Work permit for spouse/partner

If you are an international student bringing your spouse or partner with you to Canada, they may be eligible for an open work permit that will allow them to work on or off campus full-time while you study.

An open work permit is a work permit that is not job-specific. It allows your spouse or common-law partner to accept any job with any employer. If your spouse or partner gets an open work permit, it is normally valid for the same period as your study permits. In some cases, your spouse or common-law partner will need a medical exam.

Who is eligible? 
If you are an international student studying full-time and have a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. Your spouse/partner will not require a job offer to apply, and his/her permit will be valid for the same period as your study permit.

When should you apply?
Your spouse/partner can apply for a work permit before or after they arrive in Canada. The work permit will usually be issued for the same length of time as your study permit. Your spouse/partner does not need a job offer to apply for a work permit.

In some cases, Canadian visa offices abroad will process spouse/partner work permit applications at the same time as study permit applications. In this case, you will need to include the additional fee for the work permit and complete the work permit application for your spouse/partner, available from the website of the consulate.

Most spouse/partners come to Canada as visitors first and apply for a work permit after they are in Canada. If your spouse or partner does not require a TRV, they may be able to apply for a work permit at the border or airport where they enter Canada.


Step 1: Log into my IRCC through GCKey or Sign-in partner

If you are a new user, you will need to register for MyCIC through GCKey or Sign-in Partner. Your Client ID from your Study Permit is required to complete the registration.

Step 2: Click on ‘Apply for visitor visa or study/work permit’

You will be prompted to enter a personal checklist code. If you do not already have a code, click on "Determine your eligibility".  Answer all the questions that follow.

You can find a guide to completing the questions here (pdf 120KB).

Step 3: Fill in the online application form and gather supporting documentation

Complete the IMM 5710 Application form. Validate and save the form as an unsigned copy. Here is a guide to completing IMM5710 (pdf 91KB).

Gather the following supporting documents:

  • digital photo (420x540 pixels)
  • passport (only pages with stamps, visas, photos)
  • your spouse’s study permit
  • marriage license/certificate (translated in English or French)

Once you have all the documents ready, you should save them electronically as pdfs, jpegs, or word dcuments.  They should not be larger than 4MB.

Step 4: Pay the application fee

Pay the $255 CAD fee online with a credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express). Do not forget to print a receipt.


Work Permit Conditions

Work permits issued by IRCC may be subject to restrictions. International students who were not required to undergo an immigration medical examination before coming to Canada may be subject to the following occupation/workplace restrictions that require an immigration medical examination:

  • health care setting
  • child care
  • primary and secondary educational facilities

There is a complete list of occupations and Designated Medical Practitioners on the IRCC website.


Meet with an International Student Advisor

  • Call 902.494.1566 (Halifax) or 902.893.4939 (Truro)
  • Email Please include your student number in the subject line and in the body of the email, include your name, your citizenship(s), Permit/Visa expiration dates (if applicable) and if you are currently in Canada (YES or NO).
  • Book an appointment via MyDal under "Find a service"
  • Or drop by one of our locations across campus.