In a perfect world, spouses would not be kept apart by living in separate countries as their sponsorship application is being processed, but this is an unfortunate reality for many couples who are navigating the Canadian immigration process.
The outland spousal sponsorship stream of the family sponsorship program allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence, regardless of where they are currently living. As part of Canada’s commitment to reuniting families as quickly as possible, most applications are processed within a 12-month period. While this program was designed for sponsored individuals living abroad, applicants residing in Canada may also choose to apply for outland spousal sponsorship, as it may enable them to travel in and out of Canada while their application is being processed.
Spousal sponsorship applications have eligibility requirements for both the Canadian sponsor and the individual being sponsored. Those wishing to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner must:
If the sponsor lives in the province of Quebec, they may need to meet additional requirements. Unlike under inland spousal sponsorship, the sponsored individual is not required to hold valid temporary status in Canada for outland spousal sponsorship applications, as long as the sponsored partner is not living in Canada. They must also be at least 18 years of age and cannot be a close blood relative of the sponsor. The relationship between sponsor and person being sponsored must be either a legal marriage, or a common-law or conjugal partnership, as recognized by IRCC.
To be legally valid, the marriage must either have been legally performed in Canada, or, if performed outside of Canada, legally recognized in both the country where it took place and in Canada. Same-sex spouses must have been married in a country where same-sex marriages are legal in order for the relationship to be legally valid for sponsorship purposes. If the marriage is not legally valid, the couple may be able to apply for as common-law or conjugal partners, provided such a relationship can be demonstrated.
If the Canadian sponsor resides in the province of Quebec, will need to commit to a financial undertaking to support the family member they are sponsoring. The duration of the undertaking depends on the nature of the relationship. In the case of spousal sponsorship, the sponsor must commit to financially support their spouse, or common-law or conjugal partner, for three years.
Outland spousal sponsorships do not require the sponsor to meet the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) to be eligible for the program if they are sponsoring their spouse or their dependent children. In the event a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is sponsoring their parents, grandparents, or other dependents, they will be required to meet the MNI requirement in order to be eligible to sponsor their family members.
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!Get Started