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Passport Requirements for Temporary Work Permits

Any foreign national that intends to seek a Canadian work permit is required to possess a valid travel document, which in most cases means a passport. In the past, it may have been possible for nationals of the USA to travel to Canada on the basis of common identification such as a driver’s license. However, since the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a passport or acceptable substitute is a mandatory requirement for any individual seeking admission to work in Canada.

As international airlines require demonstration of a valid passport for any travel, the requirement of a passport for those entering Canada from abroad by air is fairly strict. There are no generally accepted substitutes for such travellers. For those entering Canada via other means, most commonly automotive vehicles, there are acceptable substitutes to the passport. This may include:

– A NEXUS card, issued through a partnership between the USA and Canada and which pre-approves travellers seeking temporary admission to Canada. It is important to note that the NEXUS card is not an immigration document and does not itself confer authorization to work in Canada. Any such authorization must come in the form of a duly issued work permit from Canada Border Services Agency.
– A US Passport Card, which is issued by the relevant passport authorities of that nation and which carries all the relevant identification and citizenship information needed to seek entry and a work permit.
– An Enhanced Driver’s licence, which is issued on a state by state basis in the USA. It is important to note that not all states participate in this program and so it is important to determine if this is applicable to your case. Also, not all driver’s licences issued by participating states constitute an Enhanced driver’s licence, so be sure you have the correct document.
РA Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, which pre-authorizes commercial vehicle drivers to enter Canada and which is an acceptable substitute to a passport.

Other than for nationals of the USA and St. Pierre and Miquelon, the issuance of a work permit cannot be issued for a duration that is longer than the validity of the valid passport or acceptable substitute document. It is therefore possible to encounter scenarios in which the passport may be the limiting factor in the duration of the work permit granted. For example, in a case in which a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is granted for two years but the candidate’s passport expires in one, the work permit will be valid for that shorter duration. In cases of LMOs in particular, extension of the work permit is permitted if the limiting factor was the validity of the passport and if the work permit was otherwise applied for within the validity of the opinion. This possibility of extension does not otherwise apply in cases in which a LMO has been used to obtain a work permit or in which the opinion has expired. Also, this provision only applies to circumstances in which the work permit is renewed via an inland application processed at the CPC Vegreville; seeking a new work permit is not viable in this situation.

Date Posted: February 26, 2014 Posted In: Temporary Work Permits

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