My fiancée and I are both living in Vancouver Canada with a study permit issued in August 2014. We both started our PhD but she decided to stopped her PhD a few months ago and to start a Master degree (in a slightly different field, in a different University) in September 2016.

Note that:

  1. She will know only late Spring whether she will be accepted for this Master (although it feels unlikely to us that she would not be accepted).
  2. She will be taking courses online (Khan Academy and EdX) and will eventually work aside (in the department offering the Master degree).
  3. We are fiancée (getting married next summer) and we have been together for long enough to be considered "common-law" (not exactly sure of the term though). I am on a study visa and this might facilitates future application for her.
  4. We are both swiss. She is also french (bi-national) but currently lives in Canada as a swiss citizen.
  5. We have never lived in Canada before coming with our study visa.

To my understanding

To my understanding, she is allowed to work with her visa but only in parallel of her studies. If I am not mistaken, she can changes her field of studies without notice but I am not sure. I have no idea how this particular case should be treated though.

What do you recommend we do?

  • Must she cancel her current study visa, apply for a new visa for 6 months only and then apply for a new study visa for her Master degree?

  • Must the change of plans be communicated to CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)?

  • Looks like she might be okay: cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=487&t=15
    – mkennedy
    Jan 3 '16 at 3:34
  • Yes, I kinda knew that (although I failed to find this page). The part that worries me most is the 6 months break in between her two programs?
    – Remi.b
    Jan 3 '16 at 6:42
  • Sorry, I'm late to the party, but as per the help center, this is a) too broad (asking multiple questions in one post) and b) asking for recommendations (opinion). Putting on hold for now.
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 23 '17 at 10:33

Alternatively, the spouse (including common law) should able to obtain an open work permit as long as the other are a full-time post-graduate student. You will need some documents to prove your relationship and the permit due date be align with the study permit.

  • OP is not in a common law as of the asked date and OP's spouse doesn't want to discontinue their studies, they just want to switch their program. Your answer would be valid when the spouse wants to discontinue studying.
    – Dipen Shah
    Apr 12 '17 at 20:48

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