How Your Family Can Join You Here in Canada

By Lubaba Hoque Modified on January 27, 2022
Tags : Relationships | Student POV | Travel

Having family members around can make your life as an international student a whole lot easier.


It can be daunting as an international student to come to Canada, and some students may wish to bring their family with them. Here's how:

Who is eligible to come to Canada?

There are a few ways that an international student can bring their family to Canada. In most cases, family includes spouses, common-law / conjugal partners, and dependent children. You'll need to do some work to get everything in order, even if your family is eligible to join you.

General documents needed for family members to come to Canada

Accompanying family members will need authorization to enter Canada, which can either be a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Accompanying family members will also need authorization to stay in Canada, which can either be a visitor record, a six-month default temporary resident status, a work permit, or a study permit.

Spouses or dependent children can come with the student to Canada by submitting their applications together. When applying online as an international student, you must indicate that you'll be coming to Canada with your family. Family members need to have one of the following:

  • a study or work permit
  • a Letter of Introduction which shows that they've been approved for a study or work permit
  • a visitor visa
  • an eTA, as above

Spouse or common-law partner

Spouses or common-law partners can apply to come to Canada as a visitor or as a worker. To apply to Canada as a worker, the spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. Spouses or partners may be eligible for a work permit if their partner is a full-time student at an authorized post-secondary institution, with a valid study permit.

A work permit is only valid for the duration of the student's study permit. The spouse can apply for a work permit from outside Canada, or if the spouse enters Canada as a visitor, they can apply for the open work permit before their authorized stay expires. An offer of employment is not required to obtain an open work permit.

If you, as a student, are already in Canada, but your spouse is not, you can send them a Letter of Invitation which provides details about their legal status in Canada, basic information about them, as well as details about the visit.

If your spouse is applying for temporary residence status, they must be able to prove that they'll return to their home country after the visit. They should also include a Letter of Intent explaining their reason for coming to Canada, how long they plan to stay, if they have permission to leave their current employment or schooling temporarily, and if they will be able to resume their schooling or employment when they return to their home country.

Dependent children

Dependent children will be issued a visa for the duration of the primary applicant's study permit. Dependent children are those under 22 years of age without a spouse or partner. If the dependent is over 22 years old, they can be considered a dependent if they are not able to support themselves financially due to a mental or physical condition.

Dependent children can attend pre-school, primary or secondary school in Canada if one of the parents is authorized to study or work in Canada.


Your parents can visit using a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Best of luck in Canada. We're glad to have you!

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