Documentation for your family

If you're bringing your family to Canada - or want to invite your family/friends to visit you - make sure they have the immigration documentation they need.

Inviting your family to visit you in Canada

If a family member (such as a parent) requires a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and wants to come visit you in Canada temporarily – for example, to attend your graduation ceremony – you can provide documents to assist them with their TRV application. See our tutorial with advice.

Inviting friends and family to visit Canada

Bringing your family to live with you in Canada

It may be possible for your family members to come live with you in Canada during the duration of your studies. In most cases, “family” includes spouses, common-law/conjugal partners, and dependent children. If your family members enter Canada without you, they may be admitted on visitor status for up to six months.  Family members most often apply to come initially as visitors. They may need to pass a medical examination in advance.

Visitors admitted for six months or less are not eligible for MSP (BC’s provincial health insurance plan).Ttherefore, if they plan to stay longer than six months, you should apply to extend their stay as soon as possible.

Visas for family members

Depending on their country of citizenship, they may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV, or “entry visa”) that allows them to travel to Canada. If your family members will accompany you to Canada, they can either apply at the same time as you or join you after you have arrived.

To ensure that your family members travelling without you are admitted to Canada as visitors for the length of your study permit, be sure to send them copies of your study permit, Temporary Resident Visa (if you have one) and passport for them to present to the authorities at the Canadian port of entry (airport or border crossing).

Study permits for children

Your school-age children (18 years of age or younger) do not require study permits, but having a study permit rather than a visitor record can make the immigration process run more smoothly, especially if your child enters Canada without a parent.

You should bring two years of official school records for your children, in English or with a certified English translation. You may also need immunization records since birth and their original birth certificate.

Extending documents for family members

When extending documents, each dependant (including children) requires his or her own valid documentation to stay in Canada. Extend their documents before the expiry date and pay the appropriate fee for each person.

Visitor documents may include a stamp in the passport or a visitor record. An undated Customs stamp normally authorizes the visitor to remain in Canada for six months. Your family members should make sure their passports get stamped during the border crossing.

Work permit for your spouse/partner

If you are an international student studying full-time and have a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. Having an open work permit enables your spouse or partner to work on or off campus full-time while you study. 

When should you apply?

Your spouse/partner can apply for a work permit before or after they arrive in Canada. The work permit will usually be issued for the same length of time as your study permit. Your spouse/partner does not need a job offer to apply for a work permit.

In some cases, Canadian visa offices abroad will process spouse/partner work permit applications at the same time as study permit applications. In this case, you will need to include the additional fee for the work permit and complete the work permit application for your spouse/partner, available from the website of the consulate.

Most spouse/partners come to Canada as visitors first and apply for a work permit after they are in Canada. If your spouse or partner does not require a TRV, they may be able to apply for a work permit at the border or airport where they enter Canada.

How to apply for a spousal work permit

Applying for documents together as a family

For many CIC forms, there is an option to fill out only one application for the entire family. For example, accompanying spouses or common-law partners of study permit holders can often apply for open-work  permits that last as long as the study permits of their student partners, if the student is studying full-time at the time of application. 

When the study permit holder extends her/his study permit using the online MyCIC system, applications for new, or extension of, documents of accompanying spouses and all dependents can be made at the same time. There will be a fee for each document requested. 

Additional documentation may be required

Some Canadian visa offices have additional requirements. Please check the website of the specific visa office and look for “Visa Office Specific Instructions” in order to confirm if additional documents are needed and if the application procedure is different.

Send these documents to your family members so they can present the documents right away to the Canadian visa office through which they will apply for temporary resident status. If they do not need to apply for a visa, they should bring these documents to present at the border if asked. Be sure to make copies of these documents. Keep one copy for yourself. 

Definition of common-law partnership

Canadian immigration policy regards an international student’s common-law partner in the same manner as a legal spouse. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) defines common-law partners as people of the same or opposite sex who currently live together and have lived together in a conjugal relationship of at least one year. If you intend to demonstrate common-law status in the future, it is advisable to establish legal ties early (e.g., joint leases, joint bank accounts). 

You can apply to have your relationship recognized as a common-law union by completing the Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union, attaching required documents, and submitting it with an application to CIC or a Consulate of Canada for a visitor record or work permit for your partner.

Last reviewed shim1/27/2017 1:20:14 PM