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Bringing Your Family with You to Vancouver as A Student: A Simple Guide



So you've decided to come to Vancouver to study? Congratulations! You will not regret your decision. This city is one of the most beautiful and livable in the world.

Now, there are a lot of things to take into account. One of the most important is figuring out how your family can come with you.


Fortunately, it's not as difficult as it might seem. There are several steps you can take to make the process as smooth as possible for everyone involved. In this guide, we'll walk you through important steps you need to take to bring your loved ones with you.




The Process for Bringing Your Family to Vancouver

Now comes the question of what to do about your family. You can't leave them behind, can you? Luckily, bringing your family to Vancouver is a relatively easy process and here’s a quick overview:


  1. First, you will need to apply for a work permit for your spouse and study permits for your children. This process can be a little tricky, so be sure to enlist the help of an immigration lawyer if needed.

  2. Once you have your permits in hand, it's time to book your flights! This can be a daunting task, but luckily, many great online resources are available to help you find the best deals.

  3. Next, you will need to find a place for them to live. There are many great options for family housing in Vancouver, including apartments, townhouses, and houses. Be sure to research your options carefully and find something that meets your needs and budget.

  4. Finally, once you have arrived in Vancouver, be sure to enroll your family in school and get them registered with a family doctor. There are many great public and private schools around the Vancouver Greater Area, so you are sure to find one that meets your needs and your neighbourhood.


Now that you know the overall process, let us explain each step in a little more detail.



Obtaining your Student Permit

As mentioned before, one of the first things you'll need to do is apply for a student permit. This document allows you to stay in Canada for the duration of your studies. Here are the steps you need to take to obtain a student permit:

  1. Gather all the required documents. These include your passport, proof of acceptance from an accredited school, proof of your financial status, and a letter of explanation about why you are coming to Canada.

  2. Fill out the application form and submit it online.

  3. Pay the application fee.

  4. Wait for approval.

  5. Pick up your permit from the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate.


You must submit your spouse’s and children’s study permits when you apply for your study permit.

Important: It is not mandatory for your kids to have a study permit if they are under the age of 19, however, the government recommends you get one anyway.




Securing Employment for Spouse

Now that you've settled into your studies and housing, it's time to explore employment options for your spouse.

If you are a Post-Graduate Work Permit holder, your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit. This type of permit allows them to work in almost any Canadian company with no restrictions on their occupation or place of employment.


Meanwhile, if you are a student visa holder, then your spouse or common-law partner may apply for an accompanying Spouse or Common-Law Partner Open Work Permit (SCLP). This permit is open to all types of occupations unless specifically excluded by law and usually has minimal requirements to obtain it.


Finding a Suitable Accommodation for Your Family

Finding a suitable accommodation for your family can be a challenge. There are many things you will need to take into account, such as budget, location, and the amount of space you will need.


Here are a few tips to help make your search a little bit easier:

- Start by researching Vancouver's neighbourhoods and narrowing your search down to the areas that best suit your needs. Look for nearby parks, community centres, schools, grocery shops and public transportation.

- Check out websites like Airbnb and VRBO for short-term rentals. For long-term rentals, there are many ways to look for listings. Check out our articles on finding accommodation 101 and what kind of documents you need to prepare.

- If you have children, make sure to find a place with enough space for them to play and study.

- Don't forget to budget for extra expenses like utilities, internet, and cable.

Good luck and happy house hunting!




Find the Right School for Your Children

Alright, the next step is to find the right school. This is a crucial decision, as it will have an impact on your entire family's experience. When researching prospective schools, make sure you consider factors like location, education quality, cost, and student resources. Additionally, if your family has specific needs (for example, language learning or religious requirements), make sure to find a school that can accommodate them.


Once you've done all your research and chosen the right school for you and your family, it's time to get your enrollment paperwork! Collecting the required documents and filling out applications may seem daunting at first, but don't worry. There are plenty of learning resources available to help guide you through this process.




Extra! Health Care and MSP for your Children

Health care and Medical Service Plan (MSP) coverage for your children is a very important step. Before you arrive in Vancouver, you'll need to ensure that your children have adequate medical and health coverage. There are many companies that provide this kind of coverage, such as Guard.me. The good news is that British Columbia has an excellent healthcare system for children and families, so once you're settled in, you and your children can apply to access free medical services in the province.


The first step is registering for the Medical Service Plan (MSP). Once the application is submitted, the MSP should provide coverage within a few weeks; however, it can take up to 12 weeks to process the application. You will need to provide supporting documents, such as birth certificates or passports, for each child that needs MSP coverage. More information about applying for MSP can be found on their website.


That's all there is to it! Once everything is processed, you and your family can finally rest easy knowing that you have quality healthcare available whenever you need it.

We have written articles about MSP, check this one out!




Once you are here, there are more resources available to you within the city. Make sure you check out your local Community Centre or nearest public library for more kids activities and support.


Follow us on Instagram @thrivve.ca and let us know about your experience moving with your family to Vancouver. Better yet, join our Slack community and share your experience with other international students.


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