The Canadian government allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are in a relationship with a foreign national to sponsor that person to join them and become a permanent resident of Canada. You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. You have two main options to choose from when sponsoring: Outland and Inland sponsorship.
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:
Your obligations as a sponsor begin the moment the undertaking is in effect. The length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident.
You cannot cancel or withdraw an undertaking, even if your personal or financial situation changes, once the sponsorship application has been approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
There is no specific income requirement to be able to sponsor your spouse or partner to Canada.
However, financial requirements for spousal sponsorship include the following:
If you are receiving Employment Insurance benefits or disability benefits, you may still sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.
To receive a visa under this immigration program, you and your foreign spouse or partner will have to prove that you are in an authentic relationship that qualifies under one of the three categories:
Both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and the foreign national must be approved IRCC before the sponsored person can receive a visa.
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.
To prove the duration and nature of your relationship, you will need to submit documents such as:
If there is any indication that your relationship is not genuine, the sponsorship application will not be accepted.
Before you begin the application process, make sure that you and your loved one meet all the eligibility criteria.
The application process will require you to submit the following two applications at the same time:
Applying to sponsor a spouse is a four-step process:
Step 1. Obtain the application package found on the government website; it contains a guide with instructions and forms that will help you complete the process correctly.
Step 2. Pay the online application fee, which includes the followingApplying to sponsor a spouse is a four-step process.
Step 3. Submit your application by following the submission instructions provided in the guide you downloaded.
Step 4. Submit the required supporting documents when prompted.
Couples have two options to choose from when submitting their application:
In general, applications to sponsor a foreign spouse or partner are submitted when the sponsored person lives abroad and the Canadian sponsor resides in Canada.
The foreign spouse or partner may be allowed to enter and leave Canada throughout the application process, provided they are from a visa-free country or obtain the appropriate Canadian visa. For his or her part, the Canadian spouse or partner will have to remain in Canada while the application is being processed.
Applications from outside Canada are processed by the visa office serving the applicant's country of origin or in which the applicant has been legally residing for at least one year.
To submit a sponsorship application in this category, both spouses need to live together in Canada and the foreign spouse or partner must have temporary status in Canada as a worker, student or visitor.
The sponsor and the applicant spouse are required to live together in Canada for the duration of the processing of the application. This type of sponsorship application is filed in Canada.
Foreign spouses who are in Canada and have legal temporary status may apply for an Open Work Permit (OWP) while their Inland sponsorship application is being processed, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer. This measure is intended to alleviate potential financial hardship caused by potentially lengthy application processing times.
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 can only be submitted through an outside of Canada application process.