Inviting Family Members

International students in Canada may wish to have their family members visit them while they are studying in Canada.

Here are some things to consider:

Who are you inviting?
  • Dependent family members (example: spouse, common-law partner or children)
  • Other family members (example: parents, siblings) – who will not depend on you financially.
How long will they stay?
When inviting family members you need to determine the length of time for their visit and include proof of funds for the entire duration of their visit/stay along with evidence of the ties to their home country which require them to return at the end of their visit/stay. If you are inviting dependent family members, you will be expected to provide sufficient proof of funds that cover your study expenses in addition to your and your family’s living expenses (see “Proof of Funds” section below).
Is a visa required?
If your family member is a citizen of a country or territory which requires a visa to enter Canada, your family member will submit an application for a temporary resident visa (TRV). It is usually recommended that they apply online. Click here to find out if your family member requires a visa.

How to apply online:

There are two ways to apply for a visa online.

  1. IRCC account: your family member can create an account with IRCC through which a visa application can be submitted.
  2. IRCC Portal: your family member can sign up for an IRCC Portal and apply for a visa through the portal.
Things to Consider When Applying
  • Provide complete, truthful & accurate information and documents
  • Pay required processing fee (refer to accepted payment methods)
  • Only documents written in English or French are accepted. Documents in any other language need to be officially translated
  • Apply well in advance before the expected travel date as visa processing times can be very long
  • Length of issued visa can range from 6 months up to maximum of 10 years (depends on officer’s assessment)
  • Valid passport (with at least one blank page, valid for at least 6 months before travel)
  • Complete, print out, and sign by hand the “Family Information Form” for applicants who are 18 years old and above
  • Optional Use of representative form (IMM5476): you can use this form if you wish to apply on behalf of your family member(s)
Proof of Funds

If you are inviting non-dependent family members, while recommended, you are not required to show proof of funds documents from your end. Instead, the family member will be required to show sufficient proof of funds to cover their travel and living expenses.

If you are inviting dependent family members such as your spouse/common-law partner and children who wish to accompany you while you complete your studies in Canada, you are required to show sufficient proof of funds for you and your family members. 

Important note: Financial requirement will be updated as of January 1, 2024. Details here.

IRCC guidelines for determining minimum financial resources for one year are:

Amount to cover your (student) annual living expenses:  $10,000
+ expenses for the first dependent  $ 4,000
each additional dependent  $ 3,000
+ student’s annual tuition fees $ _____
Total Minimum Funds Required  =

Note: This is a minimum amount. It is recommended that you present more in order to improve your family’s chances of being approved. It is important to show that the applicant has sufficient financial resources to come, stay and leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.

What documents do you need to provide to support your family member’s visa application?

Documents from Inviter (YOU)
  • Invitation letter: refer to the information here for more information about what to include in your letter of invitation. If you are inviting parents/family members to attend your convocation, you can use this template. Please note that the University of Alberta does not issue “invitation letters” on behalf of students since the University is not the one inviting them. 
  • Proof of relationship with the people you’re inviting (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, correspondence, etc.)
  • Photocopy of your immigration status document: 
    • If you are inviting them before program completion: copy of your study permit. 
    • If you are inviting them after completing the program: copy of your study permit in addition to the Program Completion Letter issued by your faculty or FGSR and Confirmation of Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) submission if applicable. 
    • If you are inviting them after receiving the PGWP: copy of PGWP.
  • Your proof of funds if YOU will be fully or partially supporting them financially.
  • One or more of the following as applicable:
    • Study Permit holders:
      • Confirmation of current & upcoming enrolment when possible (from Bear Tracks for a fee),
      • Transcript (you can get your official transcript free of cost from the Student Service Centre in the Administration Building or a digital copy you request through Beartracks for a fee), 
      • Letter confirming your graduation/convocation (from the Convocation & Ceremonies Office or your faculty) if applicable. You can request this letter by emailing:
    • PGWP holders
      • Letter from your employer (if applicable)

Important Note: When your family members apply it is important to highlight evidence of ties to the country of residence/citizenship. 

Questions to consider include:

  • Is the person employed? 
  • What is their salary? 
  • Did the employer grant a leave? 
  • Do they have immediate family in their country who will not be accompanying them? 
  • How is the overall economic and/or political climate in the country of residence?
  • Do they own property? 
  • Do they have any financial obligations? 
  • Are there other responsibilities and obligations? 
  • Can they show travel history?
Documents your family member can use to support their proof of ties

Documents your family member can use to support their proof of ties include:

  • If employed, a signed employment letter on company letterhead granting leave of absence - must have applicant’s name, position, current salary, date of hire, employer’s name, address, telephone and fax number
  • If retired - show proof
  • If student - show proof of enrolment, in good standing and proof school approves your travel if travelling during academic term
  • Bank documents (4 months transaction record), certificates of deposit bank books etc.
  • Evidence of assets (land/property title, vehicle registration etc.)
  • If taking care of someone, have family member write a letter confirming that you will return to care for them
  • If applicable, submit travel history summary (make a list of all countries visited in the last 10 years; attach a copy of entry/exit stamps on passport, visas, etc.)

What to apply for when inviting dependent family members:

Spouse/Common-Law Partner
  • Visitor Visa (TRV) – The spouse/common-law  can apply to come to Canada as a visitor for which a visitor visa is required. Once they enter Canada, the spouse/common-law partner may apply online to extend their stay as a visitor or change their status to worker by applying for an open work permit or to student by applying for a study permit.
  • Work Permit – Spouses/common-law partners of full-time international students who are enrolled in a PGWP eligible program at the University of Alberta are eligible for an open work permit. The work permit will be restricted from certain fields (health services, child care, education) unless the applicant completes an immigration medical examination. The work permit application can be submitted in Canada or outside Canada.
  • Study Permit – If your spouse/common-law partner has been admitted to a program of study, they can use their admission letter to apply for a study permit before or after arrival.
Dependent Children
  • Visitor Visa: for dependent children who are not school-aged (less than 6 years of age)
  • Study Permit: for dependent children who are school-aged (6 years and over). In which case, an acceptance/admission letter will not be needed if the child will be studying at the K-12 school level. However, an acceptance/admission letter is required if the child will be studying at the post-secondary level. 
Note: When determining whether your spouse/common-law partner should apply for a TRV or an Open Work Permit to come to Canada, you may want to consider the processing time of each as they can differ significantly.