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Obtaining permits for family members


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Want your family members to stay in Canada with you for all or part of your studies or internship?

This page provides information on the family member immigration process and the documents you need to give them in order to invite them into the country.

The application for visas and permits should be done by:

  • By yourself: When submitting your visa/permit application
  • By your spouse or partner: Following approval of your study permit

Applications have to be submitted online. Application processing times vary by Canadian visa office. You can look up processing times for specific centres on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

As a student or intern, you will need to provide your spouse and/or children with certain supporting documents.Your spouse may apply for one of the following 3 immigration permits:

  • A work permit if your spouse wants to stay in Canada for 6 months or more and get a job
  • A visitor visa if your spouse wants to come for less than 6 months at a time
  • A study permit if your spouse wants to study in Canada In this case, your spouse must also apply for a Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for studies

Note: Inviting your family to Canada is no guarantee that their immigration applications will be approved. The immigration authorities may deny your spouse and/or children entry into the country for a number of reasons. To increase their chances of approval, be sure the application package includes the documents below.

Basic documents to send to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, according to the permit applied for 

Work permit

If your spouse plans to join you in Canada for the duration of your studies or internship, a work permit is required. Your spouse should apply for an open work permit, which is not job-specific and does not require your spouse to get a CAQ for work, or a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

There is a C$255 application fee for the work permit (Fees valid on June, 1st 2023).

Basic documents:

  • Form: Application for a Work Permit Made Outside Canada [IMM 1295]
  • Digital photo
  • Passport
  • Proof of relationship (marriage certificate or birth certificate for a child)

Visitor visa (staying in Canada as a visitor)

If your spouse is planning one or more short visits to Canada while you are here, a visitor visa is necessary.

There is a C$100 application fee for the visitor visa (Fees valid on June, 1st 2023).

Basic documents:

  • Form: Application for a Temporary Resident Visa [IMM 5257]
  • Digital photo
  • Passport
  • Proof of relationship (marriage certificate or birth certificate for a child)

Study permit

When applying for a study permit, your spouse must have an admission offer, a CAQ for studies, and sufficient financial resources for the duration of studies. The emphasis isn’t on the explanation and invitation letters or on your ties to the country, as is the case when applying for a visa or work permit.

It is more like the application you filled out to study in Canada. See the Regular students section of this site for more information.

Please note that for your children attending an elementary or high school, the admission letter from a school is not necessary.

Additional documents suggested for work permit or visitor visa application package 

Enclosing the following documents will improve your family members’ chances of being approved for a work permit or visitor visa:

  1. A signed and dated letter of explanation from your spouse mentioning the following

    • Purpose and duration of his or her visit to Canada
    • Current activity/occupation in the country of residence
    • Degrees completed and/or studies in progress
    • Ties to the country of residence (house, children, job, etc.)
    • Motivation to return after the temporary stay in Canada

    Ties to and motivation to return to the country of residence are important factors in the case of a temporary stay. Your spouse must convince IRCC that he or she fully intends to return home.

  2. Proof of in-country activities: Letter from employer, confirmation of enrolment at a university, etc.
  3. Signed and dated invitation letter from you mentioning
    • Your relationship to the person you are inviting to Canada
    • Your status and activity/occupation in Canada, if applicable
    • The length of your spouse’s stay
    • If you have somewhere to live in Canada, you can also mention that your spouse will be living there as well
  4. Proof of your status in Canada, if applicable
    • Study permit
    • Transcript
    • Confirmation of enrolment for the current and/or next semester
  5. Proof of financial capacity: You and/or your spouse must prove that you have the resources to support yourself in Canada (bank statement for your and/or your spouse’s account, proof of scholarship or employment, etc.)

How to apply

You must apply online using a IRCC secure account (details on creating, preparing and submitting an online application). You will need to create an account on the Immigration, Refuges and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website upload scanned copies of the required documents and pay the fee by credit card. To create an account and apply online, go to the online application section of the IRCC website. Please note that IRCC is phasing in a new portal for online applications. If you are directed to the new portal, there will be discrepancies with the information provided here. Among other things, you will not be asked to fill out an application form in PDF format. Fees and processing times remain the same, regardless of the portal used.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive electronic confirmation via your IRCC secure account. Print the confirmation page and present it to the immigration officer upon your arrival in Canada.

If you are from a country whose citizens need a visa, you must send your passport to the Canadian visa office that serves your country of residence for placement of your visa stamp. There is no additional cost for this service. If you are from a country whose citizens need an Electronic travel Authorization (eTA), it will be generated automatically without any other fee.


  • The list of documents to attach to the online application is often too limited. You can attach the additional documents suggested above in the “Optional documents” section of IRCC’s secure online application.


Citizens of all countries except the United States and other minor exceptions have to give their biometrics in order to obtain a visa or permit.

Important: Persons needing only an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) do not have to provide biometrics.

Fee: $85 biometric fee in addition to the visa application fee.

In the hours following submission of your online application, you will receive the 'instruction letter' in your IRCC secure account with instructions to submit your biometrics at  a collection service point.

IMPORTANT: Processing of your application begins only after reception of your biometric information.

Medical exam

Persons who reside or have resided for six months or more in the past year in certain countries need a medical exam by a IRCC-approved physician if they plan to stay in Canada for 6 months or more. You should allow at least one month for this process and you are responsible for the cost of the exam. The embassy that handles your case will contact you and provide instructions as needed.

Temporary resident visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Citizens of certain countries must obtain a temporary resident visa (TRV) or electronic travel authorization (eTA) from Immigration, Rfugees and Citizenship  Canada (IRCC) to be able to enter Canada. The visa is placed directly in your passport, whereas the eTA is electronically linked to your passport.  Your application for a study permit made outside Canada automatically includes a visa or an eTA at no additional cost.

The type of document you need to come to Canada (TRV or eTA) depends on your country of citizenship.

If you apply for your study permit online, you will receive an email message once it is approved with instructions on how to send your passport to the Canadian visa office that serves your country of residence so that a visa can be added to your passport.

Important note: This website is intended to provide general information on current procedures, which may change at any time without notice. Quebec and Canadian laws and regulations in effect as well as the websites of Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI), and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) take precedence over this website.

This page was last updated on: 2023-06-19