Spouse Open Work Permit (SOWP) Canada

If your spouse is currently working or studying in Canada, or if you have applied to be sponsored for permanent residence by your spouse or partner in Canada, you may be eligible for an open work permit.

If a foreign national is successful in their work permit application, they will be issued an open work permit authorizing them to work for multiple employers in any location in Canada while their permanent residency application is processing, or while their spouse has valid status in Canada. The application procedure for the spousal sponsorship open work permit varies depending on the applicant’s status in Canada or the stage of their permanent residency application. Foreign nationals cannot work in Canada without the appropriate authorization. Engaging in any form of employment in Canada without the proper work permit is unlawful and can jeopardize future immigration applications.

Who can apply for a spouse open work permit?

Individuals who have applied to be sponsored by their spouse, or those whose spouses are in Canada on a study or work permit may be able to apply for a spousal open work permit. The requirements for applying for a spousal open work permit depend on the type of status your spouse has in Canada. 

Eligibility and requirements for a spousal work permit and visa

In order to qualify for a spousal open work permit, you must meet certain minimum requirements, including:

  • Must be in a genuine relationship with a qualifying foreign national principal applicant, permanent resident, or citizen;
  • Must be eligible to apply as the spouse of a qualifying foreign national, or as an in Canada sponsorship applicant (see above); and
  • Are not criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada

Additional criteria will vary depending on the category of SOWP you are applying under.

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