Who is eligible for the Spouse Open Work Permit?
If your spouse is currently employed or studying in Canada or if you have applied for sponsorship for permanent residency by your spouse or partner who is in Canada, you may qualify for an open work permit
If a foreign national’s work permit application is approved, they will be given an open work permit that allows them to work for multiple employers in any location in Canada while their permanent residency application is being processed or while their spouse has valid status in Canada. The process of applying for the spousal sponsorship open work permit varies depending on the foreign national’s status in Canada or the stage of their permanent residency application. It is illegal to work in Canada without the appropriate authorization, and any unauthorized employment may negatively impact future immigration applications.
Spouse Open Work permit Benefit
A spouse open work permit grants the spouse of certain temporary Canadian permit holders the flexibility to work in any location and for any employer in Canada, with minimal restrictions.
Spousal open work permit may be an option for individuals who have applied for sponsorship by their spouse or whose spouse is in Canada on a study or work permit. The application criteria for a spousal open work permit vary based on the type of status held by the spouse in Canada. Refer to the provided table for further information
Principal applicant’s occupational skill level requirement
Principal applicant’s minimum work permit length
Spouses or common-law partners of Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) work permit holders
0, A, or B
Spouses or common-law partners of Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) holders
Any occupational skill level
Spouses or common-law partners of provincial nominees
Any occupational skill level
Spouses or common-law partners of bridging open work permit (BOWP) holders
Varies depending on program principal applicant applies under
Spouses or common-law partners of open work permit holders other than BOWP (incl. PGWP, IEC)
0, A, or B
Spouses or common-law partners of study permit holders
In Canada spousal/common-law sponsorship applicants
How to Apply for To apply for the spousal sponsorship open work permit?
To apply for a spousal sponsorship open work permit, a foreign national must first apply for permanent residency sponsorship through the in-Canada stream of the spousal sponsorship program. If the sponsorship application has not yet been submitted, all three applications (sponsorship, permanent residence, and open work permit) should be sent together in one envelope to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, with all supporting documentation and proof of payments included. If the permanent residence application has been submitted but not yet approved, the open work permit application can be sent to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta in hard copy. If the permanent residence application has been approved in principle, the open work permit application can be submitted online or in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
Approval in principle (AIP) indicates that an individual’s permanent residence application has met the eligibility criteria set by IRCC, but has not yet undergone processing for medical exams and security/background checks. It is important to note that even though an application has passed through several stages of processing, it may still be denied after AIP is received. To submit a work permit application along with the permanent residence application, the foreign national must have a valid status in Canada (visitor, student, worker, etc.). If the applicant is out of status, they can only submit their work permit application after their permanent residence application has received AIP.
Spousal Open Work Permit Eligibility
To be eligible for a spousal open work permit, you must fulfill certain qualifications such as:
Please note that additional requirements may apply depending on the category of spousal open work permit you are applying for.
The documents required for a Canadian spousal work permit will vary based on the category of application. The following documents may be required as part of the work permit application:
The processing time for a spousal open work permit varies depending on the type of permit your spouse applied for. To find out the approximate processing time for your specific application, please visit the Government of Canada’s website.
A spousal open work permit (SOWP) is linked to the permit of the spouse, also known as the “lead applicant”, and is only valid for as long as the lead applicant’s permit is valid. If your SOWP expires, you will need to submit another application based on your spouse’s permit.
The cost for a spousal open work permit is $255 CAD, which includes a $155 CAD processing fee and a $100 CAD fee for the open work permit holder.
A medical examination may be required when applying for a spousal open work permit. If needed, the applicant can choose to take the medical exam before submitting the application or after receiving a request from IRCC. Once you receive a request, you must complete the examination with a designated panel physician appointed by IRCC. You can locate a panel physician in your area on the IRCC’s Find a Panel Physician website.
Applicants for a spousal open work permit must be able to prove they have enough funds to support themselves during their stay in Canada. Failure to demonstrate this may result in a rejection of the application.
Renewal of a spousal open work permit is not possible. If the permit expires, but your spouse or partner still has valid status in Canada, you can apply for a new SOWP.
One of the main reasons why spousal open work permits are denied is that the applicant is unable to provide adequate evidence of their relationship with the eligible spouse. If your application has been denied, please reach out to us to explore your options.