Are you considering bringing your spouse, common-law partner, or other family members to Canada while you pursue your education? Canada offers an inclusive immigration policy that allows certain family members of international students to work and study in the country. This page provides you with an overview of the process of bringing your family to Canada while you study.

Defining Family Members

Before diving into the details, it's crucial to understand who qualifies as a "family member" in the context of this process. Family members, for this purpose, include spouses, common-law/conjugal partners, and dependent children.

Visitor Visas

Citizens of certain countries and territories may require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada as visitors. Acquiring a visa cannot be done at a Canadian Port of Entry, and in some cases, a medical examination may be necessary, which can significantly extend the processing time. However, since November 10, 2016, most visa-exempt individuals require an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada, with the notable exception of U.S. citizens.

To determine whether you or your accompanying family members need a TRV or an eTA, you can use the Visiting Canada Tool.

Work Permits for Spouses

Full-time students with a valid study permit have the option to assist their spouses or common-law partners in applying for an open work permit. This open work permit enables the spouse or common-law partner to work and is typically valid for the entire duration of the student's study permit. Eligibility criteria include the student studying full-time and having a valid study permit at specific types of institutions.

This open work permit allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada without requiring a job offer or a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). It's important to note that certain occupations, such as jobs in schools or hospitals, may have restrictions unless a medical examination is provided.

Spousal Work Permit Timing and Application Procedure

Canadian visa offices abroad can typically process a work permit application concurrently with the study permit application. In such cases, applicants must include work permit processing fees alongside the study permit processing fees. Conversely, a spouse or common-law partner may enter Canada as a visitor and then apply for a work permit upon arrival. This process can vary based on whether the applicant is from a visa-exempt or visa-required country.

Minor Children and Canadian Study Permit Rules

For families already in Canada, minor children may study at the preschool, primary, or secondary level without a study permit. However, when the child reaches the age of majority in their province, they must apply for a study permit to continue their studies in Canada. This application can be completed from within Canada or, when applying from outside the country, through a Canadian overseas visa office.

Applying Together

If you plan to bring your family to Canada and intend to arrive simultaneously, it's advisable to consider submitting a single application for the entire family. However, if you have various permit applications (e.g., a study permit and your spouse's work permit), you'll need additional documentation and should be prepared to pay extra fees.


When seeking to extend your stay or modify your conditions while in Canada, you'll need to submit a separate application. Make sure to check the expiration date on your study permit and apply at least 30 days before that date if you wish to extend your stay.

Does a Child Need a Study Permit?

Children accompanying an adult with a work or study permit in Canada can attend pre-school, primary, and secondary levels without a study permit. The requirements and documentation needed depend on the child's status, whether they are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or foreign national.

Bringing Your Parents to Canada

While on a study permit, international students have the option to invite their parent(s) to visit Canada. This can be done through a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), allowing parents to travel to Canada for a visit.