workers, clinical laboratory workers, medical students, primary and secondary school teachers) and you will be in close contact with patients, children, the elderly, etc., you must have an explicit condition on your co-op work permit that allows you to work in these jobs. To obtain the right conditions, you will need to do a medical exam before applying for your co-op work permit. Please see the International Student Guide for more details or meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss your next steps.

Workshop: Learn How to Apply for a Co-op Work Permit

Attend Work Permit Workshop

Please note that this workshop is for newly admitted International students joining Science Co-op.

Study Permit

If your study permit is set to expire before completion of your degree due to the additional Co-op terms, renew your study permit about three months prior to its expiry date. You should contact the Co-op office to receive a Co-op Studentship Letter for this application (this is different from the Enrolment Letter from Workday Student). Please review these detailed instructions and tutorial on the International Student Development Website.

You can renew your Co-op Work Permit at the same time as you renew your Study Permit. The Co-op renewal option is within the Study Permit extension application so you don’t need to submit a separate application.  The key is to renew your permits BEFORE they expire or there will be implications to your status in Canada.

Social Insurance Number

Refer to UBC International House SIN Application Instructions to verify if your Study Permit meets the condition to be eligible for applying a Social Insurance Number (SIN). It is recommended to apply SIN at the earliest convenience. SIN is required to receive a salary in Canada. To apply, go to the nearest Service Canada location.

About Getting a SIN