How to Travel to Canada with Family on Student Visa

Canada Student Visa, Family immigration to Canada

“Can I travel to Canada with my family on a study visa?” is a common question international students ask before/during their studies in Canada. As an international student, you have the benefit of bringing your family with you to Canada on a study permit. These benefits cover your spouse/common-law partner, and dependent children, who may be eligible for a Canadian study or work permit. Read through to learn more about the requirements for bringing your family with you to Canada on a student visa.

Can I bring my spouse?

As an international student, you can include your spouse during your application for a Canadian study permit. However, keep in mind that this can impact the visa officer’s decision on whether or not you will be issued a study permit, especially if the applicant requests to bring their whole family along to Canada.

Once your study permit is approved, you can apply for open work permit for your spouse. An open work permit allows your spouse to work full time for any employer in Canada as long as you’re a student. Subsquently, if you and your spouse intend to study in Canada, you must apply for study permit separately.

Can I bring my Dependent Children?

First, who is a dependent child? A dependent child as defined by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is any child under the age of 22 years without a partner or spouse. In some cases, children above the age of 22 might be regarded as dependent if they are financially unable to support themselves due to any mental or physical condition.

International students have the opportunity to include their dependent children when applying for their Canadian study permit. Dependents will be given study permit, allowing them to stay in Canada for as long as the main applicant is there. However, keep in mind the impact it might have on the approval of your study permit.

Do my dependents need a study permit?

As an international student outside Canada, you must apply for a study permit for your dependent (children below 22 years of age). In most cases, a study permit for dependents (rather than a visitor record) can make the immigration process easier for accompanying minor children. A few important documents to note include;

  • Birth certificate and immunization records since birth
  • Official school records in English or certified English translation

Your dependent would not need to provide a letter of acceptance from a Canadian educational institution when applying for a study permit.

What is the Impact on my Study Permit Application?

Several factors can impact the decision of an immigration officer in approving your study permit application. In some cases, you might be denied if you include family members in your study permit application. Especially when the immigration officer is not convinced of your intentions to return to your home country once your study permit expires. Another option, to decrease your chances of getting denied, is to apply for your spouse or dependents after you have settled into school in Canada. However, if you’re not certain of the outcome, you can speak to any of our consultants.

Work Permits for Spouses/Common-Law Partner

International students with valid study permits can apply for open-work permits for their spouses or common-law partners. An open-work permit allows your spouse or common-law partner to work for the duration of your study permit, i.e if your study permit is valid for 2 years, your partner is allowed to work for 2 years. However, you have to check if you are eligible for this program, you must be studying full-time and have a valid study permit at:

  • A public University or College; or
  • A private university or College that functions under the same rules and regulations as a public University/College and receives 50% of its overall operations budget from government grants; or
  • A private College or University authorized by the provincial statute to confer degrees.

Once your spouse/common-law partner is granted an open-work permit, they are allowed to work for any employer in Canada and will not require a job offer, or a Labor Market Impact Assessment. This open work permit, however, excludes jobs in certain occupations such as schools and hospitals.

Can my parents visit me while on a study permit?

As an international student, your parents can be invited to visit you in Canada on a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Do you have any questions about travelling to Canada with your family on a student visa? Reach out to our team of Certified Canadian Consultants via email:

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