Spousal Sponsorship Overview
Spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner eligibility requirements
Applying to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner:
You may be eligible to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and meet the following conditions:
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.
You should apply under the Family Class (Outland) sponsorship option 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 their outland sponsorship application is being processed.
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.
The government processing fees to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner in Canada are listed below. If you are sponsoring your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner 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
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.
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.
Under certain circumstances where you are unable to marry or live with your partner as common-law, you may be eligible to sponsor a conjugal partner. In order to sponsor a partner, you must have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year but were unable to live together or get married for reasons beyond your control.
When sponsoring a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner, you are responsible for fulfilling the basic needs of your partner, including their everyday and health needs for three years.
You must make sure that your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner does not require social assistance from the government before signing the undertaking agreement. If your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner does require financial help from the government, you must pay back he full amount they received while you were legally responsible for them. If you do not pay back the full amount, you will not be permitted to sponsor another eligible family member until you do.
Your financial obligation will stay in effect even if:
You do not need 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, promising to fulfil the basic financial needs of your partner, the immigration officer may assess whether you have sufficient funds to sponsor. As such, you should provide some proof of how you will support your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner in Canada.
Unlike most other forms of Canadian sponsorship, you do not need to demonstrate a minimum amount of income to sponsor a spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner. 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.
Your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner does not require a job offer in Canada to be eligible under the spousal sponsorship program.
Your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner is not required to demonstrate their proficiency in English or French.
However, your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner will likely need to take a language proficiency exam when later applying for Canadian citizenship.
As long as your spouse’s medical condition is not a danger to the public health or safety, they will likely not face any issues with their sponsorship application.
There are three kinds of medical inadmissibility: excessive demand on health or social services, danger to public health, and danger to public safety. Medical inadmissibility for excessive demand does not apply to sponsored spouses or common-law partners.
Applications for spousal sponsorship may be submitted via mail or by IRCC’s new permanent residence application portal.
The person being sponsored may leave Canada for short periods of time while awaiting a decision on their In Canada Sponsorship application. However, as residing in Canada in the requirement for In Canada Sponsorship Class, it is risky to leave the country in the case that you are not able to re-enter. This has increasingly become a concern since the COVID-19 pandemic with the frequent implementation of travel restrictions.
Another consideration is if the sponsored spouse has applied for an open work permit and is currently on maintained status in Canada. If this is the case, they will lose their maintained status once they leave Canada and must wait until their work permit application is approved to return.
If you are a permanent resident, you must stay in Canada during the processing of a common-law sponsorship application.
When applying to sponsor a spouse, you can expect to submit the following:
To demonstrate your relationship, you should provide 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 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.
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 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.
Your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner may include any accompanying dependent children on their application for permanent residence.
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.
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 elements to determine if your relationship is genuine. Some of the elements they will consider are more traditional, like photos of your wedding that show members of your family in attendance. 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.
If your spousal sponsorship application was refused, you have the option to re-apply. However, it is very important to address the reason for the refusal in your application with new information or documentation.
You can withdraw your sponsorship application at any time before the person you’re sponsoring becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
Unlike Parent and Grandparent sponsorship, there is no intake cap for spousal sponsorship. Canada continues to accept spousal sponsorship applications throughout the year.
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.
Your spouse or partner 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.
If you wish to sponsor your common-law partner but are legally married to another person, you must provide proof that your marriage has broken down and that you have lived apart from your spouse for at least one year. You can only count time physically separated from your spouse toward time cohabitating with the common-law partner you wish to sponsor. To demonstrate the end of your spousal relationship, you should provide additional documentation, such as:
A common-law couple may be separated due to extenuating circumstances such as a family emergency, hostile country conditions, or employment or education-related reasons. To sponsor your common-law partner, you must have been living or have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship. If you are not currently living with your partner at the time of applying, you must provide sufficient evidence that you have previously lived together and intend to live together in Canada upon being sponsored. You will also need to provide convincing evidence to show that while living apart, you have continued to maintain your common-law relationship.
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.
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!Check if you are eligible to sponsor or be sponsored for Canadian Immigration