Immigration Documents

Last Updated: April 05, 2024 - The information below is current as of the 'last updated' date and is subject to change without notice.

On January 22, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) announced a number of updates and measures to the International Student Program.   As of 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024, most new post-secondary students applying for a study permit are required to include a provincial attestation letter (PAL) in their study permit application. For more information read below and visit our News and Updates page.

Bring your Family

If your spouse or common-law partner and/or any dependent children would like to accompany you to Canada, they are advised to apply for their immigration documents at the same time that you apply for your immigration documents. 

Visas and permits for spouses and common-law partners

If your spouse or partner will be coming to Canada as a visitor, they will require either a temporary resident visa/TRV (visitor visa) or an electronic travel authorization/eTA (unless otherwise exempted) depending on their country of citizenship(s).  Visit the IRCC website for more information about who requires a TRV and an eTA.  

For information about how to apply for a TRV visit the IRCC website.  For information about how to apply for an eTA visit the IRCC website.  Visitors can remain in Canada for up to 6 months unless otherwise stated by the officer at the Canadian port of entry.  

Depending on what your spouse or common-law partner wishes to do in Canada, they may also apply for a study permit or a work permit if they meet the eligibility criteria to do so.  

If your spouse, common-law partner and/or dependent child(ren) wish to extend their stay in Canada, they may be able to apply to IRCC from inside Canada. Please refer to Extend your family members' documents for more information.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada defines common-law partners as people of the same or opposite sex who are cohabitating and have cohabitated in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. In Canada, a common-law partner is regarded in the same manner as a legal spouse. Visit the IRCC website for more information.

Permits for dependent children

  • Your school-aged children (5-18 years of age) should also apply for study permits. These make the immigration process run more smoothly, especially if your child enters Canada without a parent. You should bring two years of official school records for your children, in English or with a certified English translation. Children under 5 will just require a visitor record.
  • For information on schooling and childcare for your dependent children, please see Support for your family.

Documents Required

If your dependent family will be joining you later, they will require some or all of the following documents from you as part of their application for temporary residence in Canada (in addition to their own supporting documents, as specified by the responsible visa office):

Make sure to keep copies of all the documents your family member submits with their application.

Length of Stay

If your family members enter Canada without you and they have not applied for a study permit or work permit, they may be admitted on visitor status for six months or less.  As per the IRCC website, visitors in Canada are permitted to stay for up to 6 months.  The officer at the border will determine the approved length of stay.  

If your family members travelling to Canada after you have travelled, we recommend that you send them copies of the documents listed above for them to present at the Canadian border crossing.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) no longer stamps all passports at airports with Primary Inspection Kiosks or eGates.  This includes Vancouver International Airport/YVR.  If you and/or your family member(s) need a stamp in your passport as proof of entry into Canada, request a stamp from a border services officer after completing the kiosk or the eGate transaction.

Visitors admitted for six months or less are not eligible for BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP), so they should apply right away to extend or change their immigration document.