Can I Bring My Wife to Canada While Studying?

Learn about the options and requirements for bringing your spouse to Canada while you study.

Are you considering studying in Canada but concerned about leaving your spouse behind?

We have great news for you! Canada's policies allow students studying on a study permit to bring their family members, including spouses or common-law partners, to the country. This means you can fulfill your dream of getting an education in Canada while having your spouse by your side. 

The process of achieving this may seem complicated, but don't worry; we've got you covered. 

In this article, we will explore the possibilities and requirements for bringing your wife to Canada while pursuing your education.

Overview of Canadian Immigration Policies for Student's Family

Canada is an increasingly popular destination for international students seeking high-quality education and a multicultural experience. The prospect of bringing a spouse can be a significant consideration for those considering studying in Canada.


The Canadian immigration system recognizes the importance of family unity and provides avenues for spouses to accompany international students during their studies.

Eligibility Criteria for International Students to Bring Spouses

To facilitate the immigration of spouses, Canada offers the option for the spouses or common-law partners of international students to join them. 

The key eligibility criteria include:

  1. Valid Study Permit: The student must hold a valid study permit and be enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution.
  2. Relationship Verification: The relationship with the spouse or common-law partner must be legally recognized. The student must provide documents certifying their marriage or common-law status.
  3. Application for Spouse's Visa: The spouse must apply for a visitor visa, a work permit, or a study permit. A spousal open work permit is particularly beneficial as it allows the spouse to work for any employer in Canada without requiring a job offer at the time of application.
  4. Simultaneous or Subsequent Application: The process can be initiated either when applying for a study permit or later. Planning ahead ensures smoother processing.

Students should consult the most recent guidelines provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure compliance with the current immigration policies when they plan to bring their spouses to Canada. BorderPass can also help members attain permits for their spouses.

Visa Types and Requirements

International students in Canada can bring their spouse or dependent children with them under specific types of visas and permits.

Spouses of international students can get open work permits, but they can also get visitor visas for the duration of the study program. Visitor visas don't let spouses work in Canada. Understanding the nuances of each option ensures families can make informed decisions.

Understanding the Study Permit Process

Applicants seeking to study in Canada and wish to bring their family members, such as a wife, must carefully navigate the study permit application. 

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the governing body overseeing these procedures. The application process commences with obtaining a study permit, which is mandatory for any international student. One should simultaneously apply for a temporary resident visa (TRV) if one belongs to a country that requires it. A valid passport is also requisite for the duration of the stay.

Application steps:

  1. Proof of Acceptance: Secure an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution in Canada.
  2. Documentation: Gather supporting documents, including a valid passport and recent passport-sized photos.
  3. Medical Exam: Applicants from certain countries may need a medical exam.
  4. Application Submission: Apply for the study permit online or through a physical visa application center.

Applicants applying for a study permit can also request to bring their dependents, such as their spouse, along with them. However, they need to provide proper documentation, proof of their relationship, and evidence of financial support.


It's essential to keep in mind that timelines for processing applications can vary, so applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. They can check the current processing times for their application on the official IRCC website.

Spousal Open Work Permit: Features and Eligibility

The Spousal Open Work Permit allows international students' spouses or common-law partners to seek employment in Canada. To be eligible:

  • The international student must hold a valid study permit.
  • They must be a full-time student at a public post-secondary institution or a private institution operating under the same rules and regulations.
  • The program of study should be at least six months, leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Visitor Visas for Spouses and Dependent Children

Spouses and dependent children of international students may come to Canada on a visitor visa, staying for up to six months. Sometimes, they can extend their stay by applying for a visitor record. 

For longer durations, dependent children are eligible for a study permit and don't require one if enrolling in preschool, primary, or secondary education.

Application Process for Spouses and Dependents

When studying in Canada, individuals can sponsor their spouses or dependents during their stay. 

Steps to Apply for a Spousal Work Permit:

  1. Eligibility Check: The student must ensure they are eligible to sponsor their spouse or dependent by holding a valid study permit and studying full-time at a recognized institution.
  2. Application Submission: The spouse or dependent must apply for a spousal open work permit online or by paper through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  3. Biometrics and Processing: After submitting your application, you may be required to provide biometric information. Processing times vary and can be checked on the IRCC website.

Documentation Needed for Spouse and Family Visas

Applicants need to provide accurate and complete documentation for a successful application:

  • Proof of Relationship: This includes marriage certificates or evidence of a common-law partnership.
  • Identification Documents: A valid passport for each person is mandatory.
  • Proof of Enrollment: The student must prove their active status.
  • Proof of Funds: Bank statements or other financial documents to prove sufficient funds to cover the living costs for the spouse or dependents.
  • Medical Examination: In some cases, a medical examination may be required, which can be performed by a panel physician.

Proving Relationship Status and Financial Stability

Couples must provide evidence of their legal status to prove the legitimacy of their relationship, including:

  • Evidence of Genuine Relationship: Applicants must present documentation, such as joint bank accounts, rental agreements, or birth certificates of children, to support the validity of their relationship.

Financial Evidence: Bank statements or letters from financial institutions may serve as proof of funds to show financial stability and the capability to support the spouse or dependents.

Considerations and Implications

When an international student considers bringing their spouse to Canada, they need to understand how this decision may affect their study permit application and explore the opportunities available for their spouse regarding education and work.


Additionally, they should be aware of how this move could pave the way for permanent residency in Canada.

Impact on Study Permit and Visa Applications

The presence of a spouse during a student's educational journey in Canada can influence study permit and visa applications. 

International students must disclose information about accompanying family members on their application. When including a spouse, the couple's financial capacity to support their stay and the genuineness of their marriage or common-law relationship will be carefully scrutinized by immigration officials.

Canadian Immigration may require the following:

  • Proof of sufficient funds for both student and spouse.
  • Marriage certification or evidence of a common-law partnership.
  • An explanation of the spouse's intentions while in Canada, whether accompanying or following to join.

Opportunities for Spouses in Canada (Work and Study Options)

A spouse coming to Canada can apply for a spousal work permit, an open work permit allowing them to seek employment anywhere in Canada. This flexibility can significantly contribute to the family's financial stability and enrich the spouse's professional experience.

Spouses of International Students may be eligible for:

  • Open Work Permit: No job offer needed; enables work for most employers in Canada.
  • Study Permit: If the spouse wishes to pursue education.

It's essential to meet all criteria for work or study permits, as eligibility depends on the type of permit held.

Long-term Implications: Path to Permanent Residency

If you are considering bringing your spouse to Canada, it is important to note that this decision can have long-term implications for obtaining permanent residency. 

One option to consider is obtaining a spousal work permit for your partner, which can provide them with valuable Canadian work experience.

Practical Advice for Families

Moving to a new country can be overwhelming. However, proper planning and preparation can make it more manageable. 

Researching housing options, local amenities, and community support networks can make the settling-in process smoother.

When bringing your family to Canada as an international student, planning for their health care, education, housing, and cultural integration is crucial. 

Working with BorderPass can provide the support you need for yourself and your family.

Settling in Canada with Your Family

Finding suitable housing is a top priority for families arriving in Canada. They should research the local housing market in the area of their institution, considering factors such as proximity to schools and amenities. 

Health insurance is another critical aspect; international students should confirm whether their school's health plan extends to dependents or if they will need a private plan.

Accessing Health Care and Education for Dependents

Dependents of international students typically have access to health care through either university-provided health insurance plans or provincial health care. 

Education for children is readily available with elementary school and secondary school options. Most provinces offer free public education, and international students should check the registration requirements for their dependents as soon as they arrive.

Cultural Adjustment and Support Networks

The adaptation to a new culture can be challenging. 

Canada's rich cultural diversity offers a welcoming environment, but cultural adjustment is a natural process. Building a support network, connecting with other international families, and engaging in community activities can help ease the transition.

By addressing key aspects, families can create a strong foundation for a new life in Canada while enabling international students(you) to focus on their studies.

Key Takeaways

In summary, bringing a spouse to Canada while studying is attainable for international students. 

Understanding the eligibility criteria, choosing the right visa option, and meticulously following the application process are vital steps for a successful relocation.


Additionally, being aware of the implications of study permits, exploring opportunities for spouses, and planning for long-term residency contribute to a well-rounded decision-making process.

BorderPass and their Canadian Immigration Lawyers can help you and your family study, work, and live in Canada, providing all the support you need for a successful journey. 


Can I Bring My Parents to Canada as an International Student?

While parents cannot accompany international students on a study permit, they may apply for visitor visas to visit their children in Canada.

However, these visits are typically temporary, and parents cannot stay for the entire study program.

Can My Spouse Study in Canada If I Have a Canadian Study Permit?

Yes, spouses with open work permits can also pursue studies in Canada. They must apply for a separate study permit, and eligibility criteria apply, including acceptance into a DLI.

What Happens if My Spouse's Work Permit Expires Before Mine?

Sometimes, it becomes necessary to find ways to extend a spouse's work permit or transition to another immigration program that permits continued stay in Canada.


It is advisable to seek assistance from immigration authorities or legal experts to handle such situations better and more efficiently.

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