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:
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.
If you are married and looking into sponsoring your husband or wife, immigration officers will expect to see the following evidence:
And at least two of the following documents:
If you are in a common-law relationship and looking into sponsoring your partner, immigration officers will expect to see the following evidence:
And at least two of the following documents:
If you are in a conjugal relationship and looking into sponsoring your partner, immigration officers will expect to see the following evidence:
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.
When sponsoring your partner, you will need to submit the application under one of two different categories.
You should apply under the Family Class (Outland) if:
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.
You should apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (Inland) if:
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.
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.
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.
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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