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Spousal Open Work Permit - Canada Immigration

The Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit for Canada allows the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to work in Canada. This permit is valid for the same period of time as the sponsoring spouse's or partner's work permit.


The main purpose of this permit is to allow the sponsored spouse or partner to work while waiting for their permanent residence application to be processed.

It is however not restricted to sponsorship applications by permanent residents or citizens of Canada. You may be eligible for an open work permit if your spouse is currently working or studying in Canada.

quick facts

  • Type of work permit: Open

  • Fee: $100 + $155 + biometrics fee(if applicable).

  • LMIA/Job offer required: No

  • Processing time: 8-10 weeks.

  • Participation Categories: 

    • Spouse of Temporary Residents

    • Primary applicants under Family Sponsorship

What is Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP)?


Spouse/Partner of Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents:

The Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit for Canada allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident's spouse or common-law partner to work in Canada. This permit is valid for the same period of time as the work permit of the sponsoring spouse or partner. This permit's main purpose is to allow the sponsored spouse or partner to work while their permanent residence application is being processed.

Spouse/Partner of Temporary Residents of Canada:

A spouse open work permit allows the spouse of certain temporary Canadian permit holders to work anywhere in Canada, for any employer, with few restrictions.

Who can apply for Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP)?


Individuals who have applied to be sponsored by their spouse or whose spouses are in Canada on a study or work permit may be eligible to submit an application for a spousal open work permit. The procedures for filing for an open work visa for a spouse depend on the status of your spouse in Canada.

The list below shows the categories of applicants:

  1. In Canada spousal/common-law sponsorship applicants

  2. Spouses or common-law partners of holders of a study permit

  3. Spouses or common-law partners of non-BOWP open work permit holders (incl. PGWP, IEC)

  4. Spouses or common-law partners of holders of a bridging open work permit (BOWP)

  5. Spouses or partners of provincial candidates

  6. Spouses or partners-in-common of Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) holders.

  7. Spouses or partners in a common-law relationship of Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) work permit holders

Eligibility 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 qualified to apply as the spouse of a qualifying foreign national or as a sponsor candidate in Canada 

  • Are not criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada

  • The applicant must reside at the same address as the sponsor (spouse/common-law partner);

  • The applicant must have valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker); and

  • The applicant and the sponsor must meet all eligibility requirements under spousal or common-law partner sponsorship.


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

Document checklist for Spouse open work permit(SOWP)


The documents required for a Canadian spouse work permit will depend on the category you are applying under. Applicants may need to provide the following documents as part of their work permit application:

  • Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) for Permanent Residence application submission.

  • Provincial nomination certificate (if applicable)

  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) (if applicable)

  • Completed application forms

  • Proof of status in Canada (if applying from inside Canada)

  • Proof of spouse’s status in Canada

  • Marriage certificate or proof of civil status

  • Proof of relationship to the principal applicant (for common-law/conjugal partners)

  • A valid passport

  • Medical exam results (if requested)

  • Proof of payment for applicable government fees

Need help in applying for Spouse open work permit (SOWP)? Hire an authorized paid representative.

IMMERGITY Immigration Consultant are very experienced with the application process and can help you navigate the system. We will also provide valuable insights and tips on how to increase your chances of success. Get in touch now.

If you're thinking of hiring a representative, be sure to check that they're authorized by IRCC. You can verify our credentials by clicking here.

Hiring a representative is not required, but it can be helpful, especially if you're not familiar with the application process. If you decide to hire a representative, be sure to choose someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable working with.

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