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Spouses and Family

Foreign nationals interested in studying in Canada who are married and/or have dependent children may wish to bring these family members with them to Canada during their study program. Canadian visa officers will consider study permit applications which include accompanying family members, but including family members on a study permit application may influence the visa officer’s decision.

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Canadian study permits are temporary resident permits, meaning that the holder of a study permit must satisfy the visa officer that they will leave Canada when their permit expires. In some cases, if a student requests to bring their whole family with them to Canada, the visa officer might suspect that the student doesn’t really have the intention to leave Canada after their study program. This can affect the visa officer’s decision on whether or not to issue the study permit.

All study permit applicants are asked to submit a statement explaining why they want to pursue education in Canada. The applicant may use this section of the application to explain why they wish to have their spouse and/or children accompany them to Canada. The final decision on study permit approval is at the discretion of the immigration officer.

Please note that it is possible for a person to apply for a study permit without their family members, but to later submit an amended application requesting authorization for family members to join them in Canada. However, applying to amend an application in this way can result in misrepresentation, including a five year ban from Canada, if the applicant does not follow the correct procedures.

Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support themselves during their first year of study. Those who wish for their family members to accompany should be prepared to demonstrate additional funds to support their family. If an international student is accompanied by their spouse and/or dependent children, they should be aware of how this will affect their housing and health insurance needs.

Bring Your Spouse

A foreign national is welcome to include their spouse on their application for a Canadian study permit, keeping in mind the above-mentioned impacts this may have on the approval of the study permit.

If a foreign national is approved for a study permit in Canada with their spouse accompanying, then the spouse will be eligible to apply for a spousal open work permit. This work permit will authorize the spouse to work full-time for any employer in Canada for the same period as their partner’s study permit.

If both partners are interested in pursuing studies in Canada, they each must apply for separate study permits.

Bring Your Dependent Children

A foreign national is welcome to include dependent children on their application for a Canadian study permit, keeping in mind the above-mentioned impacts this may have on the approval of the study permit.

If a foreign national is approved for a study permit in Canada with their dependent child accompanying, then the child will be issued a visa authorizing their stay in Canada for the same period as the primary applicant’s permit. All minor children are entitled to pursue education at the pre-school, primary, or secondary level of study provided one of their parents is authorized to work or study in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada defines ‘dependent child’ as a person under the age of 22 years old without a spouse or partner. A person over 22 years old may still be considered a dependent if they are unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition.

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