How to Sponsor Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada

How to Sponsor Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada

Sponsoring a spouse in Canada refers to the process where a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can apply to bring their spouse or common-law partner to live with them in Canada.

The sponsor spouse Canada assumes responsibility for the sponsored person’s well-being and financial needs for a specified period.

Who can sponsor their spouse?

Individuals who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor their spouse, conjugal partner or common-law partner. To be eligible as a sponsor, you must meet certain criteria, including:

  1. Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residency: You must be a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident living in Canada.
  3. Financial Ability: You must demonstrate that you can meet the basic needs of the person you are sponsoring, and you must be willing to financially support your spouse or partner for a specified period.
  4. No Criminal Record: You should not have been convicted of certain criminal offenses.
  5. Not in Default of Previous Sponsorship Undertakings: If you have previously sponsored someone to Canada, you must not be in default of any obligations under the previous sponsorship.

There are two main types of spouse sponsorship programs:

  1. Inland Sponsorship:
    • This type of sponsorship is for couples where both the sponsor and the sponsored spouse are in Canada.
    • The sponsored spouse may be eligible for an open work permit while the application is being processed.
  2. Outland Sponsorship:
    • In this case, the sponsored spouse is outside of Canada when the sponsorship application is submitted.
    • The processing of outland applications usually takes place at a visa office outside of Canada.

Both inland and outland sponsorships follow similar eligibility criteria, but the choice between the two depends on the specific circumstances of the individuals involved.

The inland sponsorship is often preferred for couples already in Canada, while outland sponsorship is suitable when the sponsored spouse is outside the country.

The choice may also be influenced by factors such as processing times and the ability of the sponsored spouse to travel to Canada during the application process

Explaining Terms of Relationships

These terms refer to different types of relationships that can be recognized for family reunification:

  1. Spouse: A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married. In the context of Canadian immigration, this includes both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages that are legally recognized.
  2. Common-Law Partner: A common-law partner is an individual with whom you have been living in a conjugal relationship for at least one year continuously. This applies to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The one-year requirement is to demonstrate a level of commitment and cohabitation similar to marriage.
  3. Conjugal Partner: A conjugal partner is a person outside of Canada with whom you have been in a genuine and continuing relationship of a conjugal nature for a significant period. This category is intended for couples who, for various reasons, are unable to live together or marry but can provide evidence of a committed and genuine relationship.

When sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner for immigration to Canada, the sponsor must meet specific eligibility criteria, and the relationship must be genuine and recognized under Canadian immigration laws.

How to apply Spousal Sponsorship Canada?

1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure that you (the sponsor) and your spouse or partner (the sponsored person) meet the eligibility criteria.

2. Gather Documents: Collect all required documents, which may include proof of identity, relationship documents, and supporting evidence of the genuineness of the relationship.

3. Complete the Application: Fill out the appropriate application forms. The specific forms depend on whether you are applying for inland or outland sponsorship.

4. Pay Fees: Pay the required sponsorship and processing fees. Fees may vary, so check the most recent fee schedule on the IRCC website.

5. Submit the Application: Submit the completed application package to the appropriate address. This may involve mailing the documents to a specific immigration office.

6. Wait for Processing: Wait for the application to be processed. Processing times can vary, and you can check the current processing times on the IRCC website.

7. Additional Steps for Inland Sponsorship: If applying for inland sponsorship, the sponsored spouse may be eligible for an open work permit while the application is being processed.

8. Attend Interviews and Provide Biometrics: If required, attend any interviews scheduled by IRCC. Both the sponsor and the sponsored person may need to provide biometrics.

9. Receive Decision: Once the application is processed, you will receive a decision. If approved, the sponsored person can then proceed with the immigration process.

Undertaking as Sponsor

As a sponsor, when you sign an undertaking, you commit to financially supporting your spouse or partner and their dependent children. This support covers everyday needs like food, clothing, shelter, and certain health expenses not covered by public services.

Before signing, ensure your sponsored individuals won’t need government financial assistance. If they receive social assistance, you’ll need to repay it during your responsibility period.

Until the amount is repaid, you can’t sponsor anyone else. The undertaking is a binding promise, meaning you must support them throughout the commitment period, regardless of any personal changes or challenges.

Length of undertaking

Once you decide to support someone’s immigration to Canada (sponsor spouse canada), your responsibilities as a sponsor begin. If you change your mind after applying, you must send a letter before a decision is made. You can only cancel your support if the authorities approve it.

The length of time you are responsible for the person you sponsored varies in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada.

If you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner, your commitment lasts for 3 years from the day they become a permanent resident.

For a dependent child over 22, the commitment is 3 years from the day they become a permanent resident.

If the child is under 22, the commitment is 10 years or until they turn 25, whichever comes first.

How long does the process of spouse sponsorship take?

The processing time for sponsorship applications is approximately 12 months from filling to completion. While cases are generally not expedited significantly faster than this timeframe, the duration may extend beyond 12 months based on the specifics of your case.

How much fees cost to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to Canada?

Here are the fees for sponsoring your spouse, partner, or common-law partner in Canada:

  1. Sponsorship fee: $75
  2. Principal applicant processing fee: $490
  3. Right of permanent residence fee: $515
  4. Biometrics fee: $85

Total: $1165

If you’re sponsor spouse canada with dependent children, you’ll need to add $150 for each child in the application.

If you or the sponsored person will be in Quebec, an extra fee of $310 CAD is required, in addition to the fees mentioned above.

What documents do I need for Spouce Sponsorship?

The specific documents may vary based on the country and immigration program, but generally, you may need the following for spouse sponsorship in Canada:

  1. Sponsorship Forms:
    • Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (form IMM 1344)
    • Sponsorship Evaluation (form IMM 5481)
  2. Proof of Relationship:
    • Marriage certificate (if legally married)
    • Other evidence of a genuine relationship, such as photos, letters, etc.
  3. Identity and Civil Status Documents:
    • Passport
    • Birth certificates for both sponsor and sponsored spouse
  4. Proof of Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residence:
    • Citizenship certificate or Permanent Resident card
  5. Financial Documents:
    • Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for the past year
    • Proof of employment and income (pay stubs, employment letter, etc.)
    • Bank statements
  6. Additional Documents for Sponsored Spouse:
    • Passport
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  7. Police Certificates:
    • Police certificates from all countries where the sponsor and sponsored spouse have lived for more than six months since the age of 18
  8. Medical Examination Results:
    • Completed medical examinations from a designated panel physician
  9. Language Proficiency (if applicable):
    • Results of language tests, such as IELTS, if required
  10. Other Supporting Documents:
    • Any other documents requested by the immigration authorities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a job to sponsor my spouse, or common-law partner?

You don’t need a job to sponsor your spouse, partner, or common-law partner to come to Canada. While there’s no minimum income requirement, you must sign an undertaking agreement to fulfill their basic financial needs. The immigration officer may assess your ability to sponsor based on your financial proof. Be sure to provide evidence of how you’ll support your partner in Canada.

How much money do you need to sponsor your spouse to come to Canada?

There is no specific minimum income requirement to sponsor your spouse to come to Canada. However, you must sign an undertaking agreement to fulfill their basic financial needs, and the immigration officer may assess your ability to sponsor based on your financial proof.

Does my spouse, or common-law partner need to demonstrate English or French language proficiency?

No, language proficiency is not required for spousal sponsorship in Canada.

How much is the spousal sponsorship fee?

The spousal sponsorship fee in Canada is $75 and the principal applicant processing fee is $490.

Can I leave Canada while my spousal sponsorship application is processing?

Yes, you can leave Canada while your spousal sponsorship application is processing. However, it’s important to maintain legal status. Ensure you have the necessary travel documents and keep communication lines open with the immigration office handling your application.

Can my spouse, or common-law partner include their family members on our spousal sponsorship application?

Yes, your spouse or common-law partner can include their dependent family members on your spousal sponsorship application. Dependent family members may include their children. When submitting the application, ensure that all required documents and information for the sponsored family members are provided.

Is an interview required for spousal sponsorship?

An interview is not always required for spousal sponsorship in Canada, but it may be requested at the discretion of immigration officers to assess the genuineness of the relationship or clarify aspects of the application.

Can I sponsor my common-law partner if we are not currently living together?

Yes, you can sponsor your common-law partner even if you’re not currently living together. Provide evidence of your relationship’s genuineness, such as shared finances and communication records.

How long does it take for spousal sponsorship?

Spousal sponsorship processing times in Canada vary, but it typically takes around 12 months.

What are the common mistakes for spousal sponsorship?

Common spousal sponsorship mistakes include incomplete documentation, insufficient proof of relationship, financial eligibility issues, failure to disclose previous relationships, misrepresentation, ignoring changes in circumstances, missing deadlines, and not seeking professional advice.


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