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Would you like your spouse, common law partner or other members of your family to join you in Canada? Canada’s liberal immigration policies allow certain family members to migrate to Canada to study and/ or work in Canada.

Definition of a Family Member

For the purposes of this page, “family member” refers to a spouse, common-law/conjugal partner, and dependant children. Parents may also accompany you to Canada.

Visitor Visas

Citizens of certain countries and territories require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada as visitors. A visa cannot be applied for at a Canadian Port of Entry, and, in some cases, a medical examination may be required. This can prolong the processing time to your application.
Citizens of certain countries do not require a TRV, but, from September 29, 2016, visa-exempt persons need an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) with the exception of U.S. citizens, who do not need a TRV or an eTA.

Work Permits for Spouses

Spouses or common law partners of full time students with a valid study permit can apply for an open work permit. An open work permit will enable the spouse or common law partner of the student to work during the entire length that the student’s study permit is valid.

To qualify for this program, the student must be studying full-time, and have a valid study permit at:

  • A public post-secondary institution; or
  • A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution and receives half of its overall operations budget from government grants; or
  • A private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.

The bearer of this open work permit can work for any employer in Canada, and will not need a job offer or a Labour Market Impact Assessment. This open work permit, however, may exclude certain occupations (such as jobs in schools or hospitals) unless medical examination is provided.

Spousal Work Permit Timing and Application Procedure

Most Canadian visa offices overseas are able to process both a study and work permit application at the same time. In such cases, additional fees for the processing of the work permit should be added to study permit application.

Alternatively, the spouse or common law partner can come into Canada as a visitor and then apply for a work permit after arrival. Citizens of countries that do not require a TRV to enter Canada may apply for a work permit at a Canadian Port of Entry. Citizens of visa required countries may also consider applying for a work permit at a Port of Entry.

Your Minor Children and Canadian Study Permit Rules

If you or your spouse or common-law partner already reside in Canada, your minor child can attend preschool, primary, or secondary school without a study permit. Once the child reaches the legal age of the province, he or she will have to obtain a study permit in order to continue studying in Canada. This application can be completed from inside Canada.

When applying for your child’s study permit outside of Canada, you will have to do so from a Canadian overseas visa office.

Applying Together

If you will be moving to Canada with your family while you study, and you will all be arriving at the same time, you can fill out one application for the entire family. If you have a variety of different permit applications (for example, you are applying for a study permit while your spouse or common law partner is applying for a work permit), you will need to include extra documentation and additional fees to support your spouse’s work permit application.


If you wish to prolong or change the conditions for your stay, you will need to send in a separate application to IRCC. Make sure to check the expiry date of your study permit and apply at least 30 days before that date if would like to prolong your stay.

For more information on these categories, kindly contact us at [email protected] or through the other avenues on our contact us page.