Accompanying family members on study permit applications – yes or no?
Different rules apply to individuals inside and outside of Canada.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
ACCOMPANYING FAMILY MEMBERS – DOES THE CHILD NEED A STUDY PERMIT?
In Canada, the age of majority is set on provincial level and is either 18 or 19 years. A person under the age of majority is considered a “minor child.”
Minor children already in Canada are authorized to study without a study permit at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, provided one of the following situations applies:
- they are accompanying parents claiming refugee status;
- they are refugee claimants themselves;
- one of their parents is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
- one of their parents is authorized to work or study in Canada (study or work permit holders);
- one of their parents is a visitor status holder who is either authorized to work without a permit or authorized to study without a permit; or
- neither parent is physically in Canada.
Minor children intending to study are required to apply for a study permit before entering Canada. Any parent applying to study in Canada is welcome to include their dependent biological or adopted children as accompanying family member on their study permit application. A dependent child, in Canadian terms, is a child under the age of 22.
EDUCATION IN CANADA
Public schools are the responsibility of individual provincial departments of education. Funding stems mainly from local and provincial taxes. Some federal funds are added. Practices and policies regarding education vary depending on the province. This applies to public and private schools. The minister of education of the respective province is responsible for setting policy relating to educational affairs.
Most children start school before the age of six. This is when compulsory schooling usually begins.
Below is a table outlining the general schooling timeline. Details can vary between provinces:
- Ages 2 to 5: Pre-school or Kindergarten
- Ages 6 to 11: Grades 1 to 6 – Elementary
- Ages 12 to 14: Grades 7 to 9 – Junior high
- Ages 15 to 18: Grades 10 to 12 – Senior high
ACCOMANYING FAMILY MEMBERS – BRING YOUR SPOUSE / COMMON LAW PARTNER
As with children, a person applying for a study permit is welcome to include their spouse as accompanying family member on their application for a study permit. Your spouse or common-law partner is eligible for an open work permit if you have a valid study permit and are a full-time student at a public post-secondary school.
This includes colleges, universities and CEGEPs in Quebec, private college-level school in Quebec and Canadian private educational institutions authorized to award degrees under provincial law.
The work permit for your spouse or common-law partner is valid for the same period of time as your study permit.
INCLUDING THEM ON THE INITIAL APPLICATION – YES OR NO?
Including children and spouses may impact the immigration officer’s decision on whether to approve or reject the study permit. Bear in mind that a study permit application is an application for temporary residence, despite all the programs aimed at retaining international students in Canada after graduation.
Depending on the circumstances, including family members on a study permit application may suggest that a person’s primary intention is not to study in Canada, but to stay there permanently.
This can lead to the refusal of your study permit application. If you are worried about this outcome, you can apply to come to Canada independently and then later apply to bring your spouse and children to join you.
We can advice you on the best strategy for your specific situation!
Avenue Canada is a Montreal based immigration consultant firm. For further information on our services, contact us today!
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