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 Permit is free
  • You must have a valid Study Permit and valid passport to apply for a Co-op Permit. If your Study Permit expires soon (within two months of applying), please contact iHouse to discuss your case.
  • International Co-op students must obtain a valid Co-op Work Permit to legally work in Canada
  • Don’t confuse Co-op Work Permits with an Off Campus Work Permit (20 hours part time only). These are different permits.
  • 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")

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. Co-op students should contact the Co-op office to receive a Co-op Studentship Letter for this application (this is different from the Enrolment Letter from SSC). 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

After you have successfully obtained your Co-op Work Permit, you can apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) which is required to receive a salary in Canada. To apply, go to the nearest Service Canada location.

About Getting a SIN