Family Members Accompanying International Students

I want to study in Canada, but I’m married with children

If you are coming to Canada as a full-time student with a valid study permit, you do not have to leave your family behind. Canada will welcome your spouse or common-law/conjugal partner and your dependent children, so that your family unit can stay together.

With an open work permit, your spouse or partner will be able to work for any employer in Canada. Unlike other classes of work permits, your spouse or partner can apply for the open work permit without a job offer or a Labour Market Impact Assessment. In most cases, the open work permit will be valid for the duration of your study permit.

At the same time, your children who have not reached the age of majority will be entitled to an education at preschool, elementary or secondary school level without the need for a study permit. Once they reach the age of majority, they will have to go through the proper channels to acquire a study permit if they wish to enter a post-secondary institution.

Are all international students eligible to bring their families?


You are eligible for this program as long as you have a valid study permit and are studying full-time at one of the following:

  • A public post-secondary institution
  • A private post-secondary institution that follows the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and that receives at least half of its operating budget from government grants
  • A private institution that is authorized by its province to confer degrees

When should my spouse or partner apply for their work permit?

If you and your family are planning to arrive in Canada at the same time, we recommend that you submit all of your applications together. As long as the forms are filled in correctly, all supporting documentation is provided and all relevant application fees are included, most overseas Canadian visa offices can process your study permit application at the same time as your spouse or partner’s work permit application.

Alternatively, your spouse or partner may apply after your arrival in Canada. The application can be submitted prior to his or her own arrival in Canada, or at a Canadian port of entry. He or she can also come to Canada with a valid visitor visa, and apply for the work permit after arrival.

It should be noted that citizens of some countries are required to obtain a temporary resident visa in order to visit Canada. This has to be applied for in advance, from outside of Canada, and it may require a medical examination that can add processing time to the application.

Dependent children who have already completed secondary school and want to attend a Canadian post-secondary institution will need to apply for a study permit prior to traveling to Canada.

My study permit is expiring and we want to stay for longer

If your study program is taking longer than expected, or if you would like to undertake further study in Canada, you can apply to extend your study permit and your family’s permits. You will need to complete and submit an application for an extension at least thirty days before your current study permit expires.

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