Sponsor your spouse, partner or children

The Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category. Under this program, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor a spouse or common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence.

Both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (the ‘sponsor’) and the foreign national (the ‘sponsored person’) makes a joint application and must be approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a permanent resident visa.

In order to receive a permanent resident visa through this program, the sponsor and sponsored person must prove that their relationship qualifies under one of three categories:
  • Spouse
  • Common-law Partner
  • Conjugal Partner

NOTE: Canada recognizes same-sex marriage. Thus same-sex partners may be eligible to apply under any of the above three categories, provided they meet all eligibility criteria.

Outside Canada Sponsorship

An outside Canada application is generally pursued when the sponsored partner is living outside of Canada. However, outside applicants may still be in Canada and apply through the outside Canada program, and may be permitted to travel in and out of Canada throughout their application process. Outside Canada applications are processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin, or the country where they reside legally for at least one year.

In Canada Class Sponsorship

The in Canada Class sponsorship is when the couple is together in Canada and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. The downside to the in Canada Class application is that they take longer to process. However, the person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit while the sponsorship application is being processed, allowing him or her to work for any employer in Canada while the application is being processed.

After Sponsorship

Permanent residence granted under the Spousal Sponsorship program has certain conditions that must be met:
  • The sponsor is financially responsible for the sponsored person for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
  • Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are themselves barred from sponsoring a spouse for five years after they receive permanent residence in Canada.
  • A two-year “legitimate relationship” regulation applies to spouses/partners who have been in a relationship for two years or less and who have no children in common at the time of submission of their application. Once in Canada, the sponsored person must live with their spouse/partner in a “legitimate relationship” for two years or face the possibility of having their permanent residency revoked. Exceptions will be made for sponsored spouses or partners who are suffering from abuse or neglect.

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