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Canada Student Dependant Visa

Canada Student Dependant Visa

Married immigrants who are studying in Canada and have dependent children may wish to bring their family members to the country with them. Canada's visa officials may consider granting dependent family members permission to accompany applicants who hold study permits. Applicants must demonstrate that they have adequate financial resources to support themselves during their first year of education. If they wish for their family members to accompany them, they will also need to prove that they have additional resources to support them.

Bring Your Spouse

Foreign nationals can include their spouses on their Canadian study permit applications, taking into account the potential effects on the approval of the study permit. Those who are granted study permits in Canada along with their spouses are eligible to apply for open work permits for their spouses. This work permit allows the spouse to work full-time for any employer in Canada during the same period as the study permit. If both partners wish to study in Canada, they must apply for separate study permits.

Bring your Dependent Children

Overseas citizens can include their dependent children on their applications for a Canadian study permit, taking into account the potential effects on the approval of the study permits. If foreigners are granted study permits in Canada along with their dependent children, the children will be issued visas allowing them to stay in Canada for the same duration as the primary applicant's permit. Dependent children are eligible to attend pre-school, primary, or secondary education if one of their parents is authorized to work or study in Canada. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a "dependent child" is a person under the age of 22 who is not married or in a common-law relationship. Individuals over 22 may still be considered dependent if they are unable to support themselves financially due to a mental or physical disability.

Spouse or Common-law partner work permit

Common-law partners or accompanying spouses of full-time foreign students may be eligible for an open work permit, which means they do not need a job offer or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Service Canada. Spouses or common-law partners can qualify for a work permit if:

  • They are full-time students studying at a designated learning institution (DLI)
  • They are pursuing a study program eligible for a work permit after graduation and
  • They hold a valid study permit.
  • The IRCC website has more information about the eligibility requirements for open work permits for spouses/common-law partners of foreign students in Canada.

Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students can apply for open work permits at the same time as the student's study permit application. Alternatively, those who are already in Canada as students and their partners who wish to join them can apply for work permits before traveling to Canada. US citizens and other visa-exempt individuals can apply for a work permit once they enter Canada at a border or through a consulate. Individuals who are unsure of how to apply can seek assistance from International Student Advisors or Immigration Specialists. If spouses or common-law partners have already entered Canada as visitors and wish to extend their stay and/or apply for work permits, they can refer to the instructions for extending a family member's stay in Canada.

Spouses or common-law partners who have already entered Canada as visitors may be eligible to apply for open work permits online from within the country, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Further information on the application process and required documents can be found on the "Work Permits for Spouses/Common-Law Partners" section of our website. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), common-law partners are individuals of the same or opposite sex who have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Common-law partners are considered equal to legal spouses in Canada. For more information, refer to the IRCC website.

Permits for dependent children

School-aged children between the ages of 5 and 18 must also apply for study permits to facilitate the immigration process, especially if they come to Canada without their parents. They must present official school records for the past two years in English or with an official English translation. Children under the age of 5 do not require visitor records. For more information on education and childcare for dependent children, please visit the ‘Support for your family’ section on our website.

Documents required

If dependent family members will be joining you later, they will need some or all of the following documents as part of their applications for temporary residence in Canada (in addition to their own supporting documents, as required by the visa office):

Required application forms which can be found here

  • Your Confirmation of Enrollment letter or SFU admission letter, and official SFU transcript (if children have already started their studies)
  • An invitation letter
  • Proof of funds, such as a letter(s) from a bank, scholarship provider, employer, or SFU
  • Proof of relationship, such as a copy of your marriage certificate or evidence of common-law status
  • A copy of your study permit (if applicable) and passport
  • Biometrics and/or a health examination may also be required
  • Be sure to keep copies of all the documents that your family members submit with their applications.
Length of Stay

If your family members travel to Canada without you and have not applied for study permits or work permits, they may be granted visitor status for six months or less. Visitors admitted to stay for six months or less are not eligible for British Columbia's Medical Services Plan (MSP), so they should apply to extend or change their immigration documents as soon as possible. Visitors are usually allowed to stay in Canada for six months based on an undated customs stamp on their passport. Your family members should make sure their passports are stamped when they enter Canada. To ensure that your family members traveling without you can stay in Canada for the duration of your study permit, send them copies of the documents listed above to show at the Canadian border crossing. 

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Steps to apply for the express entry program

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