Help your spouse or common-law partner work in Canada

Who can get a work permit as the spouse or common-law partner of a student?

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 school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec
    • a private college-level school in Quebec
    • a Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree)

How long it takes to get an open work permit

Processing an open work permit usually takes several months. There are many factors that can affect the processing time.

How long is the open work permit valid for?

Your spouse or common-law partner’s work permit will be valid for the same period of time as your study permit.

How to apply

In most cases, your spouse or partner must apply online for a work permit.

How applying online helps them

  • No courier fees or mail delivery time – we get their application instantly.
  • Their applications may be processed more quickly.
  • It helps them make sure their application is complete before they submit it.
  • They can quickly submit more documents online (if we ask them to).
  • They get updates on the status of their application directly in their online account.

Step 1: Make sure they have what they need

To apply online, they’ll need:

  • a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of their documents, and
  • a valid credit or debit card.

Step 2: Read the instruction guide

Even if they apply online, they should read the instruction guide before they complete their application. The guide will explain how to complete each field on the form.

Step 3: Prepare their answers for the online tool

Before they can upload their forms, they must answer some questions. We use their answers to create a personalized document checklist for them.

Step 4: Know the fees you have to pay

In most cases, their fees will include processing fees for them and anyone they include on their application.

We’ll ask them to pay their fees at the end of their application.

Step 5: Create their online account or sign in

They need an account to apply online. They can use their account to:

  • pay their fees
  • submit their application
  • check their status
Create an account or sign in

If they can’t apply online

They can submit a paper application if either:

  • they can’t apply online because of a disability
  • there’s a problem with the online application

What to do if they can’t apply online

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