Bridging Visa, Canada, Permanent Residency, Travel

Applying for a Bridging Visa (BOWP): A How to Guide

I just applied for a bridging visa (BOWP) last week and must admit, I found the whole process quite confusing, if it wasn’t for the good people who are members of the Irish & Applying for Canadian PR Facebook page, I would have been completely lost. As is usual with CIC, nothing is very well explained on their website, so I decided to put together an easy step-by-step guide to help others with the BOWP process.

Firstly, what is a bridging visa? A Bridging Open Work Permit is for those of us who have applied for PR but whose work permits are going to expire in four months or less. This means we can keep working while waiting for a decision on our PR. You can read more about BOWP eligibility here:

Right now, processing times for online BOWPs are 38 days and paper applications are taking 93 days. You can check processing times here: Usually, people will wait until a couple of weeks before their work permit expires to submit the bridging visa application. Once your bridging visa application is received before your work permit expires, then you automatically go onto Implied Status – again, this is so you can continue to work until you have a decision on your Bridging Visa. I submitted our bridging visa applications (online)  last Thursday (April 21st) and our work permits expire on May 5th. Also, it’s handy to note here that you can also submit a bridging visa application online for your common-law partner.

How do I apply for a bridging visa? As I’ve already mentioned above, you can apply online through your CIC account, or you can submit your application by mail. Many people chose the one with the slowest processing time to give them longer on Implied Status – especially if they know their bridging visa application is going to be denied. I submitted mine online and if that’s what you’re doing, there are two options. Option 1 is to use the “Come to Canada Wizard”,  you can find that tool here: answer the questionnaire and then you’ll be given a personal reference code which you then input into your CIC account, or option 2 is to log into your CIC account, and under the “What would you like to do today” section, choose apply for a visitor visa, study and/or work permit. At this point it will ask you for your personal reference code, if you don’t have one (I didn’t) then look under “I do not have a personal reference code” and click on determine your eligibility and apply online for a visitor visa, and/r work permit. It will then guide you through the questionnaire.

A few things to note about the questionnaire, as it can be slightly confusing, and if you don’t answer some questions in a particular way, it won’t lt you apply for the bridging visa. When it asks “What would you like to do in Canada?” you should say work, and not move there, as I did at first. For how long do you plan to stay in Canada, you should answer temporarily – more than 6 months, and not permanently (I also made that mistake the first time round). The next tricky question is when is asks about your current immigration status in Canada, you need to say here that you are a worker, rather than a temporary resident permit holder (which is exactly what we are, but who knows why CIC make these things so confusing). Then you will be directed to a page which lists lots of different situations broken into three groups and you have to answer “yes” or “no”. Make sure you answer yes under the section which contains the following statement “I applied for permanent residence to an office in Canada and was determined to be eligible for permanent resident status (first stage approval)”. Even if the review of eligibility is still at “review in progress” for your PR app (as mine is) because if you say no, it won’t let you proceed with the BOWP application.


Once you’ve answered the questionnaire, the option to apply for a visitor visa and/or work permit will disappear, so if you answered any questions wrong, and it didn’t guide you to a checklist of required documents, then delete that application and start again. Once you answer all the questions in the questionnaire, you will be given a list of documents that you have to submit, most of them will be things you already submitted as part of your PR application; copy of passport, digital picture, proof of your medical exam, statutory declaration of common-law relationship (if you’re common law). If you are common-law then you’ll have to upload Form IMM5713: Use if a Family Member Representative for Online Applications. You will also be required to submit Form IMM5710: Application to change my conditions, extend my stay or remain in Canada as a Worker. This form again asks for a lot of information that you already supplied as part of your PR application such as education, work history, and to note any other countries you’ve lived for more than 6 months in the past 5 years. There is also space to upload a letter of explanation, I uploaded my AOR for PR here. The fees you pay for the bridging visa are $155 for the work permit and a $100 fee for an open work permit holder fee.

Once you submit everything and pay, you will receive a submission confirmation. I believe this can be used to show your employers if they need proof that you are legally allowed to work here after your work permit has expired, you can also print off the information on the CIC website about Implied Status and that along with the receipt should keep employers happy. You can find information about Implied Status here:

I hope this helps when applying for your bridging visa, and if you’re not already a member, join the Irish & Applying for Canadian PR Facebook page – it is a life saver!

Until next time 🙂

36 thoughts on “Applying for a Bridging Visa (BOWP): A How to Guide”

  1. Hey, thanks a million for all the detail above, it’s been really helpful.
    I’ve been following everything step by step, but unfortunately CIC have changed some of the questions, which i’m hoping is the reason that it’s saying i’m not eligible. My visa is up in 3 days so i’m panicking a bit now.
    1. The question “I applied for permanent residence to an office in Canada and was determined to be eligible for permanent resident status (first stage approval)” has changed to the following “I applied for permanent residence and was found eligible (first stage approval) under one of the following classes: Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada; or Humanitarian and Compassionate cases; or Protected Persons in Canada; or Live-in Caregiver in Canada” – which I wouldn’t fit into so I had to answer No.
    2. Furthermore, there are some questions following this that are a bit off-putting:
    2a. Have you been told by a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office that you are approved in principle for permanent residence in Canada? (To which I answered No)
    2b. Have you submitted a permanent resident application in Canada? (To which I answered Yes)
    2c. Do you have a written job offer? (To which I answered No)

    Any light you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated, and again thanks for the article,

    1. Hey Leanne, no problem. That’s strange I wonder why they changed q 1 above, and yes after reading it I agree that you would have to answer no to the question (unless you did fall under one of those classes).
      For 2a I would answer yes (even though realistically the answer would be no), that question was on it when I applied, or something very similiar and I said yes. I think you’re answers for 2b and 2c are correct, so maybe it’s just 2a that is causing the problem and therefore saying you are not eligible. Try change that one to yes and see if that works. Let me know how it goes, Rachel

  2. Hi! Thanks for the guide, it’s very useful because it can get really confusing. I have a question regarding Form IMM5710E. In the section “Details for intended work in Canada” I selected Open work permit and then left all the other spaces blank given it’s an open work permit, is that what you did?


    1. Hi Monica,sorry for the delay, I was on vacation with no internet access!! I selected open work permit too but I did input the details of my current employment, but if you didn’t I think it will be fine!!

  3. Hi Rachel, thank you so much for doing the post on the bridging work permit, its not easy to navigate where to apply. Both me and my partners visa is running out at the same time and we have applied through the PNP and we are waiting for our AOR letter so we can apply for bridging. I am going to be going on my partners visa as common law, can you advise how as common law I am to apply through his application? Thank you in advance Mairead

    1. Hi Mairead, glad you found the post helpful! Will you be applying for bridging visa online or through paper route? If online, the main applicant does it through their CIC account and as you progress through the application it asks if you want to add anyone to the application, at that point the common law spouse can be added. If its paper I believe you just send all bridiging visa docs for both of you together in one envelope and mail it!

    1. No, if you’re applying online your partner does it through his CIC account then when asked if he wants to add anyone to the application he adds you. You will then have to input your info and then at the end you’ll be asked to upload docs for you both and pay for you both.

  4. Thanks again Rachel for answering all my questions 🙂 Just one last question, what supporting documents do I add in the letter of explanation? I fill out forms IMM5710 and IMM5707 and add my passport photocopy including stamped pages, I’m afraid to submit in case I have left out something in my section (the family member part) Under option documents – Letter of explanation.

    1. Hi Mairead, I also included Form IMM5713 which is use of a family representitive form which I believe is required for common law. You don’t have to upload anything under letter of explanation that’s just if you need to provide extra docs or an explanation about anything in your application, however, that’s where I uploaded my AOR.

  5. I am applying for BOWP with IMM5710 which has a question #3 I am applying for one or more of the following. a) A work permit with the same employer b)An initial work permit or a work permit with a new employer c)Restoration of your status as a worker d)Temporary Resident Permit.

    Nothing really fits as I am applying for open work permit. And I tried to contact CIC and it fell through 😦

  6. Hi ,I am applying for BOWP and already got my file number under AINP Stream.When I try to do it there is a question :
    Have you been told by a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office that you are approved in principle for permanent residence in Canada?
    I called Cic they said answer it NO But if I said NO It will not give me a option for Open work permit.
    Any suggestion please ?

  7. Hello!

    My common law partner and I are both applying for BOWP as we have submitted our PR applications with him as the primary applicant. Both of us have ongoing jobs which makes answering Q3 of the first section on Form 5710 a bit confusing. Obviously we have current work permits which will be expiring in Jan, but from the four options, we’re a bit unsure what to put – I was thinking No.1 but I saw you had put No. 2?
    1. a work permit with the same employer
    2. an initial work permit or a work permit with a new employer
    3. restoration of status
    4. temporary resident permit

    Appreciate any light you can shed – CIC are the WORST!

    1. Sorry for the delay Sally. I chose an initial work permit or a work permit with a new employer as I did not want my BOWP to be tied to my current employer (I’m not definite that option 1 would result in you being tied to your current employer though!) Good luck, CIC are the worst, I agree, so confusing!!!

  8. So, actually the form is not named Bridging Visa what actually made me confused. It is just a regular application for an extension, but I need to upload an application to proof my PR docs are submitted. Right?
    And in the list of documents to upload it doesn’t ask me for my current work permit. My current work permit is closed (I can work just for a particular employer). Does that mean I will get my Bridging visa also as a closed work permit or it will be opened?

    1. You should upload your ITA along with your application for BOWP. You can attach your ITA to the letter of explanation part. Hmm, I’m not actually sure, I believe the bridging visa is just an extension of the current permit you are under so in that case yours would be a closed work permit as that’s what you have now, but again, I am not entirely positive about that.

  9. Hello – I have a question on this ridiculous process. I’m getting asked to submit an Optional document which is Schedule 1 – Application fora Temporary Resident Visa made outside of Canada (IMM 5257) but I’m in Canada, working and the questionnaire was filled out correctly. Should I just not upload it and leave it??? So confused!

      1. even i could see the IMM5257 as an optional application (which is not mandatory or not applicable) at the bottom of my application. otherwise, I have IMM5710 as my main application.

        BUT, one question, within the IMM5710, the third question saying
        3) im applying for one or more of the following
        a) apply for workpermit with the same employer
        b) apply for workpermit for firts time or with a new employer
        c) restore my status as worker
        d) get the new temoporary resident permit

        none of the answers are applicable, but when I selected option C (which looked like relevant), then it was asking me to select either A or B as MANDATORY. I am bit confused. should I not select any of those?

        please let me know

  10. Great info. I’ve a question about the implied status bit. Our WHV expires July 20th. If we were to apply for BOWP today would it put us on implied status as soon as it’s received or when our WHV expires on Jul 20th. I’m flying to US on Thursday and returning Saturday 15th so worried I would be on implied status by the time I return? Can you please clarify?
    Thanks a mill

  11. Wow, that is a great a guide to BOWP! They should upload it to the CIC website 😀
    I do have a very silly question for you… How long does the BOWP last? What I infer from the CIC website is “until you receive an answer for your PR”, but today on the phone IRCC told me it is for 1 year, even if the PR gets rejected. Thank you!

  12. Hi sorry I am still confused!

    I have got my PNP and File Number for Federal.

    After answering all the questions, it gave me 2 options:-
    1. temporary visa
    2. Open work permit

    I selected Open work permit, and then it gave me the document checklist and HERE I GOT CONFUSED.

    In SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS option, it only asked me for PASSPORT COPY and DIGITAL PHOTO!

    There is no option to upload my PNP approved letter and AOR letter? So where can I upload these documents?

    Moreover, where can I find the Letter of Explanation option? I thought may be I can upload these MAIN DOCUMENTS there but I coulnt find the option?

    Yes, I got the option to upload TEMPORARY RESIDENT VISA in OPTIONAL DOCUMENTS, but i dont think i need to upload that because i am already in Canada and working fulltime.

    May be that is why it gave me the WRONG DOCUMENT CHECKLIST?

    Could you help me please?

    1. hmm, I’m realy not sure but yes possibly you answered the questionnaire wrongly. Sorry I can’t be more help, I was nominated through PNP but did not go that route as I had enough points to go under express entry.

      1. So when you applied for the open work permit through Express entry letter, did you upload the approval letter and AOR in letter of explanation entry or did it give you a seperate space to uplaod these docuemnts just like a seperate space for passport and digital copy?

        Sorry I know I am asking lame question.

  13. Thank you very much, this is the most helpful site for BWP, most people go wrong by saying NO to the question “””I applied for permanent residence to an office in Canada and was determined to be eligible for permanent resident status (first stage approval)”””” . I said NO, then it took me to the workpermit but where i needed to have LMIA as mandatory.

    then, i refreshed the questionnaire, I changed my response to yes to the same question, then it took me to the right Workpermit. However, i still dont understand why do I have to say Yes if this question is not applicable to me..its still confusing.

    importantly, I could see another question within the first group of questions saying “””i applied for study or workpermit before entering canada which was approved but not issued at the port of entry””” this question was applicable to me because I had applied for study visa and it was approved in 2014 when I was in my home country and it was not issued at the port of entry. so, I had to say YES to this group of questions anyways.

    thank you for your help!

    1. Glad you found the blog post helpful!! Yes, I agree that some of the questions in the questionnaire are very confusing and sometimes you have to give an answer which seems incorrect but that’s the system unfortunately. Good luck in your application!!

  14. Hey, thanks for the helpful post. When I go to submit, it just says $155 for fees. Do we need to go somewhere to pay the additional $100 separately?

    Thanks so much!


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