If you are an international student in Canada, you might be eligible to bring your spouse/Common Law Partner on an open work permit in Canada. This blog discusses the eligibility, requirements, processing time and the document checklist required to apply for a Spouse Open work permit while studying in Canada.
Open Work Permit (OWP) is authorization to stay and work in Canada temporarily and allows the holder to work full time in any location in Canada. Also OWP does not require an employment offer, thus holders can work in almost any occupation as it does not list a specific employer, except few occupations where public health is important to protect .e.g. working in school, daycare and health service requires additional medical exam. This provides you additional support to support your family expenses while you stay as a student in Canada.
If you are international student with a valid study permit and are studying full time at public school, your common-law partner or spouse can apply for an open work permit. That said it can be applied either way Inland or Outland and your spouse do not require a job offer.
Application Mode: Both online and offline
Processing time: Varies, where you apply from (8 weeks on average)
Validity: Till expiry of sponsor’s study permit
Your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit if you:
- have a valid study permit and
- are a full-time student at one of these types of schools:
- a public post-secondary university or college
- Canadian private school that can legally award Doctorate, Masters or Bachelors degrees under provincial law
While the work permit application is in process, you are required to:
1. Maintain your status as a student in Canada
2. Wait for the application processing to complete before taking up any work in Canada.
Ways to apply open work permit
- Applying outside of Canada
- Paper application (Offline)
- Applying while inside Canada
- Paper application (Offline)
- Applying upon arrival to Canada
- Port of Entry
Spouse open work permit can either be applied inland or outland, through online CIC my account or mailing paper application to respective IRCC center inside Canada. Though many still prefer traditional paper filing process but applying online through CIC is always a better option because when you apply online, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) receives your application instantly which facilitates the faster processing of application. In addition to that:
- No time is wasted in mail delivery, hence no fee for courier.
- Also it helps you to make sure that your application is complete and free from errors before submitting.
- If more documents are requested by CIC then it can be uploaded instantly.
- Application updates are received on their online accounts spontaneously.
- Go to the Apply online page of the Immigration Canada website and fill out the questionnaire under Check your eligibility to apply.
- Keep the personal reference code you are given at the end of the questionnaire safe.
- Create a new myCIC account and use sponsor’s UCI number as mentioned on Study Permit.
- Download and fill in all requested documents. Note: Some fields might be tricky, this make sure you’re filling in the correct data.
- Upload all requested documents.
- Wait for Letter of Introduction (letter of work permit approval)
Applying at Port of Entry / Border
You have the option of applying for your work permit (spousal) at the border or port of entry – and obtaining it the same day – if you are TRV-exempt, meaning either:
- You are a citizen of a TRV-exempt country, OR
- You are a citizen of a TRV-required country, and are re-entering Canada solely from the US
- Sponsor’s proof of enrollment as full-time student at Canadian public post secondary institution or equivalent.
- Marriage License / Certificate or proof of common law partnership, translated either to English or French.
- Copy of passport with all stamped / marked pages, as a one document.
- Copy of medical exam (if completed already).
The processing time for the open work permit as of writing this blog(Oct 2019) is 4-6 months. You can keep track of processing times at the official site http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1163&top=17
We wish you luck with your open work permit application and as always feel free to get in touch with us if you need any help anytime with your spouse/partner’s work permit application.