Spousal Sponsorship

December 22, 2020


Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouse who is a foreign national to come to Canada and become a permanent resident of Canada. 

Criteria for becoming an eligible sponsor-

  • You can sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child if:
    • You’re at least 18 years old
    • You’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
    • If you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside Canada.
    • You’re able to prove that you’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
    • you can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor

Who can be sponsored?

  • The Canadian government allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.
    • Spouse:
      • Can be either sex
      • Legally married to you
      • At least 18 years of age
    • Common-law partner
      • isn’t legally married to you
      • can be either sex
      • is at least 18 years of age
      • has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months, meaning you’ve been living together continuously for 1 year in a conjugal relationship, without any long periods apart
        • Any time spent away from each other should have been
          • Short, temporary
    • Conjugal partner
      • isn’t legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you
      • can be either sex
      • is at least 18 years old
      • has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year
      • lives outside Canada
      • can’t live with you in their country of residence or marry you because of significant legal and immigration reasons such as
        • their marital status (for example, they’re still married to someone else in a country where divorce isn’t possible)
        • their sexual orientation (for example, you are in a same-sex relationship, and same-sex relationships are not accepted, or same-sex marriage is illegal where they live),
        • persecution (for example, your relationship is between different religious groups which is not accepted, and they may be punished legally or socially)

Options candidates have for sponsorship

There are two options available for spousal sponsorship:

Outland Sponsorship 

An outland sponsorship application is processed when the foreign national (sponsored person) does not live in Canada. Applications from outside Canada are handled by the visa office serving the foreign national’s country of birth or in which the candidate has been lawfully living for at least one year. Outland applicants may be permitted to travel in and out of Canada while their application is being processed. 

Inland sponsorship

Inland sponsorships are when both the sponsor, and the foreign national (sponsored person) reside in Canada. The foreign worker may be a temporary resident such as a student, worker, or visitor. 

How to apply:

  1. Get the application package 
    1. Document checklist, and forms
  2. Pay the application fees 
    1. Processing fees, right of permanent residence fees (ROPR), and biometrics
  3. Submit your application
    1. Applicants may be asked to provide additional information during processing of their application

Impact of COVID-19 on spousal sponsorship

(IRCC) proceeds to acknowledge and process spousal sponsorship applications through the Covid-19 pandemic and states that spousal sponsorships are a priority. 

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