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Spousal Sponsorship: How to Sponsor Your Spouse to Immigrate to Canada

In Canada, we know how important it is for families to be together. For this reason, applications for spousal sponsorship are considered high priority. 

Find out if you are eligible for spousal sponsorship and start the process of bringing your husband, wife, common-law or conjugal partner to Canada today!

Am I eligible to be a sponsor?

You may be eligible to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and meet the following conditions:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Live in Canada, or planning to return to Canada once your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada
  • Are able and willing to provide for the basic financial needs of your spouse or partner for three years

How do we prove our relationship is genuine?

In order to be eligible for spousal sponsorship of any kind, you need to prove that your relationship is legitimate. There are several factors that are taken into consideration by immigration officers, depending on the nature of your relationship.

Spouse

If you are married and looking into sponsoring your husband or wife, immigration officers will expect to see the following evidence:

  • Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire
  • Marriage certificate
  • Wedding invitations and photos
  • Birth certificates or adoption records for any children you and your spouse have together
  • Proof of registration of marriage with a government authority

And at least two of the following documents:

  • Proof that you and your spouse own property together
  • Shared bank accounts, utility bills with both of your names, copies of government-issued IDs, car insurance, pay stubs or tax forms that show that you live at the same address

Common-Law

If you are in a common-law relationship and looking into sponsoring your partner, immigration officers will expect to see the following evidence:

  • Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire
  • Birth certificates or adoption records for any children you and your common-law partner have together
  • Photos of you and your common-law partner that demonstrate that you are in a conjugal relationship
  • Proof that you have lived together for at least one year

And at least two of the following documents:

  • Documents that indicate that you are recognized as each other’s common-law partner, such as employment or insurance benefits
  • Evidence of financial support or shared expenses between you and your partner
  • Proof that your relationship is recognized by family and friends (letters, emails, social media)

Conjugal

If you are in a conjugal relationship and looking into sponsoring your partner, immigration officers will expect to see the following evidence:

  • Shared residence
  • Economic support, including joint financial arrangements, shared bank accounts, etc.
  • Evidence that your friends and family recognize that the two of you are in a relationship

For both conjugal and common-law relationships, there is no legal documentation or specific point in time that solidifies your commitment to one another. Instead, immigration officers will expect to see evidence of  significant emotional and interpersonal ties that demonstrates that you are in a serious, committed relationship with the intention to remain in that relationship long-term.

 

What category should we apply under?

When sponsoring your partner, you will need to submit the application under one of two different categories.

How to sponsor your spouse if they are outside of Canada:

You should apply under the Family Class (Outland) if:

  • Your spouse/common-law partner (i.e. “the applicant”) lives outside of Canada
  • You are currently living in Canada with the sponsor but do not plan to stay in Canada for the duration of the application process

A downside to using this stream is that, until your application has been approved, living with your spouse may be difficult. However, your spouse can apply for a temporary visa to come to Canada while his or her outland sponsorship application is being processed.

How to sponsor your spouse if they are already in Canada:

You should apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (Inland) if:

  • You live with the sponsor in Canada
  • You hold a valid immigration status in Canada
  • You would like to apply for an open work permit in order to work in Canada while the application is in process

If your spouse or common-law partner is out of status in Canada, they may be able to submit under this stream as well while being protected under a public policy that allows them to stay in Canada until the application has been fully processed. The disadvantage to this particular stream, however, is that the applicant should refrain from travel outside of Canada while the application is in process.

Do I need to show a minimum income?

Sponsors wishing to bring their spouse or common-law partner to Canada do not need to show any minimum income as part of the eligibility requirements. However, whenever you sponsor a family member to Canada, you must sign an undertaking, in which you promise to provide financial support for the basic needs of your sponsored family member. The length of the undertaking depends on the category of sponsorship. For spousal sponsorship (including spouses and common-law or conjugal partners), the length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day the sponsored individual becomes a Canadian permanent resident.

How long will it take for my spouse to become a permanent resident?

As of December 2016, Canada has vowed to improve its spousal sponsorship processing times, with most applications for both inland and outland categories now being processed within 12 months. Applicants who apply under the inland category and submit an open work permit application can expect to receive their open work permit about four months after submission.

How much does it cost?

The government processing fee to sponsor a spouse is $550 CAD. Applicants will also need to pay a Right of Permanent Residence Fee of $490 CAD before a visa can be issued. Applicants should also be aware that they will need to pay for biometrics to be completed during this process ($85CAD) and if the sponsor resides in Quebec or intends to reside in Quebec upon the issuance of permanent residence, an additional fee of $289 CAD will need to be paid for the undertaking agreement with the provincial government.

As each application is as unique as the relationship itself, an experienced representative can assist you in preparing the strongest application possible. 

If you would like to know more about your options for spousal sponsorship, please contact us.

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