Visitors Visa for your family
Friends and family
As an international student, you may invite your spouse, common law partner, children or parents to visit you in Canada.
Spouses of students
Spouses of international students are eligible to apply for an open Work Permit if they wish to stay in Canada long-term with their spouse (i.e. you, the international student). The Immigration Canada webpage provides information about how you can get an open Work Pemit for your spouse.
Apply for a Visitor's Visa for family
Before you leave your home country, your family member(s) may apply for a Visitor's Visa (and an open Work Permit, in the case of spouses) at the Canadian Embassy, Consulate or Visa Application Centre serving your country of citizenship or legal residence. This can be done at the same time that you are applying for your Study Permit. Contact your nearest Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to apply.
If you are already in Canada studying and wish to invite your family to join you, you can support their Visitor’s Visa applications by sending the following documents:
1. Letter of invitation
You must write a letter of invitation on your family member's behalf. Be sure to include the following information:
Your relative’s name, their address, and their telephone number
Your relative’s date of birth
Your name, address and telephone number (home and office) in Canada
An invitation to your relative to join you in Canada and information about how long you wish them to stay here
2. Your current status documents
A copy of your Study Permit
A copy of your Work Permit (if you have one)
A Confirmation of Enrolment Letter from your registrar’s office
3. Information about financial support (required only if inviting a spouse or child to come stay with you during your studies):
A copy of the last four months of your bank statements
A letter describing any scholarship you may have and its specific amount
A letter indicating the amount you are paid for work, if you have a job in Canada
A letter from a sponsor (if you have one) that includes information about their financial circumstances
Documents describing any other source of financial support you have
Although your spouse is eligible to apply for a Work Permit and may look for work upon arrival in Canada, CIC will not take into consideration the possibility of this additional income when assessing financial support.
Tips for an easy application
If you are inviting a family member who is not your spouse (for example, your parents or your siblings), they should show proof of enough funds for their stay in Canada (bank statements, pay stubs, etc.). They will also need to show a strong attachment to their home country (job, business, family, etc.).
We strongly recommend that you send an invitation letter and the other documents to your family member even if they are coming from a country whose citizens do not require a visa to enter Canada. Upon arrival, immigration officers usually ask visitors about the purpose of their visit – having the invitation letter from you, and the other documents, can make this process easier.
Extending a visit
If your spouse gets an open Work Permit she or he will be allowed to stay in Canada for the duration of your studies. However, if your spouse applies only for the Temporary Visitor’s Visa, you should be aware of the following:.
Visitors are usually allowed to stay in Canada for up to six months. The exact time period is decided by an immigration officer and the exact expiry date is communicated in one of three ways:
A hand-written date on the stamp in your passport which confirms your entry to Canada.
A document which states how long the visitor can stay in Canada (6 months or less).
In some cases the immigration officer does not write anything on the passport or provide a document to the visitor. In such cases, it is assumed that the visitor is allowed to stay in Canada for up to six months.
To stay longer, the visitor should apply to extend their stay before the expiry of the allowed time period. To do so, they should apply for a “Visitor’s Record” which will allow them to stay longer.
If you have children, you should extend their stay before the expiry of their allowed visit period. You can apply for a “Visitor’s Record” on their behalf. If they need to go to school later on while holding the Visitor’s Record, they can do so without applying for a Study Permit.
- If you are married and your spouse will be accompanying you and staying with you in Canada, you can include him or her in your application by applying for an Open Work Permit on their behalf.
- If you are a parent bringing your children, we recommend that you include them in your application and request study permits for them if they will be attending primary or secondary school. If they are too young to attend school, they can enter Canada as visitors using just their passport and an Entry Visa if required. Usually visitors are allowed to stay in Canada for up to 6 months. Once you are in Canada, you should extend your child’s status before the expiry date of the allowed visit period. To do this, you can request a Visitor’s Record which will allow them to stay longer. If they need to go to school later, while holding the visitor’s record, they can do so without applying for a study permit.
- If you need help finding schools or daycare for your children, we encourage you to contact the Family Care Office here at the University.
- If you are a dependent of a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident or a Temporary worker, you may be eligible for ‘domestic’ tuition fees. To determine whether you qualify, please visit the University’s Student Accounts webpage.