It may be possible for your family members to come live with you in Canada during the duration of your studies. In most cases, “family” includes spouses, common-law/conjugal partners, and dependent children. If your family members enter Canada without you, they may be admitted on visitor status for up to six months. Family members most often apply to come initially as visitors. They may need to pass a medical examination in advance.
Visitors admitted for six months or less are not eligible for MSP (BC’s provincial health insurance plan). Therefore, if they plan to stay longer than six months, you should apply to extend their stay as soon as possible.
Visas for family members
Depending on their country of citizenship, they may need to apply either for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV, or “entry visa”) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) that allows them to travel to Canada. If your family members will accompany you to Canada, they can either apply at the same time as you or join you after you have arrived.
To ensure that your family members travelling without you are admitted to Canada as visitors for the length of your study permit, be sure to send them copies of your study permit, Temporary Resident Visa (if you have one) and passport for them to present to the authorities at the Canadian port of entry (airport or border crossing).
Study permits for children
Minor children (under the age of 19 in British Columbia) already in Canada can study without a study permit at the pre-school, primary, or secondary level if at least one parent is authorized to work or study in Canada.
Minor children applying from outside Canada to accompany a parent for work or study in Canada should apply for a study permit. In general, having a study permit (rather than a visitor record) can make the immigration process run more smoothly for accompanying minor children.
Note that minor children who are accompanying a family member who has applied and been approved for a work or study permit before entering Canada do not need to provide a letter of acceptance from an educational institution. Please see Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's guidelines on minor children for more information.
You should bring two years of official school records for your children, in English or with a certified English translation. You may also need immunization records since birth and their original birth certificate.
Extending documents for family members
When extending documents, each dependent (including children) requires their own valid documentation to stay in Canada. Extend their documents before the expiry date and pay the appropriate fee for each person.
Visitor documents may include a stamp in the passport or a printed document called a visitor record. An undated Customs stamp normally authorizes the visitor to remain in Canada for six months. Your family members should make sure their passports get stamped during the border crossing.