SW 1 Visa for Canada – All You Need to Know

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SW 1 Visa for Canada

For the Students aspiring to study and work in Canada, the most popular pathway for entry is the SW 1 visa. The SW 1 visa allows the students to work for only 20 hours a week. After the student visa expires the students are not allowed to stay in Canada. The following blog will guide you through the SW 1 visa eligibility criteria, the required documents, application fees & process, etc. 


What is a SW 1 Visa?

SW 1 visa is a type of student visa for students who are planning to study in Canada. SW 1 visa is specifically for those students who are going for a Co-op program i.e. they are required to work at some point during their study program. International students need not apply for a Co-op work permit to work in Canada as students. This is because the SW 1 visa already allows the students to work during their studies.

Also Read: Permanent Resident Visa For Canada

The SW1 Visa is designed for foreign nationals in cultural, artistic, or sports fields in Canada. Eligibility requires occupational expertise, a valid job offer or contract, and proficiency in English or French. Categories include Arts and Culture and Sports, with a maximum two-year stay. The job offer is crucial, providing the legal basis, supporting the visa application, and determining duration and scope. It facilitates entry, and for renewals, a valid job offer is essential. The visa enriches Canada’s cultural and sports landscape, emphasizing the significance of a well-defined employment arrangement for a successful application.

Eligibility Criteria for SW 1 Visa Canada

In order to be eligible for a SW 1 visa the students will have to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Students must get themselves enrolled at a designated learning institution.
  • The DLI of Overseas students must be on the list of DLIs with the approval of a COVID-19 readiness plan.
  • The students must be able to prove that they are eligible to manage the expenses of themselves and their families in Canada.
  • The students must be willing to follow Canadian laws and regulations.
  • Students with no criminal record.
  • It is mandatory to prove to an officer that the students will leave Canada once their visa expires.

Documents Required for SW 1 Visa Canada

For a smooth application process of the SW 1 visa, the students are required to submit the following documents. The basic documents required for a visa to Canada are mentioned below:

  • An acceptance letter from a Designated Learning Institution.
  • A valid travel document such as a passport.
  • Proof of funds showing that you can support yourself and your family members coming to Canada.
  • Medical Report
  • Police Clearance
  • Identity Proof
  • Custodian Report

Application Process for SW 1 Visa Canada

In order to study and work in Canada the students are required to apply for a visa. Check below the application process for the visa:

  • Firstly get an acceptance letter from a designated institution.
  • Should have a valid passport or travel document.
  • Apply for the visa in Canada either online or by visiting an application centre for the visa in the resident country.

Application Fees for SW 1 Visa Canada

The students will have to pay the application fees mentioned below to successfully complete the application process for SW 1 visa Canada

Study permit (including extensions) – per person150
Restore your status as a studentRestore your status ($200) and get a new study permit ($150)350

Also Read: What to do After 485 Visa Expires?

Processing Time for SW 1 Visa Canada

The processing time for a Canada visa depends upon the resident country and the number of applications received. Sometimes the visa process may even take 3 months. 

Factors Affecting SW 1 Visa Canada Processing Time

  • Category of Visa – Different categories of visas have different requirements therefore the processing time depends upon the type of visa category. However, usually the student visa takes up to 3-5 weeks. 
  • Resident Country – The processing time of the SW 1 visa also depends upon the country from which the visa is applied. Some countries may have higher volumes of applications, which increases the workload on immigration officers.
  • Application Status – It is essential to submit an accurate and complete visa application for timely processing. 
  • Background and Security Check – The process of background and security checks often delays the process of SW 1 visa Canada.

Validity of SW 1 Visa for Overseas Students

The validity of the SW 1 visa for overseas students lasts for the duration of their educational program. For example: if a student will be studying for two years in Canada the visa will be issued for the same amount of time. However, mostly the student visa is offered for a period of 2-4 years.

Visa Extension for Canadian Students

If you wish to stay for a longer period than what is mentioned on your visa then you must apply for a study permit extension before the visa expires. Steps to apply for visa extension for Canadian students.

  • Apply for immigration, refugees, and Canadian citizenship.
  • The application must be submitted electronically unless stated otherwise.
  • Application for visa extension needs to be submitted before the expiry of the current study permit.

Note: If you fail to apply for a visa extension before the current visa expires then the students can apply for a restoration status for up to 90 days according to the expiry date.

Importance of a Valid Job Offer or Contract

A valid job offer or contract is pivotal in the SW1 Visa application process, serving as the legal foundation for an individual’s stay in Canada. Its importance lies in providing clarity on the terms of employment, supporting the visa application, and facilitating a smooth entry into the country.

What Should Be Included in the Job Offer or Contract

  1. Position and Responsibilities: Clearly outline the specific role, responsibilities, and tasks the applicant will undertake in the cultural, artistic, or sports domain.
  2. Duration of Employment: Specify the start and end dates of the employment period, ensuring alignment with the intended duration of the SW1 Visa.
  3. Compensation and Benefits: Detail the compensation package, including salary, allowances, and any additional benefits offered. Clarity on financial arrangements is crucial.
  4. Work Hours and Conditions: Define the standard work hours, conditions, and any specific requirements related to the cultural, artistic, or sports activities.
  5. Termination Clause: Include conditions under which either party may terminate the contract, protecting the interests of both the employer and the employee.
  6. Accommodation and Transportation: If applicable, specify arrangements for accommodation and transportation, demonstrating the employer’s commitment to the well-being of the employee.

Tips on Negotiating Terms

  1. Clarify Expectations: Communicate expectations regarding job responsibilities, performance metrics, and any other relevant factors.
  2. Seek Clarity on Compensation: Ensure a thorough understanding of the compensation structure, including salary, bonuses, and benefits, and negotiate terms that align with industry standards.
  3. Flexible Duration: Negotiate for a duration that accommodates the project timeline or the nature of the cultural, artistic, or sports engagement.
  4. Include Performance Metrics: If applicable, consider incorporating measurable performance metrics into the contract to mutually assess success criteria.
  5. Legal Review: Before finalizing the agreement, seek legal advice to ensure compliance with Canadian employment laws and regulations.
  6. Open Communication: Maintain open communication with the employer to address any concerns, ensuring a positive working relationship throughout the visa period.

Challenges and Solutions in the SW1 Visa Canada Process

1. Document Preparation:

  • Challenge: Gathering and preparing the required documents can be overwhelming.
  • Solution: Create a checklist and start early. Seek guidance from official documentation lists and consider professional assistance if needed.

2. Occupational Recognition:

  • Challenge: Proving occupational expertise and recognition can be subjective.
  • Solution: Compile a comprehensive portfolio showcasing achievements, awards, and recognition. Provide detailed reference letters and testimonials.

3. Language Proficiency

  • Challenge: Meeting language proficiency requirements can be a barrier.
  • Solution: Take language proficiency tests well in advance. Engage in language training programs if improvement is needed.

4. Navigating Biometrics and Medical Examination:

  • Challenge: Completing biometrics and medical examinations can be complex.
  • Solution: Follow official guidelines for biometrics. Schedule medical exams with approved panel physicians and ensure all health requirements are met.

5. Job Offer or Contract Issues:

  • Challenge: Securing a valid job offer or contract may be challenging.
  • Solution: Network with potential employers, utilize job search platforms, and seek assistance from industry associations or immigration consultants.

Tips and Solutions to Overcome Challenge

1. Early Planning:

  • Tip: Begin the application process well in advance.
  • Solution: Create a timeline, identify key milestones, and allocate sufficient time for document preparation, language tests, and other requirements.

2. Professional Guidance:

  • Tip: Seek professional advice.
  • Solution: Consult with immigration experts or legal professionals to ensure accurate and compliant document submission and adherence to visa regulations.

3. Networking and Industry Associations:

  • Tip: Utilize industry networks.
  • Solution: Connect with relevant industry associations, attend events, and build a network that can provide insights, job leads, and support.

4. Language Improvement:

  • Tip: Enhance language proficiency.
  • Solution: Engage in language courses, practice regularly, and consider language exchange programs to improve language skills.

5. Thorough Document Review:

  • Tip: Scrutinize all documents before submission.
  • Solution: Conduct a thorough review of all paperwork to ensure accuracy, completeness, and compliance with visa requirements.

6. Open Communication:

  • Tip: Maintain communication with the employer.
  • Solution: Establish a clear line of communication with the Canadian employer to address any issues promptly and ensure a smooth application process.

Also Read: Canada Visa Requirements for Indian Students


Are the students allowed to work full-time SW 1 visa in Canada?

No, the students with SW 1 visas are allowed to work for only 20 hours a week. 

What are the requirements for a SW 1 visa in Canada?

The SW 1 visas are given to students who are going for a Co-op program which means they must work at some point during their studies.

What are the benefits of a SW 1 visa in Canada?

Students with a SW 1 visa will be allowed to study and work at the same time in Canada. This in turn will help the candidates to earn extra money during their studies.

We hope you now understand what is SW 1 visa and how to apply for it! Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu and we will guide you on your dream journey!

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