Spousal/Common Law Partner Open Work Permit (SOWP)

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Spousal/Common Law Partner Open Work Permit (SOWP)

If your common-law partner or spouse is currently studying or working in Canada, you may be eligible for an open work permit. This Spousal work permit gives you the ability to come, stay and work for any employer in Canada.

An open work permit makes it much easier to find jobs in Canada as the employer now doesn’t need to provide you with an LMIA. The Spousal Open Work Permit is also a great pathway to Canadian Permanent Residency. It allows you to acquire valid work experience, which can then be used to gain extra points for the Permanent Residency Immigration Programs. 

You can be eligible for a Spousal Open Work Permit if your spouse is:

  • A skilled worker in Canada working under NOC skill type O, A or B classifications and has a valid work permit
  • An International Student at a university, college or post-secondary school and has a valid study permit
  • Applying for the AIPP (Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program) in NOC skill type O, A or B classifications
  • A foreign military member residing and working inside Canada
  • A foreign representative in Canada

Apart from these, there are some criteria that the potential Spousal work permit holder also has to fulfill

The applicant must:

  • Have enough funds to sustain yourself in Canada and enough to go back home
  • Prove they are in good health by giving a medical exam
  • Not be classified as a dangerous person and have no past criminal activity.
  • Not work under an ineligible employer or in the erotic dance, massages, or escort services.
  • Prove they’ll return home after their work permit gets over
  • Provide all the needed documents as per the officer’s demand

The spousal open work permit can be applied from both inside and outside Canada, depending on your location.

Applying from outside Canada will also require you to obtain a visa to enter Canada as the work permit itself only allows you to stay and does not give you access to enter and re-enter alone.

What is the general processing time and cost for the Spousal open work permit application?

Processing Times

The processing times can generally take between 3-5 months but are subject to change. You can find the current processing times as per your application country here . This time does not include the time taken to complete the Biometrics; this added time would depend on which country you’re applying from and its facilities’ availability.  


Applicants must pay a total of 255$ combining the application and the open work permit holder fee.

Want to apply for a Spousal open work permit in Canada?

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