BP101
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Studying in Canada

Visa for International Students’ Spouses in Canada: Important Eligibility Requirements

Bring your spouse with you to Canada as a visitor, student, or work permit holder.

Our findings show that there are thousands of international students in Canada pursuing higher education with spouses and immediate family members. Studying abroad and living away from your spouse or children can be difficult.

Through our hands-on experience, applying for a visa for your spouse will allow you to bring your spouse with you to Canada as a visitor, student, or work permit holder.

Reading this article will give you a thorough understanding of visas for international students’ spouses in Canada because it provides complete coverage on eligibility, requirements, and the application process.

This guide will function as a comprehensive reference to the different components of a spousal visa in Canada. It will examine crucial information and share key insights into the following:

  • What is a spousal visa?
  • Eligibility and requirements for a visa for student’s spouse
  • Guide to applying for a Canada visa for student’s spouse
  • Benefits and advantages of the spousal visa
  • Key takeaways
  • Frequently asked questions

Ready to get started on your journey to a visa for your spouse in Canada? Let’s get into it!

What is a spousal visa?

A spousal visa is a type of visa that authorizes the spouse or common-law partner to accompany an international student in Canada throughout the duration of his or her studies.

The spouse or common-law partner is sponsored by their partner to live, study, or work in Canada for the length of the student’s academic program.

International students can bring their spouse or common-law partner and dependent children to Canada if their online applications are approved along with their study permit. They may be eligible for a visitor visa or a work or study permit.

You and your spouse can either apply together at the same time when you apply for your initial study permit from outside of Canada or apply separately after you have arrived.

Purpose of the spousal visa

Citizens of certain countries and territories will need to have a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada. In some cases, you may also be required to submit a medical examination.

Citizens of visa-exempt countries, on the other hand, will need an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) also provides the spouse of each international student in Canada with the option to apply for a spousal work permit.

Eligibility and requirements for the spousal visa

Before we dive into the student spouse visa application process, let’s take a look at the essential eligibility factors and requirements:

Basic eligibility criteria

A person is eligible for a spousal visa in Canada when they meet certain requirements. To be considered, the international student’s partner must be 18 years old or above.

They must not have been charged with any serious offense, submit a clean police record, and have not been invited to Canada as a sponsored spouse within five years.

Financial requirements

When it comes to financial requirements, you need to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself, your spouse, your children, and your study program while in Canada.

IRCC guidelines are similar to the requirements for a study permit application: CAD$20,635, plus one year of tuition, plus airfare. Including your family will have additional funding requirements: CAD$4,000 more for your first family member, then an additional CAD$3,000 for every additional family member.

Marriage and relationship documentation

When submitting an application, you should make sure the paperwork is accompanied by complete documents related to your marriage.

These can include your marriage certificate and additional forms of personal proof such as photos of your wedding or marriage ceremony.

Health and character requirements

As an international student, you will need to acquire private temporary health insurance for at least the first three months of your family’s arrival in Canada. If eligible, they can apply for provincial health coverage once they arrive.

If your spouse plans to work in Canada, they can potentially apply for additional health coverage for your family through their employer.

Intention to leave canada at the end of the stay

In the spouse’s visa application process, it’s vital to give an explanation and provide supporting documentation that proves your ties to your home country.

It’s crucial to make it clear to the immigration officer that you will leave Canada by the date your visa expires.

Open work permit for spouses

As an international student with a valid study permit, you may be eligible to work in Canada while studying, depending on the conditions of your study permit. Your spouse can also opt to apply for an open work permit.

This permit will enable your spouse or common-law partner to work for any employer in Canada. It does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment or job offer but may exclude certain occupations, such as school or hospital jobs.

Study permits for dependent children

Your minor-aged children who are already in Canada can study without a study permit if they are in the preschool, primary, or secondary level and at least one parent is authorized to work or study in the country.

Once they reach the age of majority in their province, they must apply for a study permit to continue studying in Canada. They will not be able to study until this has been granted.

If you are applying from outside of Canada, you need to submit your child’s study permit application at an overseas Canadian visa office.

Other additional documentation

Additional documentation required by IRCC includes proof that demonstrates you and your spouse are in an ongoing relationship.

Your application is supported by additional evidence and this can consist of identification documents, insurance policies, and driver’s licenses that prove you are living together at the same address.

Guide to applying for a spousal open work permit

To reduce the chances of getting your application rejected, understanding each step in the Canada student spouse visa application process is essential:

Perform research and planning

The first step is to conduct proper research and planning. You need to identify the education that you want to pursue and apply to universities and colleges in Canada accordingly.

After that, you can select the right student stream for your study permit and the permit you would like to apply for for your spouse.

Take language tests

You and your spouse may be required to take valid language exams that demonstrate your language proficiency. You can include the results in your application once you and your spouse have received them. These exams may be in one of the two national languages of Canada, French or English.

Submit the application

You will then need to complete the necessary forms and submit your applications for the study permit and student spouse visa. Always remember to include all the requested documentation for your application.

Steps requested by IRCC

Once you have submitted your application to IRCC, they may request medical examination results or biometrics, depending on your country and whether you have applied to enter Canada before.

Wait for the decision and come to Canada

Once your application is processed by officials and has been approved, you will receive your study permit and be authorized to enter Canada. If your spouse gets approved, they will be notified at around two weeks after the approval of your study permit.

Important considerations for spouse applications

If you are planning to extend your stay in the country as an international student, your spouse and children’s documentation requires renewal to extend their stay in Canada.

You can extend the documents for each individual’s stay together with your study permit extension or by applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Please note, you will require a job offer or job to include a spouse on a PGWP application.

Benefits and advantages of applying for a spousal permit

Based on our first-hand experience, there are several benefits that come with a spousal open work permit. Let’s explore some of the most significant advantages that it has to offer international students in Canada:

Bringing your spouse and dependent children to Canada

One of the biggest features of a spousal permit is that international students can stay together with their families and look forward to the high quality of life provided in Canada.

Work permits for spouses and common-law partners

If you are studying full-time in a designated learning institute (DLI) with a study permit and your partner is eligible, they can apply for a work permit that allows them to work in a wide range of occupations while you pursue your study program.

Study permits for dependent children

If you are planning to work or study in Canada for six months or longer and are applying from outside the country, your children who are minors will also need to apply for a study permit but they do not need to submit a letter of acceptance from a school. Ensure to check the age of minority in the province you are applying to.

Open work permit

Your spouse or common-law partner can qualify for an open work permit that authorizes them to work from any location in Canada under an eligible employer, change jobs as long as the work permit is valid, and even start a business.

Key takeaways

If you are a prospective international student planning on studying in Canada, you may want to consider applying for a spousal open work permit. This permit is issued for partners and dependants so you can live together in Canada while studying, and is necessary documentation to do so.

BorderPass can guide you in every step of the application and help the process go smoothly and efficiently.

Frequently asked questions

What are the main differences between a  study permit and a spousal open work permit?

A study permit is issued and valid for international students pursuing education in Canada, while a spousal permit authorizes their spouse to work and stay with them in Canada throughout their study program.

Can my spouse apply for a work permit after arriving in Canada on a visa for student spouses?

Yes. Your spouse or common-law partner can apply for a work permit either before or after they arrive in Canada. It is typically issued for the same duration as your study permit and does not require a job offer.

How long does the spousal application process typically take?

Spousal application processing time in Canada can widely vary depending on your country of citizenship. Generally, the wait time for countries like India can range from 12 to 26 months and is based on the number of applications currently being processed.

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