How to apply for a Spouse/Partner Work Permit from within Canada

Overview of the application process

When to apply

After arriving in Canada as a visitor


$255.00 CAD and

$85.00 CAD for biometrics, if applicable

Processing time Check this website for weekly updates of how long it will take
How to apply

Online (strongly recommended)

Application form

Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM 5710]

Make sure you use the newest form. If applying online, log in to the IRCC website before starting your application.

Supporting  documents
  • Copy of student's study permit
  • Copy of spouse/partner's study/work permit, visitor record or visa (if applicable)
  • UBC Letter of Enrollment
  • Copy of marriage certificate or common-law declaration (and official translation, if not in English or French)
  • Proof of funds
  • Copy of spouse/partner's passport (include bio-data page plus any pages with stamps, visas or markings)

Additional documents may be needed

    Understanding the form

    What is a UCI?

    UCI field on the application form

    UCI stands for “unique client identifier,” also known as “Client ID.” It is an eight-digit number that appears on your study permit (and work permit, if you have one).

    What type of work permit should I select?

    Field where users select their permit options

    Most spouses/partners should select “a work permit with a new employer.”

    How do I fill out my mailing address?

    Mailing address field

    A “street no.” is the main number on the outside of a building. Some “street names” also contain numbers.

    What is a document number?

    A document number appears on official immigration documents, e.g. study permits. It is usually printed in black ink as a letter (an "F" for study permits) followed by 9 numbers.

    Document number field

    How do I fill out the Details of my prospective employer section if I don’t have a job?

    Details of intended work screenshot for spouse or partner work permit

    Although you do not need a job offer to apply for a spouse/partner work permit, you still must complete this section. You do not need to attach an offer of employment or list a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

    How do I fill out the Employment section?

    Employment section screenshot for spouse or partner work permit

    If you do not have a job, you may describe your current situation, such as “accompanying spouse/partner.”

    How do I answer Duration of expected employment?

    Duration of employment field

    Write “from” today’s date and “to” the expiration date of the spouse/partner’s study permit.

    How to answer question 2(c) "Background information: Have you previously applied to enter or remain in Canada?"

    Background information screenshot for spouse or partner work permit

    If you have applied for a study permit, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), a work permit, or permanent residence, you must report that to IRCC. Check the box "Yes" and write down when you applied for each type of document in the box provided for details.

    Do I need to upload proof of a medical exam?

    You do not need proof of a medical exam unless:
    (1) you lived in certain countries for more than 6 months in the past 12 months, or
    (2) you want to work in certain health or education-related occupations.

    Do I need to provide biometrics?

    If you have not previously provided biometrics (fingerprints and a photo), you will be required to submit them in-person at a designated Service Canada location. 

    The time it takes to submit your biometrics is not included in the processing time for your work permit and your application will not be processed until biometrics are received. You only need to give biometrics once every 10 years.

    U.S. citizens and people who have provided biometrics in the past 10 years and certain other individuals are exempt from providing biometrics. 

    1. Pay the biometrics fee at the same time you submit your work permit application for faster processing.
    2. Receive your biometrics instruction letter. If you applied online you will receive an electronic biometrics instruction letter within 24 hours.  
    3. Book an appointment as soon as possible at a designated Service Canada location
    4. Submit your biometrics within 30 days of receiving your biometrics instruction letter 

    How can I sign the form if I apply online?

    You cannot sign the form if applying online; upload the form without signing. After uploading all your documents, you will later be asked to electronically sign your application by typing your name.

    Take screenshots as you apply

    Sometimes applications are refused because the online tools and systems may not have uploaded required documents completely. You may be able to convince IRCC to change the decision if you have proof showing that your required documents were submitted as part of your application.

    Take 3 screenshots while completing your application

    1. The Document Checklist page after all documents have been successfully uploaded
    2. The Final Submission page after the application has been submitted
    3. After uploading/submitting anyafter-the-fact’ documents that an IRCC officer has requested after the original application has been submitted

    Save the images to a safe and accessible place on your computer, or in a cloud-based storage.

    How to take screenshots


    • If you see a “Please wait…” message when trying to download an IRCC form, click on the download arrow at the top right to save the file onto your computer. Then open it with Adobe Reader. (If you don’t see the arrow, move your cursor to the top part of the screen and it will appear.)
    PDF download screenshot
    • If you answer "Yes" to any question in the "Background information" section - other than 2(c) - come see International Student Advising.
    • The student must be enrolled in full-time studies at the moment of spouse/partner’s application.
    • Work permits for a spouse or common-law partner are usually valid for the same period of time as the student’s study permit.
    • The spouse/partner does not need a job offer to apply.
    • Need help scanning your documents? Go to the Irving K. Barber Chapman Learning Commons.
    • Press the “Validate” button to ensure your application is complete. The validate button does not send any information to CIC, so you may edit and validate as many times as you need.

    After you get your permit

    1. Apply for or renew your Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage.
    2. Apply for or renew your Social Insurance Number (SIN). You need a SIN to work in Canada.
    3. Apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to re-enter Canada (if applicable).
    4. Every time you enter Canada, you must be able to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially for the duration of your stay (e.g. proof of a Canadian job offer or signed employment contract, updated bank statements, etc.). If you do not have a job in Canada but are intending to work once you are there, bring proof of your intent to work such as your resume, list of jobs you have applied for, etc.

    If your contact information changes after submitting your application, be sure to update it via IRCC’s webform.

    Related info

    International Student Guide

    Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC's Vancouver campus.

    View the guide

    If you have questions

    International Student Advising is ready to support you on questions related to immigration, health insurance, and life as an international student in Canada.

    Connect with an advisor