What is Spousal Sponsorship?

If you are an eligible sponsor, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada. Specifically, this stream requires the sponsor and the spouse or common-law partner to be living together in Canada.

Who can be a sponsor?

You must meet the following requirements to be eligible to sponsor a member of the Family Class, a Spouse, Common-Law or Conjugal Partner:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • File an application to sponsor a member of the Family Class or the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class
  • Sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the sponsored person(s) (the duration of the undertaking depends on who you are sponsoring)
  • Sign an agreement with the sponsored person
  • Reside in Canada (there is an exception to this rule)
  • Not be subject to any sponsorship bars

Is my spouse eligible?

For your spouse to be eligible to be sponsored by you, they must:

  • Be legally married to you
  • Be at least 18 years old

Is my common-law eligible?

For your common-law partner to be eligible to be sponsored by you, they must:

  • Not be legally married to you
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months in a ‘marriage-like’ relationship

Is my conjugal partner eligible?

For your conjugal partner to be eligible to be sponsored by you, they must:

  • Not be legally married to you
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have been in a relationship with you for at least one year
  • Not be able to live with you in their country of residence or marry you because of significant legal and immigration reasons such as:
    • They are still married to someone else in a country where divorce isn’t possible
    • You are in a same-sex relationship, and same-sex relationships are not accepted, or same-sex marriage is illegal where they live
    • Your relationship is between different religious groups which is not accepted and they may be punished legally or socially

You’ll need to give proof that you could not live together or get married in your conjugal partner’s country (for example, proof of refused long-term stays in each other’s country).

Is my dependent child eligible?

For dependent children to be eligible to be sponsored by you, they must:

  • Be under 22 years old (this can be waived under specific circumstances)
  • Not have a spouse or common-law partner

Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:

  • They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
  • They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22

What is the process?

Sponsoring a member of the Family Class is a two-stage process which is considered an ‘outside Canada class’ where the application is processed outside of Canada.

Stage 1: Sponsorship Application

This process is initiated by the sponsor and involves an assessment of their eligibility to sponsor under the Family Class

Stage 2: Permanent Residence Application

This process is initiated by the relative seeking to become a permanent resident. The relative must qualify as a member of the Family Class in addition to meeting other regulatory requirements in order to qualify for permanent residence

The permanent residence application and approval is separate from, but related to, the sponsorship application. Both of these applications are sent together to be processed and both must be approved before the relative can obtain permanent residency

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