Bringing your partner or spouse

We understand that the accompanying spouses, partners, and children of our international students need support too.  We provide information, support and organize events to address the questions and concerns of our international family community.

I’m already in Canada. How can I help my spouse come here?

You should provide them with a letter of invitation that provides details about your legal status in Canada, some basic information about them and details about their intended visit.

In addition to the letter of invitation, you may also want to provide your spouse with a copy of your passport, valid study permit, proof of enrolment, and proof of funds.

Important to remember: Your spouse is applying for a temporary residence status and therefore they must be able to provide proof that they'll return to their home country upon the completion of their visit. Proof can include evidence of employment and/or school attending, family obligations and/or financial responsibilities.


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Study Permit

Sample Study Permit

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Can my spouse, who is not a student, work in Canada?

Yes, so long as they apply for and obtain an open work permit.

They would need to indicate that they're the spouse of a full-time student in Canada. They may also be asked to provide proof of this with their application. Proof would be a copy of your enrolment verification letter and your study permit.

Your spouse can apply for the work permit from inside or outside of Canada.

Their work permit may only be valid for the same duration as your study permit.


My spouse is already in Canada as a visitor. How can they obtain a work permit?

They should create or log onto their own immigration account.

  1. Under their personal information, there should be an option to apply for a "Visitor Visa, Study Permit and/or Work Permit" - click it.
  2. Go to "I do not have a Personal Reference Code" and click "Determine your eligibility and apply online for a visitor visa, study and/or work permit."
  3. Answer the questionnaire. They should state that they're a visitor who plans to remain here for longer than six months and that they're the spouse of a full-time student. They should be given the option to apply for an open work permit. Continue the questionnaire.
  4. They will be given an electronic checklist. Fill out the application form [IMM 5710and validate it, then upload it. Upload all other documentation that's request as well.
  5. Once you've submitted all requested documents online and your application has been received and processed, IRCC will email you (make sure you put the correct email address on your application form) with an approval letter. Soon after, you'll receive the work permit in the mail.

They can only begin working after they've received their work permit.

Important information to consider for spouse applications:

Many spouse applications are refused due to the immigration officer not believing that the spouse can return back to their country of residence/citizenship upon the completion of your studies. Here are some things for you to consider when providing proof to the immigration officer of their ability to return back to their country of citizenship/residence:

Provide a letter of invitation

You should provide them with a letter of invitation to supplement their application. This letter needs to be written by you and should supplement the information provided by your spouse in their application. Be sure to also include information on your studies, how long you've been in Canada, and how your current degree will aid you in finding employment in your country of citizenship. You may also want to provide details for why your spouse didn't apply for a visitor document at the same time that you applied for your initial study permit.

Additional documents to consider in your application

  • Proof of personal funds that are available to you (savings, funding letters, etc.)
  • Copies of your study permit and current enrolment verification letter (indicating full-time status now and in subsequent terms).
  • Any proof you have of visiting your spouse (such as photographs, plane tickets, etc.), or details on how you maintain communication.

Letter of Intent

Your spouse should include a letter of intent explaining:

  • The reasons why they're coming to Canada
  • How long they plan to stay in Canada
  • If they have permission to leave their current employment/schooling for a temporary basis
  • Their ability to resume employment/schooling upon their return to their home country

Important information to consider for spouse applications:

  • Proof of current employment and/or ability to take a leave of absence or a holiday
    • should state current position, salary, and how long they've been working for their employer
    • should be written by their current employer
  • Resume - proof of current and past work experience, showing employability
  • Proof of finances
    • if they have their own savings account, they should show proof of this (such as bank statements, official letters from financial institution, etc.)
  • Proof of previous travels
    • proof that they return back to their home country upon the completion of their legal tourism (such as stamps in current/old passports, and/or create a list indicating where they traveled and the dates).
  • Proof of family ties in home country
    • list all relatives currently living in country of citizenship
    • if caring for any relatives, include that information and outline who would care for them in their absence
  • Proof of current studies (if applicable)
    • proof that taking a break from their studies would not impact their ability to obtain their degree
      • should be an official letter from their educational institution