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Bringing Your Family to Canada

Published on: June 7th, 2017

Family reunification is the second largest category of Canadian immigration. If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor certain family members to join you.

If you’re in Canada temporarily as a student or a worker, you may also be eligible to bring your family with you!

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Family sponsorship

Once you become a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor some family members to come to Canada. This is called family sponsorship. Family sponsorship is the second largest category of Canadian immigration, behind economic immigration.

There are three types of family members eligible under family sponsorship:

  1. Spouse or common-law partner
  2. Dependent children
  3. Parents or grandparents

To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and have enough income to support any family you want to bring to Canada. When you sponsor a family member, they become a Canadian permanent resident.

If you’re sponsoring your spouse or partner to come to Canada, and they have dependent children, you can also sponsor their children to immigrate to Canada.

Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents

The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program is limited. Interested families must submit an online form to express their interest in applying. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) holds yearly draws where they invite certain candidates to submit an application.

To make up for the limited size of the program, IRCC offers the Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents. This is a multiple-entry visa that can be valid for up to 10 years and allows your parents or grandparents to stay in Canada for up to 2 years on their initial visit. You must be a permanent resident or citizen of Canada for your parents or grandparents to apply for the Super Visa.

Unlike the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program, the Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents does not lead to permanent resident status for your parents.

Accompanying family members

If you come to Canada on a temporary permit, like a study permit or work permit, you may be able to bring your family with you.

Temporary workers

If you receive a valid job offer from a Canadian employer and are applying for a work permit, you may be eligible to have your spouse and dependent children accompany you to Canada.

If your children are school-aged, they’ll be able to attend Canadian educational institutions without needing separate study permits. Your spouse or partner may also be eligible to apply for an open work permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer in Canada.

International students

If you’re accepted into a Canadian school, you can include your spouse and dependent children on your application for a study permit. As with temporary workers, international students’ accompanying spouses are able to apply for an open work permit, and their dependent children can attend school in Canada.

Q: If my child is an international student, can I accompany them?

A: Usually, the answer to this question is no. However, there is a unique exception. If your child in a minor (under the age of 18) and does not have a guardian in Canada, you may be able to accompany him or her to Canada.

If your child is under the age of 18 and has been accepted into a Canadian school and has no one to look after them while in Canada, you may be able to apply for a visitor record. This is a document that allows you to accompany your child to look after them. When your child applies for a study permit, your visitor record will demonstrate that your child has someone to care for them while they study. A minor without anyone to care for them in Canada will not be able to successfully apply for a study permit.

However, if your child is 18 years of age or older, has family in Canada that can care for them, or if they are attending a boarding school, you will not be able to apply for a visitor record, and they will still be able to apply for a study permit.


Canadian immigration is complicated, and it changes frequently. Working with an expert like Certified Immigration Attorney Renaud Dery and the Canadim Team can help you keep it simple. Complete our free online assessment today to discover your Canadian immigration options. 

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