Spousal Open Work Permit


“SOWP option is for the spouses of:

  • Skilled temporary foreign workers inside Canada,
  • international full-time students, and
  • in-Canada spousal sponsorship PR applicants. “


Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) Introduction

Canadian citizen or Permanent resident may sponsor their spouse or common law partner for permanent residency under the Family Class category of Spousal sponsorship. SOWP is applied to sponsor’s spouse or common law partner inside Canada to bring them together while waiting for their spousal sponsorship application decision which could take up to 12 months. Instead of economic and emotional hardship the sponsor’s spouse or common law partner may apply for SOWP. However, spouses or common law partners of skilled workers and students in Canada may also apply for SOWP.

SOWP is not employer or job-specific and it allows the holder to work for almost any Canadian employer, without initially having a confirmed job offer or employment.

By obtaining SOWP the sponsored spouse or common law partner can live and work beside their spouse in Canada while waiting for the decision on their sponsorship application of PR. SOWP permits are valid up to 02 years unless the applicant’s passport expiry date comes first.

Spouses or common law partners of Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents of Canada, skilled workers and students in Canada may apply for SOWP.

SOWP Eligibility and Requirements

  • For applicants applying for SOWP under Spousal sponsorship category need to meet the following criteria: –
    • A PR application must be submitted under Spousal or Common law Sponsorship category
    • The applicant and the sponsor must have the same address and reside together in Canada
    • The applicant must have a valid temporary resident status as a visitor, student or worker
    • Both applicant and sponsor must meet the eligibility criteria under Spousal sponsorship category

    Applicants of temporary residents in Canada who are applying for SOWP may be eligible if they have: –

    • a spouse working temporarily in Canada as a skilled worker in an occupation under the NOC skill type 0, A or B approved to work in Canada for six months or longer.
    • someone applying for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program in a job under NOC 0, A, B or C
    • a spouse who is a foreign student at a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university (or CEGEP in Quebec)

Members of foreign representatives or foreign military members who are working in Canada may also apply for SOWP.

Spouses of the applicants must meet the eligibility criteria in order for the applicants to obtain SOWP

Spousal sponsorship is available to couples already living together in Canada where a spouse or common law partner is holding a temporary status in Canada as a visitor, student, or worker.

Eligibility and Requirements

“The applicant and their spouse need to meet certain eligibility criteria in order for the applicant to obtain SOWP.”


“The SOWP processing time might take up to four to five months depending on where and when the application is submitted.”

SOWP Process

The applicant can apply online for a SOWP. When applying for a SOWP there is no requirement for IELTS score for the applicant and after the open work permit is approved the holder of SOWP can work full-time and stay with their spouse until their work permit is valid.

SOWP may be extended if the status of your spouse or common law partner is primarily extended as well.

Spousal open work permit can be beneficial for the couple financially as well as making an economic contribution to Canada.

Canada is known for reuniting families together in many different ways, SOWP is just one of them.

Supporting documents

Prepare the right documents and pay the fees upon submission of your BOWP application

SOWP Supporting documents

When completing a work permit application, select an option for Open Work Permit as the type of work permit and do not fill any information under employer section.

If a spouse of the SOWP applicant is holding a PGWP, a copy of their work permit must be attached with the submission of the application of a SOWP along with their current employment letter confirming the spouse is working in a NOC 0, A or B skilled position and a copy of pay slips needs to be enclosed as well.

Gathering all right documents before submission is one step closer to bringing your spouse to Canada on a SOWP.

SOWP will not be valid longer than the work permit of your spouse.

We are the best reviewed Immigration Consultancy Firm in the Canada.

If you want to be represented by the best immigration firm for your case then do not hesitate and write us a mail!