Spousal and Common-Law Partner Sponsorship

The objective of the Family Class of immigration is to reunite close family members in Canada. The Family Class allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their dependent children, parents and grandparents, spouse, common-law, or conjugal partners.

As such, the processing of Family Class applications is given the highest priority at Canadian Visa Offices.

The Spousal Sponsorship Category

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 Residency.

Spousal Sponsorship Requirements

To receive a visa through this immigration 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, and same-sex partners may be eligible to apply under any of the above three categories, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.

You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident,
  • living in Canada:
  • if you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.

Sponsors should be able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and will be able to support yourself and the members of your sponsorship.

After Sponsorship

Permanent Residency granted under the Spousal Sponsorship program comes with some conditions.

The sponsor is financially responsible for the person sponsored for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are banned from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving a Canadian Permanent Residency.

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 with their sponsor at the time of application submission. 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.

Sponsors residing abroad

Canadian citizen sponsors living outside Canada may sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child (provided that child does not have dependent children of their own). In such cases, an officer must be satisfied that the sponsor will return to reside in Canada once the family members they sponsor become permanent residents of Canada.

(Please noted a permanent resident residing abroad is not eligible to submit a family class sponsorship.)