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Can I bring my children if I plan to get a study visa to Canada?

you are applying for a study permit (study visa) for Canada and you have one or more dependent children. Can your child or children come with you to Canada and also continue their kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12) studies in Canada?

Dependent Children

The first step is to determine if the child will be considered “dependent” by Canada. If the child is under 22 and not married, then this child will be considered “dependent”. But if the child is married or already 22 years old or older than the child will not be considered dependent unless the child is dependent on the parent because of a mental or physical condition.

It is important to note here that some individuals with some conditions may not be considered admissible to Canada for medical reasons. These reasons are explained in this official government of Canada link.

Study permit for a dependent child

When the parent is outside Canada and is applying for a study permit this is the same time to apply for a study permit for the child. Both applications should be sent together. The following is official advice from the government of Canada.

Minor children who want to study for six months or more must apply for a study permit before they enter Canada. This includes minor children who come with parents who had a study or work permit approved overseas. You do not need a study permit for a program of six months or less, but you may still apply for one before entering Canada. If you are coming to Canada with parents who have a valid study or work permit, you don’t need to provide a letter of acceptance from a school when you apply for a study permit.

There may be cases, where the child is already in Canada and the parent is applying for a study permit to study in Canada. In these cases, the process will be different but the child will be permitted to study in Canada.

What about a dependent child wanting to study in a Canadian university, college or polytechnic after grade 12?

In these cases, as long as the child is a “dependent” according to the official definition described above, then the child can still accompany the permit to Canada on a study permit. Again, this should be applied for at the same time as the parent applies for the study permit.

Will a child study for free in Canada?

In Canada, the kindergarten to grade 12 system is free to Canadians and permanent residents of Canada. The Canadian education system is organized according to each province or territory and not according to the federal government. In some provinces or territories, there are many school boards each with authority to determine the rules and regulations about fees for international students.

To find out if your child is eligible for free public education from kindergarten to grade 12, do contact the local school district where you plan to do your own studies (for example at the university, college or polytechnic).

In Canada, generally speaking day care for children who are not yet in kindergarten requires separate fees for child care. Some provinces may offer a half-day nursery school at about age 4 and some school boards may offer this without cost to children of international students.

Some kindergarten to grade 12 schools are private and charge fees to Canadians and permanent residents of Canada. These schools will generally also charge fees to international students.

If the dependent child is pursuing study in Canada after grade 12 at a university, college or polytechnic, then the usual international student fees will be charged to this child. Note that a child beginning such studies as a “dependent” may later have to apply for a study permit as an “independent” person if the definition of dependent no longer applies, such as turning age 22.

For a general overview consult this official government of Canada page:

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