International Student: Bring Your Family to Canada

Canada is not only known for its diversity but also for its commitment to family unification. Thus, international students who want to be with their family while pursuing Canadian education may bring their family with them to Canada.

Canada’s Study Permit program allows you to bring your spouse or common-law partner and/or dependent children with you. They are eligible to apply for a:

  • visitor visa;
  • work permit; or
  • study permit.

If they are planning to accompany you, they are advised to submit their application at the same time as your own for faster processing of their application.

Spouse or Common-law partner

To help with your finances, your spouse or common-law partner may wish to work in Canada while you are studying. They may be eligible for an open work permit, which is usually valid for the same period as your study permit, if you:

  • have a valid study permit and
  • are a full-time student at one of these types of schools:
    • a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec;
    • a private college-level school in Quebec;
    • a Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree)

An open work permit is not job-specific, and therefore would not require Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or a proof of job offer.

If your partner will not apply for an open work permit, they will need a Temporary Resident Visa/Visitor Visa or electronic Travel Authority (eTA) to travel with you, depending on their country of citizenship. Note that they are not allowed to work if they are only on a Visitor Visa. However, if they wish to work while already in Canada, they can apply for an open work permit before the expiry of their visitor status.

Dependent Children

Dependent children may also come to Canada with the Study Permit applicant and may be eligible for a study permit or a visitor visa. Minor children who want to attend school in Canada are required to have a study permit before entering Canada, however, they do not need to provide a letter of acceptance from an educational institution. On the other hand, minors who are already in Canada may study without a study permit, but they must have a valid visitor status during their stay in Canada. The minor child must have a visitor record or a Canadian entry stamp on his or her passport.

Documentary requirements may vary depending on how and where you apply.

If you have questions or need some help with your application, we are happy to help. You can contact us at or by phone at 403-648-3121 to get started.

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