Spousal Sponsorship

Spousal Sponsorship: Sponsor Your Spouse or Common-Law Partner for Canadian Immigration

Spousal sponsorship is one of the most popular pathways for family reunification in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to come and live with you in Canada. This process allows you to build your life together without the constant worry of separation due to immigration restrictions.

In this article, you’ll learn about the eligibility criteria for sponsorship, the types of relationships recognized by the Canadian government, and key steps in the application process. Whether you’re just starting to consider this option or are ready to begin the paperwork, this guide will provide you with the essential information you need.


Are You Eligible to Sponsor?

Before you start the sponsorship process, it’s crucial to ensure that both you and your partner meet the necessary eligibility requirements. Here’s what you need to know:

  – You must be at least 18 years old.

  – You must be a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act, or a permanent resident living in Canada.

  – You must demonstrate financial stability and the ability to support your partner’s basic needs for a specified period.

  – You cannot be receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability.

  – You must not have been convicted of certain crimes, be in prison, be an undischarged bankrupt, or have previously failed to meet sponsorship obligations.


Is Your Spouse Eligible to Be Sponsored?

  – Your spouse or partner must be at least 18 years old.

  – They must not be inadmissible to Canada for health, security, or criminal reasons.

  – You must be able to prove the genuineness of your relationship through various documents and evidence.


Types of Relationships You Can Sponsor

Canada recognizes three types of relationships for spousal sponsorship: spouses, common-law partners, and conjugal partners. Each type has specific requirements and definitions.


1. Spouse

If you’re legally married to your partner, you can sponsor them as your spouse. The marriage must be recognized both in the country where it took place and under Canadian law. You must provide a valid marriage certificate in addition to other documents demonstrating a genuinie relationship. Marriages by proxy, telephone, fax, or Internet are generally not recognized unless both were physically present. In addition, you must prove the genuineness of the marriage with evidence like photos, joint financial accounts, property documents, and correspondence.


2. Common-law Partners

If you have lived with your partner in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 consecutive months, you can sponsor them as a common-law partner. This means you’ve combined your affairs and lived together in a marriage-like relationship. You must have lived together continuously for at least one year. In addition, you must provide proof of cohabitation through shared lease agreements, utility bills, and joint bank accounts. Temporary separations for business or family visits are acceptable if they are short and temporary.


3. Conjugal Partners

Conjugal partnerships apply to couples in a genuine relationship who cannot live together continuously due to barriers such as immigration issues or religious reasons. You must have maintained the relationship for at least one year. In addition, you have to provide evidence of commitment like long-distance communication, visits, and shared financial support. You must demonstrate barriers preventing cohabitation or marriage convincingly and include proof of an ongoing relationship despite not living together.


Steps to Sponsor Your Spouse for Canadian Immigration

Sponsoring your spouse or partner for Canadian immigration involves several straightforward yet crucial steps to ensure a smooth process:


1. Gather Necessary Forms and Documents

Start by downloading the required application forms from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. These typically include the Sponsorship Agreement, the Application to Sponsor, and the Generic Application Form for Canada. Alongside forms, gather essential supporting documents such as proof of relationship, identity documents, and financial information.


2. Complete the Application Package

Carefully fill out all forms, ensuring accuracy and completeness. Any errors or missing information could delay your application. Double-check that all sections are filled, signed where necessary, and include all required documents.


3. Pay the Fees

Be prepared to pay the necessary fees associated with sponsorship. These include a sponsorship fee, a processing fee, and a right of permanent residence fee. Payment can usually be made online, and it’s crucial to include proof of payment with your application to avoid delays.


4. Submit Your Application

Once your application package is complete, mail it to the designated IRCC office. Keep copies of all documents and forms submitted for your records.


5. Wait for Processing

Processing times vary, but you can monitor the status of your application online. During this period, IRCC may request additional documents or schedule an interview to verify information.


6. Avoid Common Mistakes

Ensure all forms are filled out accurately and completely. Missing documents or incorrect information can lead to delays or rejection of your application.


What Do You Need to Sponsor Your Spouse or Partner in Canada?

As a sponsor, you have specific responsibilities and obligations:

– Financial Responsibilities

You must demonstrate that you can support your spouse or partner financially for three years after they become a permanent resident. This includes providing for their basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing.

– Duration of the Undertaking

Your financial commitment lasts for three years from the day your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident, even if your relationship ends during this period.

– Legal Implications

Failing to meet sponsorship obligations can have serious consequences. These may include being required to repay any social assistance received by your spouse or partner during the sponsorship period and being barred from sponsoring others in the future.


Costs associated with sponsoring your spouse or partner?

Sponsoring your spouse or partner for Canadian immigration involves fees totaling nearly CAD 1300. These typically include a sponsorship fee, a processing fee, and a right of permanent residence fee.

– Sponsorship fee: CAD 85.

– Right of permanent residence fee: CAD 575 per person upon approval.

– Principal applicant processing fee: CAD 545

– Biometric Fee: CAD 85

These fees can vary and it’s important to check the latest updates from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for accurate information before submitting your application.


 After Sponsorship Approval

Once your sponsorship application is approved, your spouse or partner will enjoy several benefits:

– Rights and Responsibilities

They will have the right to live, work, and study in Canada permanently. They must also respect Canadian laws and fulfill any conditions of their permanent resident status.

– Pathway to Permanent Residency and Citizenship

After living in Canada for a specified period, your spouse or partner may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, provided they meet the residency and other requirements.

– Access to Services and Benefits

As permanent residents, they will have access to various Canadian services and benefits, including healthcare, education, and social services, helping them integrate into Canadian society.


Final Words

Sponsoring your spouse or partner for Canadian immigration is a big decision, but it can lead to an amazing life together in Canada. By getting to know the application process, meeting your obligations as a sponsor, and helping your loved one settle in, you can make this journey a success. Together, you can build a new chapter of your life in Canada.

In-Canada applicants are eligible for open work permit applications. That means that a sponsored person will need to be in Canada physically present to benefit from this application. Outside Canada, applicants are not eligible for work permit application.

It is possible and you can certainly give it a try. When applying from a non-visa-exempt country, you will need to provide additional evidence that you will leave Canada at the end of your temporary residency. In other words, you will need to satisfy all requirements of the visitor visa applications.

IRCC acknowledges that this type of application is very important for Canadians and therefore, it is prioritized. Applications from inside Canada can enjoy a pre-Covid processing time of approximately 12 months. Outside Canada applications will have to wait longer- approximately 18-24 months. You can find current processing times here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/check-processing-times.html

Fees are $1,080 and there is an $85 Biometrics fee. You can find fees involved in the process displayed here: https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/fees.asp#permanent. At any time, you can contact our office for an accurate quote.

In the immigration context, a common-law partnership means that a couple have lived together for at least one year in a conjugal relationship [R1(1)]. A common-law relationship exists from the day on which two individuals can provide evidence to support their cohabitation in a conjugal relationship. You would need to prove this relationship by submitting numerous evidences and explain why you didn’t get married till now.

Refund eligibility depends on the stage of application processing:

  • You will receive a full refund if IRCC does not begin processing.
  • IRCC will refund you all fees except C$75 if it starts processing your sponsor’s application.
  • IRCC will refund the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (C$490 per person) if it completes processing the sponsor’s application and starts processing the sponsor’s permanent residence application.
  • There will be no refund of application fees if your application is refused.

A temporary resident of Canada cannot become a sponsor. A spouse or common-law partner may apply for an open work permit if he is a full-time student at:

  • College, university, or CEGEP in Quebec that is public
  • Quebec-based private college
  • Private Canadian schools that are authorized to award degrees under provincial law (such as Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorates)
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