How to Bring Your Family With You While Studying in Canada

There are a lot of great benefits to being an international student in Canada, including the ability to bring family with you while you study. 

Spouses, common-law partners and dependent children may also be eligible for a Canadian work permit or study permit.

Some family members – such as spouses and dependent children – can be included on the initial visa application for new immigrants to Canada, while parents, grandparents, and others must be sponsored by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.


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 and it’s the second largest category of Canadian immigration, behind economic immigration.

There are three types of family members eligible under Family sponsorship:

  1. Spouse or common-law partner
  2. Dependent children
  3. Parents or grandparents

The Dependent Visa of Canada allows the residents to bring the dependents to the country and further enables them to study or work full time once they get the appropriate permission.

The following relations can be sponsored under this category:

  • The spouse or a conjugal partner or a common-law partner
  • Parents/ grandparents who are dependent
  • Children below the age of 21 who are dependent
  • A child adopted outside Canada, while the sponsor held citizenship or permanent residence of Canada
  • Any other close relative like a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew

The sponsored dependent can then apply for permission to work to get a job in Canada.

1. Spouses and Partners

Your spouse or common-law partner can normally be included in your own application for immigration. A common-law partner is defined as a person of any sex (including same-sex partners) who has been living with you as a partner for at least 1 year. Similar information needs to be provided for your partner as for the “Principal Applicant” (yourself) on the visa application form.

Your spouse’s dependent children can also be included on your visa application.

2. Dependent Child

To be eligible for sponsorship, children must meet the definition of a dependent child. Whether they are the biological or adopted child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, a child is considered to be a dependent if they are not married or in a common-law relationship and are under the age of 22. A child over the age of 22 will be considered a dependent if they suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves.

Dependent Child Sponsorship Requirements

As with all family sponsorship streams, both the sponsor and the sponsored person must meet eligibility requirements in order for the child to be granted permanent residence. Parents wishing to sponsor their child must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Not be in prison, charged with a serious offense, or bankrupt

Parents will also be required to provide proof of the relationship with the child, be it through birth or adoption certificate. For parents in the end stages of an adoption process, they may sponsor the adopted child before the adoption has been finalized. In addition to meeting the definition of a dependent child, the sponsored person must either be the biological child of the sponsor or the sponsor’s spouse, or the adopted child of the sponsor or the sponsor’s spouse.

3. Super visa for Parents and Grandparents

The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program is limited. Interested families have to submit an online form to express their interest in applying. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) draws 10,000 of these forms in a kind of annual lottery, and invites those selected to submit an application.

To make up for the limited size of the program, IRCC offers the Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents. This is a multiple-entry visa that can be valid for up to 10 years, and allows your parents or grandparents to stay in Canada for up to 2 years on their initial visit. You must be a permanent resident or citizen of Canada for your parents or grandparents to apply for the Super Visa.

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