Spousal Sponsorship is Special
These are some of our favourite applications. What's better than uniting and reuniting couples in Canada?
Spousal sponsorship is a unique application that connects partners including same-sex partners, arranged marriages, common-law partners and conjugal partners. This application has a very special place for us and so it also has a dedicated page where we have provided as much information as possible about this long and involved process.
Spousal sponsorship allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are in a relationship with a foreign national to sponsor that person to become a permanent resident of Canada so that they may be joined or rejoined with their spouse. You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner through either an inland or outland sponsorship process.
Spousal Sponsorship Applications are being prioritized at this time and while COVID-19 is causing disruptions to processing times, IRCC has continued to iterate that sponsorship applications remain a priority.
Each year, Canada seeks to welcome approximately 80,000 individuals through family sponsorship including Spouses, Partners, and Children categories.
I want to be with you. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
~ Charles Bukowski
You can be a sponsor if:
You are 18 years of age or older;
A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident living in Canada, or person registered under the Canadian Indian Act;
You live in Canada or are a Canadian citizen planning to return to the country;
You are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability;
You can provide for your basic needs, those of your spouse or partner and, if applicable, those of dependent children.
However, as a sponsor you must:
Be able to support your partner financially;
Make sure they will not require social assistance from the government.
Sponsorship of a spouse in Canada involves a commitment to provide financial support to the sponsored person, including any dependent children. As a sponsor, you will be required to sign an undertaking that promises to provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person.
These basic needs include:
Housing, including utility bills;
Food and personal hygiene products;
Clothing and other items necessary for daily living;
Medical expenses not covered by public health insurance, such as dental and eye care.
Your obligations as a sponsor begin the moment the undertaking begins. The length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
Once your sponsorship application is approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) you cannot cancel or withdraw an undertaking even if your personal or financial situation changes.
There is no specific income requirement to be able to sponsor your spouse or partner as a permanent resident of Canada. However, you must show that you have sufficient income or assets to support the spouse or partner once he or she arrives in Canada and you must not be receiving income support benefits from any province or be in bankruptcy proceedings. If you are receiving Employment Insurance benefits or disability benefits, you may still sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.
Types of Sponsorship
Sponsorship of a Same-Sex Partner or Spouse
Canada recognizes same-sex marriages and relationships, and your spouse or partner may be eligible to apply in one of the three categories above, provided both parties meet all the eligibility criteria. If you are married and the event took place outside of Canada, it must be legally recognized in the country where it took place. If it is not legally recognized then you may need to consider other options for sponsorship.
Sponsorship in an Arranged Marriage
Sometimes we are asked if we are able to successfully complete a sponsorship application involving an arranged marriage. Yes, we are! The modern arranged marriage is a remarkable process that brings couples, and families together into a genuine and loving
relationship. We highlight the bonafide aspects of the marriage and relationship to demonstrate the genuine nature of the relationship and marriage in order to obtain a positive decision.
If yours is a common-law relationship then the onus is on you to prove the relationship is genuine and at times the common-law relationship can be more difficult to evidence because the couple is not married.
To prove the duration and nature of your relationship, you will need to submit evidence that will satisfy the assessing officer of the genuine nature of the union as a common-law relationship. The first step is to gather documents and swear a statutory declaration of the common-law relationship. This is a form issued by IRCC that is completed by a notary or commissioner of oaths.
As per the IRCC definition, a conjugal relationship is one of some permanence when individuals are interdependent – financially, socially, emotionally and physically – when they share household and related responsibilities, and when they have made a serious commitment to one another. Conjugal does not mean “sexual relations” alone. It indicates that there is a significant degree of attachment between two partners.
The key to assessing the conjugal partnership category is that neither common-law partner status nor marriage is possible, usually because of marital status or sexual orientation, combined with an immigration barrier. It applies only to the family class and only to a foreign national abroad who is sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada. It does not apply to applicants in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class.
A foreign partner may be from a country where divorce is not possible or where same-sex marriage is not recognized. Such partners may not be able to obtain long-stay visas in order to live together and meet the cohabitation requirement for common-law partners. When the option of marriage is not available, such couples could be permanently separated. In all other respects, conjugal partner couples are similar to a common-law couple or a married couple.
The Applicant - Eligibility for Sponsorship
In order to be eligible to be sponsored you and your spouse or partner must be:
In a Common-law relationship in which you live or have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship;
A conjugal relationship where you have been in a continuous and committed relationship for a period of at least 12 months but have had significant obstacles that prevent you from residing with one another (such as cultural, religious or immigration barriers).
Sponsorship fees may vary. The current fees are:
Sponsor Fee $75.00 CAD
Principal applicant processing fee $475.00 CAD
Right of Permanent Residence Fee $500.00 CAD
Biometrics (fingerprints and photo) $85.00 CAD
Total $ 1135.00 CAD
If you are sponsoring your spouse or partner and they have dependent children, they will be required to pay $150 for each child that is included in the application.
If the sponsor resides in Quebec or intends to reside in Quebec when their permanent residence is issued, an additional fee of $289 CAD will also be required.
Submitting a Sponsorship Application
Where do I submit my spousal sponsorship application?
In general, applications to sponsor a spouse or partner can be submitted either outside Canada at a visa office abroad or in Canada at a local immigration office. Sponsorship applications for conjugal partners may only be submitted through the outside of Canada application process.
How long do sponsorship applications usually take?
The standard spousal application processing time is 12 months but this can vary wildly. We generally expect anywhere from 4 months to 1.5 years.
Interviews are requested when an officer does not believe that the sponsorship application is genuine. If they are questioning the credibility of the relationship they will interview the couple in order to ascertain the true nature of the relationship.
Has your application been returned or refused? We have remedies for refusal. Book a consultation to have your case assessed.
Some Reasons for Refusal
Returns and refusals are not uncommon but they may be avoided with careful preparation. The most common reason for an application to be returned is that it was incomplete. Reasons for refusal may include one of the following:
1. Incorrect Forms
You have either provided the incorrect version of the form or the incorrect form. Always double-check your forms prior to submitting your application.
2. Lack of Documentary evidence of your relationship
You have not provided sufficient evidence to support the genuine nature of your relationship. You must demonstrate the genuine nature of your union by providing supporting documents. If you have not provided the minimum required documents then your application will be returned to you.
3. You are not eligible to be a sponsor
You must meet the eligibility requirements for a sponsor.
You can’t sponsor your spouse, partner or child if:
you’re less than 18 years old
you won’t live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents
you’re not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
you’re a temporary resident, that is you’re visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit
your permanent residence application is still in process
You must have permanent resident status at the time you submit your sponsorship application.
you don’t have enough money to support the persons you want to sponsor (if applicable)
You may not be eligible to sponsor your spouse, partner if you:
were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
are still financially responsible for a previous spouse or partner that you sponsored. This means you’re still bound by the 3 year undertaking to take care of this person.
You may not be eligible to sponsor your spouse, partner or child if you:
you have already applied to sponsor the spouse, parent or child you are currently seeking to sponsor and a decision on that application hasn’t been made
are in jail, prison, or a penitentiary
didn’t pay back:
an immigration loan
a performance bond
court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support (except Quebec)
didn’t give the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor someone else in the past (except Quebec)
declared bankruptcy and are not discharged (except Quebec)
receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
you were convicted of attempting, threatening to commit or committing a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada
can’t legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because you received a Removal Order
4. You are unable to support your sponsored spouse.
There is no minimum amount of funds required for a spousal sponsorship but you must demonstrate that you can support your spouse once they join you in Canada. This is usually done by providing a recent Notice of Assessment or evidence of savings.
5. You are not living in Canada
If you are a citizen you must have a plan to land in Canada when your partner arrives to complete their permanent residency process. If you are a permanent resident then you must be in Canada for the duration of your application processing. If can not meet these requirements then you may not sponsor your partner.
Book an Immigration Consultation
Book a professional consultation with Annie (Anne C. McCaughey) to get started with a customized immigration plan. Annie is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant who will be able to provide advice and a plan for moving ahead with your immigration goals. A consultation is 30 minutes via call or video call, followed by a detailed email with further information to help you on your journey.