Visas and Immigration

Who Qualifies as a Family Member

If you are an international student and would like your family members to come and live with you in Canada while you study, they can also apply to travel to Canada.  Eligible family members that may accompany you to Canada are a spouse, a common-law partner, and dependent child under 19 years of age.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has clearly defined who may qualify as family members as outlined below.

  • Family members (dependents): A spouse, common-law partner, dependent child… [Note: Provide a Birth Certificate for child]
  • Spouse: A legal marriage partner. This term includes both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships but does not include common-law partnerships. [Note: Provide a Marriage Certificate]
  • Common-law partner (spouse): A person who has been living with another person in a conjugal, marriage-like relationship for at least one year. The term refers to opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. [Note: If you intend on demonstrating a common-law relationship, it is recommended that you provide evidence of legal ties (ex. Joint lease agreement, joint bank account, etc) as well as a Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union]    

Note: For all temporary or permanent resident applications for Canada, any documents that you provide must be accompanied by a certified translation or translation by Affidavit of the same document if it was not issued in the English or French languages.

Visas for Family Members

Depending on their country of nationality, accompanying family members may apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization for visa-exempt nationals) in order to travel and remain in Canada. They can apply at the same time as you, or after you have arrived.  Each family member, including children, must hold their own valid immigration document to remain in Canada (visitor record, stamp in passport authorizing visitor stay of up to 6 months, study permit, or work permit).

Your family members may apply for a visitor, work or student visa depending on what activities they would like to undertake in Canada. If your family member(s) is a citizen of a visa-exempt country, and they only wish to enter Canada as a visitor, they can apply for an eTA only. If they are requesting a work or study permit, they must complete an Application for a Work Permit or an Application for a Study Permit. Please see the links below for further information on work and study permits for accompanying family members.

The authorized period of time allowed for a family member’s stay in Canada will usually correspond to the principal temporary resident’s (the student at Western) study permit.

Your family members may need to pass a medical examination as part of the application process.

If your family members are applying after you have arrived in Canada

You will need to provide your family members with a letter of invitation as well as a copy of your valid study permit, a copy of your passport and visa, and recent proof of enrollment at Western so that they may include these documents as evidence of their purpose and valid reason to travel and remain in Canada.

International students wishing to have accompanying family members stay with them in Canada during their studies must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support their family members, regardless of whether their spouse/common-law partner intend on finding employment while in Canada. [E.g. $10,000 CAD for the student at Western + $4,000.00 CAD for spouse/common-law partner + $3,000.00 CAD for dependent child(ren)].

Once in Canada, if you and your family members need to extend your stay, you must apply to extend your stay BEFORE it expires, and pay processing fees for each family member.

Important: All applicants must have valid passports for the duration of their stay in Canada. If the passport is due to expire during the intended stay in Canada, IRCC will issue a permit that is valid for the duration of the passport. You may apply to extend your stay in Canada after you renew your passport.

Checking the Status of Your Application in Canada

You can check the status of applications submitted within Canada by calling the Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Call Centre  toll-free at 1-888-242-2100. Call Centre representatives are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except for statutory holidays. Please note that you must respond to the first five recorded options before you can press "0" to speak to an agent. Call wait times are higher on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Questions About Immigration Regulations?

If you have questions about Canadian Immigration regulations for international students, the International and Exchange Student Centre has services to assist you. Whether you would like to find out which documents are required for visa/permit applications or need assistance with a complex situation the IESC can help.

Visit our visas and immigration section for more details about our immigrating services.