The Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their partner to immigrate to Canada and obtain permanent residency. Recognizing the importance of family unity, these applications are given priority in the processing of immigration requests. The program is available for spouses, common-law partners, or conjugal partners. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the requirements and process for sponsoring your partner to ensure a smooth and successful application.
Under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program, who is eligible to sponsor their spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner?
To be able to sponsor your partner, whether it be your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner, you must meet the following requirements:
Inland Sponsorship Class
The Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (Inland) is suitable for you if:
Outland Sponsorship Class
The Family Class (Outland) sponsorship option is appropriate for you if:
What is the processing time for sponsoring a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
The processing time for sponsorship applications is typically around 12 months from start to finish. However, it could take longer depending on the complexity of your case or if the visa office requests additional documentation to verify your relationship.
What are the associated costs for sponsoring a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
The fees for sponsoring your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner in Canada are as follows:
If the sponsor lives in Quebec or plans to live in Quebec after obtaining permanent residence, an additional fee of $289 CAD will also need to be paid in addition to the above-mentioned fees.
Please note that if the sponsored person has dependent children, an additional $150 fee will be charged for each child included in the application.
the meaning of Common-law Sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Canadian immigration law recognizes common-law relationships as equivalent to traditional marriages. In order to qualify for common-law sponsorship, you must demonstrate that you and your partner have lived together for a minimum of one year in a relationship that resembles a marriage.
Elaborate on the concept of Conjugal Sponsorship within the context of the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
If you cannot marry or live with your partner as common-law, you may be eligible to sponsor a conjugal partner under certain conditions. To qualify for sponsorship of a conjugal partner, you must have been in a conjugal relationship for a minimum of one year and must demonstrate that the inability to live together or marry is due to reasons beyond your control.
What are the ongoing responsibilities for an individual who sponsors their spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
When sponsoring a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner, you are responsible for providing for their basic needs, including every day and health needs, for a period of three years.
You must ensure that your sponsored partner does not require financial assistance from the government before signing the undertaking agreement. If they do require government assistance, you are responsible for repaying the full amount they received while you were legally responsible for them. If you do not repay the full amount, you will not be permitted to sponsor another family member in the future.
Please note that your financial obligation remains in effect even if:
Is employment a requirement to sponsor a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
You do not need to have a job to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to come to Canada. Unlike other sponsorship programs, there is no minimum income requirement for spousal sponsorship. However, as you are required to sign an undertaking agreement committing to provide for your partner’s basic needs, an immigration officer may review whether you have the financial means to sponsor. Therefore, it is recommended to provide evidence of how you will support your partner in Canada.
What is the financial requirement for sponsoring a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Different from other Canadian sponsorship types, there is no requirement to show a certain level of income when sponsoring a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner. However, when sponsoring any family member to Canada, you must sign an undertaking, promising to financially support the basic needs of your sponsored family member. The duration of the undertaking varies according to the sponsorship category. In case of spousal sponsorship, which includes spouses, common-law partners and conjugal partners, the undertaking lasts for 3 years from the day the sponsored person becomes a Canadian Permanent Resident.
Is having a job offer a requirement for a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to be sponsored under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner does not need a job offer in Canada to be eligible for the spousal sponsorship program.
Is English or French language proficiency a requirement for a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to be sponsored under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner is not obligated to prove their proficiency in English or French as part of the spousal sponsorship program. However, they may need to take a language proficiency test when they apply for Canadian citizenship later on.
Is it possible to sponsor a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program, even if they have a serious medical condition?
As long as your partner’s medical condition does not pose a threat to public health or safety, it is unlikely to cause problems with their sponsorship application. Medical inadmissibility can be categorized into three types: excessive demand on health or social services, danger to public health and danger to public safety. However, excessive demand does not apply to sponsored spouses or common-law partners.
What is the process for submitting an application for spousal sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Applications for spousal sponsorship can be submitted either by mail or through IRCC’s permanent residence application portal.
Is it possible to travel outside of Canada while an application for spousal sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program is being processed?
The person being sponsored may leave Canada for brief periods while waiting for a decision on their In-Canada Sponsorship application, but it is risky as the requirement for In-Canada Sponsorship Class is to reside in Canada. This may become a concern since the COVID-19 pandemic and the frequent implementation of travel restrictions. Also, if the sponsored spouse has applied for a spouse open work permit and is currently on maintained status in Canada, they will lose their maintained status once they leave Canada and must wait for the spouse open work permit application to be approved before returning. If you are a permanent resident, it is required to stay in Canada during the processing of a common-law sponsorship application.
What is the list of required documents for submitting an application for spousal sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
When applying to sponsor a spouse, the following documents will be required:
For common-law sponsorship, in addition to the above-mentioned documents, the following will also be required:
If all required documents cannot be provided, it is suggested to find alternative ways to demonstrate the relationship and provide them. This can include letters of explanation or sworn declarations from family or friends that can attest to your common-law or conjugal status. The final decision on the documents provided will be at the discretion of the visa officer, but providing as much proof as possible will increase the chances of acceptance.
For conjugal relationships, immigration officers will expect to see evidence of:
It’s important to note that for both conjugal and common-law relationships, there is no legal documentation or specific point in time that confirms your commitment to one another. Instead, immigration officers will look for evidence of significant emotional and interpersonal ties that demonstrate that you are in a serious, committed relationship with the intent to remain in it long-term.
Is it possible to include family members of a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner on an application for spousal sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner may include dependent children on their application for permanent residence.
Is an interview a mandatory step in the process for spousal or partner sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Immigration interviews are uncommon for spousal sponsorship cases and are usually only conducted in exceptional circumstances. These interviews may occur when there is a lack of supporting documents for the relationship, conflicting information on forms and documents, significant age or religious differences, a short period of time between meeting your spouse and marriage, or limited cohabitation. Although the decision to conduct an interview is at the discretion of the visa officer, utilizing the services of a qualified immigration lawyer can help to present your application in the strongest manner and reduce any questions about the validity of your relationship.
Circumstances under which a sponsorship application under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program may be denied.
In order to be eligible for spousal sponsorship, you must provide evidence that your relationship is genuine. Immigration officers will consider a range of factors depending on the nature of your relationship. These factors include traditional evidence such as wedding photos with family members present, as well as unique elements specific to your culture. If your relationship is unconventional, providing additional evidence such as letters of explanation can help an immigration officer understand why it may not have the same indicators as a traditional marriage from your cultural background. It’s worth noting that online marriage ceremonies are not considered valid for Canadian immigration purposes.
Is it possible to submit a new application for spousal sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program after a previous application has been denied?
You have the option to withdraw your sponsorship application before your sponsored individual becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
Is it possible to withdraw an application for spousal or partner sponsorship under the Canadian Spousal Sponsorship program?
Unlike the Parent and Grandparent sponsorship program, there is no limit on the number of spousal sponsorship applications that can be accepted. Applications for spousal sponsorship are accepted throughout the year without any restriction.
Is there a cap on the number of spousal sponsorship applications that can be accepted by Canada?
Spousal sponsorship has no limit on the number of applications accepted, unlike Parent and Grandparent sponsorship. Canada accepts spousal sponsorship applications at all times.
Does marriage to a Canadian citizen automatically grant me permanent residence in Canada?
Marrying a Canadian citizen does not automatically grant the spouse permanent residence. The spouse must apply for and be approved for spousal sponsorship before becoming a Canadian permanent resident.
Is it possible for my spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to enter Canada while their sponsorship application is being processed?
While you are waiting for approval, your spouse or partner can come to Canada, but there is no specific visa for those who are awaiting a decision on their sponsorship application. However, some applicants may face challenges when applying for a temporary visa, as having an application for permanent residence in process may cause doubt in the visa officer’s mind that the applicant intends to leave Canada at the end of their visa. To avoid this, applicants may want to apply for a temporary visa and then, once together in Canada, submit an application under the inland sponsorship category. This would allow the spouse being sponsored to transition from their temporary status in Canada to an open work permit, which would permit them to work for any employer while their application is being processed.
Is it possible to sponsor a conjugal or common-law partner while being legally married to someone else?
To sponsor your common-law partner while still being legally married to another person, you must provide evidence of the breakdown of your marriage and that you have lived separately from your spouse for at least a year. The time spent physically separated from your spouse can be counted towards the time spent cohabiting with the common-law partner you wish to sponsor. To prove the end of your spousal relationship, you need to submit additional documents like a formal declaration of the end of marriage and start of common-law relationship, an official separation agreement, a court order regarding the custody of children or documents showing the removal of the legally married spouse from insurance policies or wills.
Is it possible to sponsor a common-law partner if we are currently not residing together?
To sponsor your common-law partner, you must have lived together for a minimum of 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship. If you are not currently living together at the time of application, you must provide evidence that you have lived together in the past and intend to do so again in Canada once sponsored. Additionally, you must provide convincing evidence that you have continued to maintain your relationship despite being separated, whether it be for extenuating circumstances such as a family emergency, hostile country conditions or reasons related to employment or education.