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Sponsor Your Spouse to Canada

Canadian spousal sponsorship is how a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their partner to come to Canada and live permanently. In Canada, we know how important it is for families to be together. For this reason, applications for spousal sponsorship are considered a top priority.

How Long Does it Take to Sponsor Your Spouse in Canada?

Sponsorship applications take approximately 12 months to process from start to finish. They are typically not processed much faster than 12 months but they can take longer, depending on the nature of your case. 

If you have a complicated case, or the visa office requires additional proof of your relationship, this will delay the processing of your case and it will take longer. 

The best way to ensure your sponsorship application is processed as quickly as possible is to make sure it is done right the first time. The lawyers and legal professionals at Canadim have helped thousands of spousal sponsorship applications. Find out how Canadim can help bring your loved ones to Canada by taking our free online assessment.

SPONSORSHIP ASSESSMENT

What are the Requirements to Sponsor Your Spouse in Canada?

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

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 (see common-law if you are not married)
  • 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

How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor Your Spouse to Canada?

The government processing fees to sponsor your spouse in Canada are listed below. If you are sponsoring your spouse and they have dependent children, then an additional $150 payment will be required for each child included in the application. 

Sponsorship fee $75 

Principal applicant processing fee $475 

Right of permanent residence fee $500

Biometrics: $85

Total: $1135

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 in addition to the fees mentioned above. 

How Much Money do You Need to Sponsor Your Spouse to Canada?

Unlike most other forms of Canadian sponsorship, you do not need to demonstrate a minimum amount of income to sponsor a spouse. 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.

Common-law Sponsorships

Under Canadian immigration law, common-law relationships are viewed as the same as conventional marriages. In order for your relationship to be eligible for common-law sponsorship, you must prove that as a couple, you have lived together for a year or longer in a marriage-like relationship.

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)

If you can’t provide all the documents outlined above, get creative. Find ways that demonstrate your relationship and provide them. Provide letters of explanation or sworn declarations from family or friends that can attest to your common-law status. The final decision regarding your common-law documents will be at the discretion of the visa officer but the more proof you can provide, the better your chances of being accepted. 

Conjugal Relationships

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 a 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.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship

You should apply under the Family Class (Outland) sponsorship option 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.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship

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.

Reasons a Sponsorship Application is Refused

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.

Visa officers will consider a range of items to determine if your relationship is genuine. Some of the items they will consider are more traditional, like photos of your wedding that show members or your family there. Others can be more unique to the cultural practices of the region. If your relationship is unconventional, providing additional evidence of the genuineness of your relationship is recommended. Letters of explanation can also help a visa officer understand why your relationship might not have all the same indicators as a more traditional marriage from your cultural background. 

Be advised that marriage ceremonies that are conducted over the internet are not accepted for Canadian immigration purposes. 

Do I Get Permanent Residence if I Marry a Canadian?

No. Simply marrying a Canadian does not automatically give the spouse Canadian permanent residence. Once you are married or in a common-law relationship, you can then apply for a spousal sponsorship. Only after the application for spousal sponsorship is approved, will the married spouse become a Canadian permanent resident. 

Can my Spouse Come to Canada While Waiting for Approval?

Your spouse can come to Canada while you are waiting for approval but there is no special visa for applicants awaiting a decision on their sponsorship application. Some spousal sponsorship applicants may encounter difficulties applying for a temporary visa if they have an application for permanent residence already in process. 

Applicants applying for a temporary residence visa must satisfy the visa officer assigned to their case they will leave at the end of the validity of the visa. Having an application for permanent residence can create doubt in the visa officer’s mind that the applicant intends to leave at the end of their visa. For this reason, applicants may want to apply for a temporary visa and then once together in Canada, submit under the inland sponsorship category. The spouse being sponsored can then transition from their temporary status in Canada to an open work permit that would allow them to work for any employer while their application is processing. 

Is an Interview Required for Spousal Sponsorship?

Immigration interviews are rare for spousal sponsorship cases and are the exception rather than the rule. That said, spousal sponsorship immigration interviews usually occur when there are lack of documents supporting the relationships, contradicting information on the forms vs. documents, age and religious difference, a short period of time between meeting your spouse and marriage, or little or no cohabitation. 

Although the final decision to interview a couple is at the discretion of the visa officer, using the services of a qualified immigration attorney can prepare your application in the best possible light and minimize any questions they have about the validity of your relationship. 

Can I Cancel My Spousal Sponsorship?

You can withdraw your sponsorship application at any time before the person you’re sponsoring becomes a permanent resident of Canada. 

 

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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Family Sponsorship Assessment

If you want to sponsor your spouse or children, or if you want to be sponsored, we can help! Simply complete our free sponsorship assessment and a member of the Canadim Team will contact you to discuss your options!

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