Canada’s Open Work Permit for International Student’s Spouse

Work and live in Canada as the spouse or common-law partner of an international student with an open work permit. A step-by-step guide to Canada Spousal Open Work Permit and its requirements.


Many international students studying in Canada bring their spouses with them. These spouses may be eligible to apply for an open work permit and work in the country. This guide will look at the eligibility requirements and the application process for such individuals.

A spouse can apply for a SOWP after the classes of international student are started. Most people do it this way to ensure a faster and safer study permit application.

open work permit for international student's spouse

What are Open Work Permits?

Open work permits allow you to work for almost any employer in Canada. This is important because when your spouse /common-law partner comes to Canada to work on a temporary work permit, he/she doesn’t yet have a job offer. This work permit may be valid for different lengths based on the employer and the circumstances around the applicant’s employment.

Open Work Permit for International Student's Spouse

Since an open work permit isn’t job-specific it’s also applicable for international students in the post-graduate work program or the spouse of an international student.

If an international student wishes to apply for an open work permit for their spouse, they must meet the following criteria:

  • They must hold a valid study permit.
  • They must be a full-time student pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree at a public university or college, a private college in Quebec, or a private Canadian institution that has the authority to confer degrees.
Spousal Open Work permit Canada

Spouse Open Work Permit Validity: The open work permits issued to spouses of international students typically have the same validity length as their partners’ study permits.

Steps to Apply for Spousal Open Work Permit

These are the steps to apply for an open work Permit for spouse of international student in Canada.

1. Start an Online Application for a Work Permit

The student can visit the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and start an application for a work permit. They can then download the application package and fill out the IMM 5710 form included in it.

2. Gather the Required Documents

Next, international students must gather documents specified in the Document Checklist from the application package. These documents include:

  • Digital photos of their spouse
  • Copies of their spouse’s passport
  • A copy of their study permit
  • A copy of their marriage license or certificate

3. Pay the Application Fee and Submit the Application

The applicant must then pay their $255 CAD application fee online. They must then print a receipt for this payment and include it with their application before submitting it.

IRCC may contact the applicant if they require any additional information or documents from their spouse. If the application is approved, the applicant’s spouse will receive their open work permit document in the mail.

How ELAAR can help you?

Prospective international applicants who are interested in applying for Spouse Visa for International Students in Canada should contact our immigration experts. Our exceptional team of Regulated Immigration Consultants understands the requirements and application process for the open work permit and can guide you and your spouse through this process.

Frequently Asked Question: FAQs

These are some frequently asked questions about the open work permit for spouse of international student.

What is the processing time for an open work permit?

The current processing time for a Canadian open work permit is approximately 52 weeks if the spouse is outside Canada. This processing time is shortened to 134 days for spouses applying from inside Canada.

Can a spouse of an international student study in Canada with an open work permit?

An international student’s spouse cannot study in Canada under an open work permit. They must apply for a study permit instead.

Start Your Spousal Open Work Permit Process

Bring your partner to Canada through the Spousal Open Work Permit for International Student’s Spouse.