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Bringing Family Members to Canada

You may be able to bring your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children to live with you in Canada. They may be eligible for a study or work permit. 

Spousal Open Work Permits 

Your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit if you:

  • have a valid study permit and
  • are a full-time student

Processing an open work permit usually takes several months. Your spouse or common-law partner’s work permit will be valid for the same period of time as your study permit.

In most cases, your spouse or partner will apply online. Please ensure to read the application instruction guide for applying online very carefully. There are important documents required with your application, as detailed in IRCC’s document checklist

Please note, only spouses or common-law partners of foreign nationals who hold a study permit and study on a full-time basis in a post-graduation work permit-eligible study program may apply for an open work permit.

Study Permits for Minor Children 

Minor children who are outside of Canada must apply for a study permit before they enter Canada if they wish to study. This includes minor children who have parents that have a valid study or work permit.  However, Minor children that are coming with parents that have a valid study or work permit do not need to provide a letter of acceptance when they apply for a study permit. 

Minors already in Canada may study without a permit if they have a parent who is allowed to work or study in Canada. However, there may be benefits to applying for a study permit.  Minor children in Canada with a family member who had a work or study permit approved before entering Canada will need a letter of acceptance when they apply for a study permit.