Bringing Family

Families enjoying winter on Churchill Square

If you're bringing your family to Canada - or want to invite your family/friends to visit you - make sure they have the immigration documentation they need.

Preparing to bring your family to Canada

If you are contemplating having your family join you in Canada, there are a few things to do first. You will be required to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support both you and your family while in Canada. Learn more about budgeting, and the financial resources needed to bring your family to Canada. You will also be required to send a letter of invitation to your family stating the length of time they will be in Canada (which is normally for the same duration as you intend to remain here). They must then apply through the Canadian visa office nearest them.

  • A. Study Permits for Children and Spouses

    Spouses who wish to attend educational institutions in Canada require Study Permits. They may be applied for after arrival in Canada. If your spouse will be attending studies of duration greater than six months, they must obtain their own Study Permit. The process for obtaining immigration documents within Canada can take up to two months to complete.

    Please note that spouses and children of international students and foreign workers are the only visitors who may apply for Study Permits from within Canada.

    To study at a primary or secondary school, minor children (under 18 years of age) of Study or Work Permit holders may be required to apply for a Study Permit for entry to Canada, but do not need to maintain it once in Canada. However, minor children are still required to maintain valid status by applying for a Visitor Record even if the Study Permit is not extended.

    If your child is eighteen years or older and/or will be attending post-secondary studies, they will require a Study Permit.

  • B. Working in Canada (Spouses)

    Spouses of full-time students, who are not themselves full-time students, are eligible for open work permits valid for any employer. Restrictions may apply to those spouses who have not completed an immigration medical exam. Spouses will require a Work Permit before beginning any employment. This can be obtained within Canada.

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada currently charges an application fee of $150 for a Work Permit and an additional $100 Open Work Permit fee for total of $255. The fee is payable at the time of application and does not guarantee that a Work Permit will be issued.

    Once a work permit is issued to the student’s spouse, it will remain valid and the spouse can continue to work until the expiry date which usually coincides with the student’s study permit. A spouse may continue working with a valid spousal work permit even during the time their student spouse is on a leave of absence from their studies (even though the student spouse would not be eligible to work during this time).

    Please note that while the immigration regulations allow employment, there is no guarantee that you or your spouse will find a job. Co-op and Spousal Work Permits Tipsheet (PDF)

    International students and members of their families who wish to work must obtain a Social Insurance Number (S.I.N) from the Government of Canada.

  • C. Schools

    There are no tuition fees charged for elementary, junior high and senior high schools for children of international students in the two government-supported school systems in Edmonton: Public and the Catholic (Separate) school systems. The international student must be registered and pay tuition for either a) a full-time degree program (minimum duration of two years) or b) a full time graduate or post-doctoral program (minimum duration of one year).

    There are, however, a number of private schools approved by the Department of Education which do charge tuition fees. For information on the school that will be most convenient, contact either: 

    Edmonton Public School Board 

    Edmonton Catholic School District 

    Catholic schools are for families who wish their children to have Catholic religious training as part of their school curriculum. 

    Note: Enrollment in an ESL program does not qualify. 

  • D. Childcare

    There are many childcare facilities in Edmonton. There are six University-affiliated Child Care Centres

    The Alberta Government also offers an online resource to help you search for and choose a child care centre.

    Most daycare centres have waiting lists, which can be as long as 1-2 years. Many charge a fee for waiting list registration. However, if you find a centre that you are very interested in, it is worthwhile putting your name on the waiting list, even though you may need to make alternative arrangements until a space becomes available there. Call every few months to get an update on your status. Doing so keeps your waiting list registration active and reminds the centre that you are still very interested in a spot. 

    There are also a number of agencies which coordinate the childcare in private homes