How Can I Bring My Family to Canada?

Foreign nationals who intend on studying in Canada and are married and/or have dependent children may wish to bring these family members with them to Canada during their study program. If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor some family members to join you.
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Foreign nationals who intend on studying in Canada and are married and/or have dependent children may wish to bring these family members with them to Canada during their study program. If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor some family members to join you.

If you’re in Canada temporarily though, as a student or a worker, you may be able to bring your family with you. Canadian visa officers will consider study permit applications that include accompanying family members, but including family members on a study permit application may influence the visa officer’s decision.

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If you’re eligible, you can sponsor your spouse, partner, or dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada.

If you do, you must be able to:

  • support them financially;
  • make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government.

Family Members That Are Eligible to Come with You

You can bring family members with you to Canada if they were processed for permanent residence as your dependents. This includes:

  • your spouse or common-law partner;
  • your dependent child;
  • your spouse or common-law partner’s a dependent child;
  • a dependent child of a dependent child;
  • parent or step-parent of the person, or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
  • guardian or tutor of the person.

Your relatives can live, study and work in Canada if they become permanent residents of Canada. You can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada if you’re at least 18 years old and a:

  • Canadian citizen or;
  • a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or;
  • permanent resident of Canada.

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.

If you have plans to bring your family members to Canada, then please note that all students are asked to write and convince the immigration officer why they will want to study in Canada – it is in this section that you can outline your reasons and convince the immigration officer why you need your family with you in Canada.

As earlier stated, this is a very tricky process because this could affect the immigrations officer, although if you had already done this section and you have a change of mind and want to bring your family members you can actually have your application re-written. In this application, you need to tell them to give you the authorization to bring your family with you to 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.

Family Sponsorship

This is the second-largest form of immigration after economic immigration which comes first in Canada. As an immigrant looking to bring family members into Canada then you must be 18 years old and above and must be financially stable enough to handle the pressure. Once you become a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor some family members to come to Canada.

This is called Family Sponsorship. As a foreign national, you do not need a written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirming that you are exempt from the travel restrictions to reunite with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

To enter Canada, you must:

  • demonstrate that you plan to stay in Canada for 15 days or more;
  • bring documents to prove your family member’s status and your family relationship with them.

If you’re flying to Canada, you must also:

  • follow all flight requirements;
  • tell the airline that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions;
  • make sure you have a valid travel document: a visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA), if required (not required for a U.S. citizen), and a passport that is valid to come to Canada.

Bringing 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 a ‘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 dependent if they are unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition.

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