June 16, 2024

If you want to come to study in Canada with your family, this is for you.

I regularly get questions from people asking whether Canada allows international students to come with their families (spouses and children), and the answer is YES!

As of January 2024, Canada announced that there will be some changes to those who can apply with their spouse in the weeks ahead.

Those going for a Masters, or Ph.D are not affected, but when the changes are effective, those going for other levels of study will no longer be able to apply for spousal open work permit for their spouses.

Changes to open work permit eligibility for spouses

In the coming weeks, eligibility for open work permits for the spouses and common-law partners of international students will be updated.

Who will not be eligible for an open work permit?

  • The spouses and common-law partners of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible for an open work permit unless they already hold an open work permit under this stream.

Who can get an open work permit?

  • Eligibility is limited to the spouses and common-law partners of students in graduate (master’s and doctorate) and professional degree–granting programs only.
  • Once these changes are in effect, spouses and common-law partners of international students seeking to extend their existing work permit will continue to be eligible under this stream.

In addition to this, these are a few things to note to apply successfully with your family or spouse.

When you are applying for admission to schools, you are only applying for yourself alone, but you can include your accompanying family members when applying for your study visa.

Your visa application is then determined by 3 things

  • Purpose of study
  • Proof of funds
  • Home ties

The 3 things are the expectations for single applicants as well, but if applying as a family, you have a stronger expectation to fulfill. You will need to justify the importance of having family members with you, show additional funds for them, and have other ties to your country.

Purpose of study:

In your study plan/letter of explanation, explain why your spouse and children should accompany you to Canada. Your children can apply for a visitor/study permit (depending on age), and your spouse, a visitor/work permit (depending on what they intend to do in Canada).

If your spouse comes to Canada with a visitor visa, they can also apply for a work permit from inside Canada or apply for one at a Border Crossing, through flagpoling.

The study plan helps you to justify the purpose of your study and the importance of having your family with you. It could be anything from the fact that your children are young, or your family has never been apart before. Family unification is important to Canada, so leverage this.

NB: If you are a student going to a school/program that is not eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), your spouse is not eligible for the spousal open work permit (SOWP). This is one of the important reasons to ensure the program you apply for is eligible for PGWP.

Proof of funds (POF):

If you intend to apply with your family, you will pay extra application fees and also show more POF than a single applicant.

You must also show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and the family members accompanying you without working in Canada.

You are expected to show enough to cover your tuition and living expenses as the student; and the additional funds for the living expenses of those accompanying you. Details are available here.

In summary, the total funds you need will depend on your own family number.

Home ties:

Proof of home ties is an important aspect of the Canadian study visa application. As an international student, you are a temporary resident and need to show that you are willing to leave Canada after your study (if required to do so). IRCC wants to see evidence of this.

Many international students find it easier to use their family members as part of their home ties. So, if you’re applying with your family, it means you must be ready to show other ties. It could be your business, investments, employment, financial assets, landed properties, etc.

Once you present your application well and provide the required documents in the 3 areas of consideration, your application is good to go.

After assessing the documents you have, you can make the personal decision to either apply together with family members or apply alone first.

And if you decide to apply alone, there is no specified timeline to apply for your family members after you arrive in Canada.

You can submit their applications anytime you have the required documents to apply for them.

Which Visa Type should you apply for Family Members?

  • If your children are already of school age (about 5 years and above in many provinces), you should apply for a study permit for them.
  • If the children are not up to 5 years or will be 5 by the time you resume, then you can apply for a visitor visa for them.
  • And for your spouse, you can apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit (if the plan is for them to stay back and work in Canada). Or a Visitor Visa if they just want to accompany you and visit regularly.

Please note that for your spouse to be able to apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit, you, the international student must be coming to Canada for a program that is eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).

To know if your school is eligible for PGWP, check here.

And if you are not sure if your own program is eligible for PGWP in the school, ask your school directly to confirm. Because it is possible for a school to be generally eligible for PGWP, and have some programs that are not eligible.

For more resources and information to apply as a student, check all our compiled resources here.

All information you need to apply for admission, scholarships, and a visa in Canada can be found in the compiled resources. It’s a Do It Yourself (DIY) community.

If you have questions on Career & Personal Development, Education Decisions, Global Opportunities, Building a Personal Brand, or related discussions, and want to reach out to us, click here.

NB: The posts and information on this website are not legal advice.

© Olu of Canada

74 thoughts on “How to come to study in Canada with your family.

  1. Good afternoon Olu, thank you for all these information. I will like to know, when writing about home ties do I need to include my business documents or house documents (will the authenticity be verified) in the application or I will just state it during the interview and letter of explanation? Thank you

  2. Dear OLU,
    Thank you for always being there for us.
    I applied for a study visa alongside my sons, I was granted but my sons were cancelled because I applied for the wrong visa for them, I did visitor but I was told it should have been a student visa. Kindly advise

  3. Hi Olu, I have 2kids 5 and 7. I want to include them in my application as dependents. What’s the best visa to apply for them?
    Can I apply for a work permit for my husband alongside or will a visitor’s for him favour us more?
    Thank you.

      1. Sir thanks for the info.. but won’t the kids that are of school age require admission letter from the school since it’s a study visa they are applying for?

  4. Hi Olu, I learnt a lot from this. Thanks.

    I’m currently applying for fall 2023, I got a positive reply from one of the professors I sent a cold email to.

    What can you classify as enough home tie evidence apart from my husband.

  5. Hi Olu,
    I must say you are doing a very great job here and I sincerely appreciate all your work. I follow all your social media handle .
    I got admission for my school and on the process for visa application and would like to include my two kid aged 14 and 17 what would you advise for there visa options?

  6. Dear Great Olu of Canada,
    Thanks for all these information.
    What type of visa I can apply for my 2kids (Age 4 and 1) that I want to include in my study visa application as dependents with my wife (if I applied work permit visa for her)

  7. This is really an interesting work, thank for the invaluable information.
    I would like to ask a question concerning POF, can some one use crypto asset as a part of POF?

  8. Hi Olu, pls I want to clarify. When applying for student visa, I didn’t apply for my kids age 13 & 7 because of my POF. But We have been saving gradually for it. Is it possible for my kids & hubby to join me a week or 2 weeks after I arrive Canada? My husband intends to apply @ the point of arrival? What do you think? Thank you!

  9. Hi Olu, thanks for all you’re doing.
    I want to clarify if i can use my pension as part of POF.
    Also, if study is for 2 years, do I need to show funds to cover both years or just the first year?

  10. I love all the explanations given on relocation to Canada.
    It is a great job.
    This is my first time of coming into Ur page, reading Ur online manuals.
    Thank U for all information uploaded.
    The LORD will endow U with more of HIS wisdom, knowledge and understanding for HIS glory and d use of humankinds.

  11. Dear Olu,
    Thank you for all you do.
    My sons were refused the visa, how do I know what the reasons they were refused for? they are of 7 and 8 years and the refusal letter says they are not sure they are going to study, what could have gone wrong since I applied for a student permit for them as well and I used the same proof of funds that granted me my own visa?
    Kindly assist I am really confused.

    1. Hi, That’s a unique situation, you only need your admission letter to apply for them as a dependent. Try and raise a webform for a reconsideration. And include as much as possible info and evidence on how they are your dependents and the plans you have to enrol them in school. If you’ve contacted some schools to make inquiries on the enrolment process, include the evidence as well.

  12. Dear Olu,
    Thank you for putting together this information bank.
    I want to clarify. I’m already in Canada on a study permit but I’m getting married this year and I would like my spouse to join me. Do I sponsor my spouse or do I just change the conditions of my study visa?

    1. What do you want to change your study visa too? If you have an employer job offer, you can change it. If not, you remain a student while your husband applies for a spousal work permit.

  13. Hi Olu, just discovered your web, kindly tell me, I have been accepted to a school in BC for post grad for fall this year, I have a son who just turned 20 last month Dec, he is in campus 2nd year. I really wish to come with him, will he be accepted as a dependent if I apply for his visitor visa together with my study permit? I have enough proof of funds. I am a single mum

    1. The dependent age in Canada is anyone under 22 years, so he is eligible. But you need to apply for study permit for him, not visitor visa, because he is already of school age.

  14. Hi olu,thank you for all these free information, my husband arrive in Canada last month via study visa and we want to start our own application, my sons will be 5 n 7 this year,is the younger one eligible for study visa and should my husband start the application or can i start from here. Thank you as i await your response .

  15. Hi Olu,

    Thanks for all you do.

    I want to apply for my study visa along with that of my kids (16, 13, 12), do I need to get them school and pay for their school fees in order to get their study visas approved. We have been denied study visa before because of insufficient funds but that has been addressed.

  16. Hi Olu,
    Thanks for all the free tips you give.

    Please what does one need to apply for study permit for my kids and spousal support for my husband after arriving Canada.

    Is my stamped study permit just a requirement.? I understand my student number after settling in school is required too

  17. Hello Olu. thank you for your time and all your help may God bless you in abundance. I have read all your materials (DIY) Please from your experience can you please recommend 2 good colleges with pswp and 2 good courses with career prospect? Am a devop Engr resident in uk but I wish to relocate as am uk is a stop over for me please if u dnt mind kindly recommend fore pleaseee. thank you very much

  18. Hello Olu. Thank you so much for the good work. Pls I want to ask. I finished my degree in aviation last year here in Istanbul Turkey and I got admission to study bachelor also in aviation in Canada this year May 2023. Please do you advice me to do my study permit application from here Istanbul Turkey or go back to Nigeria and apply from there. Pls I will appreciate your answer. Thanks

  19. Hi olu, please I just got approval for my study permit this week. My session is September 2023. I used my family and job as home ties, can I now apply for my wife n two kids even though I am yet to arrive Canada?

    1. You can, but it is more advisable to apply when you’ve already landed in Canada. So you can add your study permit and proof of presence in Canada (i.e address to your application).

  20. Hello sir,thank you for your good deeds. Pls how long will it take to apply for my family when I arrive in Canada?. Using my family as my ties. Can it happen within months?

  21. Hello Sir,
    Thank you for the valuable information you provide.
    Please my son will be 5years in October this year, should I apply for visitors visa or study permit

  22. Good day Mr Olu,
    Thank you for your consistency at helping out with information on DIY on relocation pathway to Canada.

    I’d like to ask, I got an admission for fall 2023 at BC, Canada, I intend going with my fiancé which will be having our registry done. I want to confirm if it’s OK to apply together for the study permits being a certificate of less than two months, or what route would be better to take for the study permits on relocation as we would love to go together. Thank you.

  23. Good day Mr Olu,

    Thanks very much for all that you do here.

    My daughter is 1year old. In my proof of funds, how much would you advise I budget for her schooling?

  24. Good day mr olu
    I applied for study visa and I was granted but my husband also apply for d study visa but was denied and he tried to reapply again but unfortunately after applying for visa we realized his admission is due
    So can he apply for d spousal work permit using all our marriage document becUse I am heavily pregnant and I include it in our letter of invitation and motivation

  25. Good day Mr olu, I am intending to apply alone because of my proof of funds. Once I reach canada, I will apply for them. will I only show proof of funds for my dependants, or I still need to show my mind too?

  26. Hello Olu, Thank you for all you do, i would like to ask if landed properties can be used as a major source of POF, without having to sell them first

  27. Hello Olu. Thanks for thoroughly explaining the topic and for taking the time to provide detailed responses to readers’ questions. I have learnt a lot from reading your posts and responses to questions.

    I would appreciate your guidance on my case; I have a tourist visa for a trip in September 2023 to Toronto. But I have now been offered admission for postgraduate study in January 2024 in Ontario and started my visa application. I don’t want to visit again in September. I would like to know if not going on this visit can affect decision on my study visa approval. Kindly advise.

    Thank you.

  28. Hello Sir, thanks for all you do sir..God continue to bless you more and more. Sir i want to ask if it is possible for a student apply for student visa also includes her elder bro or sis in the application? If it possible which visa will the brother or sis apply for ?

  29. Dear Doctor Olu,
    May God bless you. You are indeed a blessing to Africa. Honestly I can’t stop thinking God for leading me to the YouTube channel where i watched the programme that you anchored with summer. Please I have one concern with POF. I want to ask if I am able to secure a study loan through mpower that cover both my expenses and my dependants as well as my tuition for a year, will it provide a ground for visa rejection?

  30. Hello Olu, please what if your husband has a multiple visitors visa already to enter Canada, and I get admitted to school and if my husband will want to stay with me and support throughout my school process, can he stay with me on the visitors and how will he change it to a spousal work permit.. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *