Help your spouse or common-law partner work in Canada

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

Your spouse or common-law partner may apply for an open work permit if you:

  • are a full-time student at a:
    • public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec
    • private college-level school in Quebec or
    • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree) and
  • have a valid study permit.

How long is the open work permit valid for?

The work permit for your spouse or common-law partner is valid for the same period of time as your study permit.

How to apply

There are two ways you can apply for a spouse or common-law partner work permit:

Apply online

To apply online you must have:

  • access to a scanner or digital camera to make electronic copies of your documents for uploading and
  • a valid credit card to pay with.

Note: If you give an email address on your application, please check it regularly for messages about your case. Some spam filters block these emails. If you aren’t sure you are getting our emails, check your account on a regular basis.

Apply on paper

Follow these three steps:

1. Get the application package

The package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out.

Read the guide carefully before you complete the application form. We do not refund the fee for processing your application. Make sure you are eligible for a work permit before you apply.

Photocopy the blank forms and use one as a working copy. Keep the working copy for your records.

2. Complete application and attach documents

The application form has instructions. Read them and be sure to give us all the documents asked for. If information or documents are missing, it may delay your application. The document checklist in the application package lists all documents to include.

Answer all questions carefully, completely and truthfully. We will not process incomplete applications. We will return them to you. This will delay the application process.

3. Submit your application

The application package contains the mailing address where you must send your application.

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