Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

A Comprehensive Guide To Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

Understanding Spousal Sponsorship in Canada: Canada has a reputation for being one of the most welcoming and diverse countries in the world, and as a result, it attracts immigrants from all over the globe. Spousal sponsorship is one of the ways that individuals can become Canadian permanent residents. It allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their foreign spouse or common-law partner to immigrate to Canada.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to spousal sponsorship, including eligibility criteria, the differences between inland and overseas sponsorship, recent changes in the spousal sponsorship application process, and essential factors to consider when preparing a sponsorship application.

Sponsoring a Spouse for Permanent Residency in Canada

Essential Requirements

To be eligible for spousal sponsorship, both the sponsor and the applicant must meet specific requirements set by the Canadian government. The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and must demonstrate that they can financially support their spouse or common-law partner when they arrive in Canada. The sponsor must also sign an undertaking, which is a legal agreement that states they will provide for their spouse or partner’s basic needs for a certain period, typically three years.

Canadian citizens who reside outside of Canada and wish to sponsor their spouse for permanent residency in Canada must demonstrate that they have the intention to live in Canada once their spouse becomes a permanent resident. This requirement reflects the Canadian government’s goal of ensuring that sponsors are committed to living in Canada and supporting their spouses as they transition to life in a new country. Sponsors may be required to provide evidence of their plans to reside in Canada, such as proof of employment or housing arrangements, in order to satisfy this eligibility requirement.

The applicant must prove that their relationship with the sponsor is genuine and not solely for immigration purposes. They must also undergo background and security checks, provide proof of their identity, and meet all other requirements for immigration to Canada. The relationship must meet the definition of a spousal relationship, which includes being legally married, living in a common-law partnership, or being in a conjugal relationship. Same-sex couples are also eligible to apply for spousal sponsorship.

Inland versus Overseas Spousal Sponsorship

Inland and overseas spousal sponsorships are two options available for those seeking to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency in Canada. The primary difference between these two processes is the location of the sponsored partner at the time of the sponsorship application.

In an inland sponsorship, the sponsored partner is already in Canada on a temporary basis, and the sponsoring partner applies to sponsor them for permanent residency while they are still in the country. On the other hand, in an overseas sponsorship, the sponsored partner is outside Canada, and the sponsoring partner applies to sponsor them for permanent residency while they are still outside the country.

Both inland and overseas sponsorships come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. With inland sponsorship, the sponsored partner can stay in Canada throughout the application process, which can take up to a year or more. However, it is important to note that the sponsored partner must have legal status in Canada at the time of the application and must remain in the country throughout the process.

In contrast, overseas sponsorships may have shorter processing times, but the sponsored partner must obtain a temporary resident visa to enter Canada while the application is being processed. This process can be complicated and time-consuming, causing stress and delays for the sponsored partner and sponsoring partner.

The choice between inland and overseas sponsorship ultimately depends on individual circumstances, such as the immigration status of the sponsored partner and the length of processing times. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant to determine the best option for the specific situation.

Impact of Recent Changes to Spousal Sponsorship Application on Sponsors of Spouses for Permanent Residency in Canada

If you are planning to apply for spousal sponsorship in Canada, it’s important to be aware of the recent changes to the application process. Here are some key points that you should know:

The government has introduced new measures to speed up the processing times for spousal sponsorship applications. This means that, in many cases, you can expect to receive a decision on your application within 12 months.

The government has made some changes to the eligibility requirements for spousal sponsorship. For example, you may now be eligible to apply even if you are in a common-law relationship and have not lived with your partner for the required period of time.

The government has introduced new application forms for spousal sponsorship. It’s important to use the correct forms when submitting your application, as using outdated forms can cause delays or even result in your application being rejected.

In some cases, the government may require additional documentation to support your spousal sponsorship application. For example, if you have been married before, you may need to provide a divorce certificate or proof of annulment.

The government has also increased its focus on fraud prevention in the spousal sponsorship program. This means that you may be subject to additional scrutiny during the application process, and you may be asked to provide additional documentation or attend an interview.

Overall, it’s essential to be aware of these changes and to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements and provide all of the necessary documentation when applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer or consultant can also be helpful in navigating the application process and ensuring a successful outcome.

Factors to Consider when Preparing an Application as a Sponsor

Six Key Factors

When considering spousal sponsorship for permanent residency in Canada, there are several key factors that sponsors should take into account in order to prepare a successful application. These factors can be broadly grouped into six categories:

Firstly, sponsors must ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements for sponsoring their spouse. This includes being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, being at least 18 years old, and being able to demonstrate that they can financially support their spouse. Sponsors should also be aware of any changes to the eligibility requirements, such as the recent changes allowing common-law partners to apply for spousal sponsorship even if they have not lived together for the required period of time.

Secondly, sponsors must provide comprehensive documentation of their relationship with their spouse. This includes evidence of ongoing communication, such as emails and letters, as well as photographs and other documentation that demonstrates the authenticity of the relationship. Sponsors should also be prepared to provide details of any previous marriages or relationships.

Thirdly, sponsors must provide evidence of their financial status, including income, assets, and liabilities, in order to demonstrate that they are able to support their spouse financially for at least three years after they become permanent residents. This may include documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements.

Fourthly, the sponsored spouse must undergo a medical examination to ensure that they are admissible to Canada. A designated medical practitioner will conduct this examination and will include tests for communicable diseases and other health issues.

Fifthly, the sponsored spouse must undergo a criminal record check to ensure that they do not have a criminal history that would make them inadmissible to Canada. This includes both a Canadian criminal record check and a check of records in the country where the sponsored spouse currently resides or has resided.

Finally, sponsors should be aware of the processing times for spousal sponsorship applications, which can vary depending on the type of application and the workload of the immigration authorities. It is important to check the current processing times and plan accordingly.

Obligations of Sponsor and Applicant in the Sponsorship Process

When submitting sponsorship applications, sponsors must adhere to a set of requirements to ensure their eligibility for sponsorship.

  • The first requirement is that sponsors must ensure they meet the criteria and eligibility requirements for sponsorship, specifically for a relative who is a member of the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class.

  • Once eligibility is confirmed, sponsors must complete the undertaking and sponsorship agreement. Additionally, they must respond to the self-declaration schedules related to sponsorship eligibility and their relationship with the sponsored person(s), including the duration of their relationship.

  • Furthermore, sponsors are required to include a bank or HPM receipt for payment of all applicable fees. It is also essential for sponsors to state whether the application should be discontinued if sponsorship requirements are not met.

  • Finally, the sponsors must submit correctly completed and signed sponsorship and permanent residence application forms, along with all required schedules and supporting documents, to the CPC-V for processing.

By adhering to these requirements, sponsors can ensure their eligibility and increase the chances of a successful sponsorship application.

Assessing Eligible Relationship Types

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria for the chosen relationship type below, applicants must provide documentary evidence of their relationship to establish its authenticity. This can include documents such as a mortgage, lease, and other documents showing the same address for both partners, as well as documents from other institutions or government authorities indicating a marital or common-law relationship.


The first eligible relationship type is a spouse, defined as a person who is legally married to the sponsor. Documentary evidence for this type of relationship includes a marriage certificate and proof of divorce if either the applicant or spouse was previously married. Additional evidence of the relationship can include wedding invitations, photos, and documents indicating joint ownership of property or joint bank accounts.


  • Marriage certificate
  • Proof of divorce, if applicable
  • Evidence of shared residence, such as mortgage or lease
  • Wedding invitations and photos
  • Documents from other institutions or government authorities indicating a marital relationship

Common-law partner

Another eligible relationship type is a common-law partner, defined as a person who has cohabited with their partner in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Documentary evidence for this type of relationship includes a statutory declaration of common-law relationship, proof of separation from a former spouse if applicable, and evidence of living together for at least one year, such as documents showing the same address for both partners. Additional evidence of the relationship can include documents indicating joint ownership of property, joint bank accounts, and insurance policies.


  • Statutory declaration of common-law relationship
  • Proof of separation from a former spouse, if applicable
  • Evidence of shared residence for at least one year
  • Documents from other institutions or government authorities indicating a common-law relationship
  • Documents indicating joint ownership of property
  • Joint bank accounts
  • Insurance policies


Cohabitation refers to a situation where a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (the sponsor) and their foreign national partner (the applicant) have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 consecutive months.

This means that the couple has been in a committed and exclusive relationship and has been sharing a home and household expenses for a minimum of one year. The purpose of the cohabitation requirement is to demonstrate that the relationship between the sponsor and the applicant is genuine and not solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration status in Canada. Proof of cohabitation can include joint leases or rental agreements, shared bills or bank accounts, and correspondence addressed to both individuals at the same address, among other things.


  • Eligibility criteria include cohabitation with a sponsor in Canada
  • Proof of relationship must establish shared residence with the sponsor
  • Additional documents or interviews may be requested if necessary
  • Those not cohabiting with the sponsor at the time of permanent residence application are not eligible for Spouse or Common-law Partner class and must apply for Family class overseas.

How To apply for spousal sponsorship in Canada

the following steps must be taken:

The first step as a sponsor is to complete the necessary forms in the application package.

The sponsored individual must sign in or register an account on the Permanent Residence Online Application Portal and follow the steps outlined in the online application.

Payment of processing fees is required for the application to be processed by the Canadian Government.

The Canadian Government may request additional information from the sponsoring person during processing.

The final step is to submit the complete application online. Failure to submit a complete application will result in denial, and any errors must be corrected before resubmitting it.

Reasons Why You May Not Be Eligible To Sponsor

After obtaining permanent residence in Canada, individuals may consider sponsoring their eligible family members for permanent residency. However, certain circumstances exist where a person may not be eligible to sponsor or may be denied sponsorship.

  • One reason for ineligibility could be a lack of financial resources to support the sponsored person. The Canadian government requires the sponsor to meet certain income requirements, and failing to meet those requirements may result in a denial of sponsorship. Additionally, if the sponsor has previously sponsored someone who has received government financial assistance, they may not be eligible to sponsor again.
  • Another reason for ineligibility could be a criminal record. If the sponsor has a criminal record, they may not be able to sponsor someone for permanent residence in Canada. This is because Canada has strict rules regarding admissibility, and individuals with a criminal record may not meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Furthermore, if the sponsor has previously failed to fulfill their sponsorship obligations, they may be barred from sponsoring in the future. For example, if a sponsor has failed to provide financial support to their sponsored family member or has failed to ensure that the sponsored person remains in Canada, they may not be able to sponsor again.

Overall, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements for sponsorship and to ensure that all obligations have been fulfilled in previous sponsorships to avoid being denied.

Conjugal Partner Sponsorship

For individuals who are in a marriage-like relationship but are not married and cannot live together due to circumstances beyond their control. To be eligible for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship, the relationship must have lasted for at least one year prior to the submission of the sponsorship application.

This category is meant for individuals who do not qualify under the Spousal Sponsorship program or cannot meet the requirements for a Common-Law Partnership. A Conjugal Partner is someone with whom you have a sexual or physical partnership, but several other factors can qualify a relationship as conjugal.

The IRCC considers Conjugal Partner Sponsorship as an exceptional category that applies only in special cases. This means that if an individual and their partner could have qualified as a Common-Law Union, they would not be considered for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship.

To assess Conjugal Relationships, the Supreme Court considers several factors, such as:

  • mutual commitment,
  • sexual behaviour,
  • emotional support,
  • financial support,
  • child-rearing responsibilities.

It is also important to note that a conjugal partnership is not represented by a legal document. The passage of one year of the relationship and the inability to live together due to circumstances beyond your control are the main criteria for qualifying under this category. If you and your partner are living away from each other by choice, you may not be able to apply for conjugal partner sponsorship.

How to prove the authenticity of your relationship

If you and your common-law partner need to prove that you have been together for 12 months, there are several items you can use as evidence. These include:

  • Shared ownership of residential property
  • Joint leases or rental agreements
  • Bills for shared utility accounts, such as gas, electricity, or telephone
  • Joint utility accounts
  • Important documents for both of you showing the same address, such as driver’s licenses, insurance policies, or identification documents.

Remember that you don’t need to provide all of these items to prove your relationship is genuine. The immigration authorities may also consider other types of proof. Check the document checklist provided to you to find out what you need to submit with your application.

Please note that certain types of documents cannot be returned to you, such as photos, telephone bills, or letters. Therefore, you should only send certified photocopies of documents like marriage certificates and passports unless your checklist or country-specific requirements ask you to submit originals.

Fiancé Visa in Canada

A Fiancé Visa in Canada is a common option for couples who are engaged and want to live together in Canada. However, it’s important to note that merely being in a fiancé relationship does not automatically qualify for sponsorship under Canadian immigration law.

Fortunately, many couples who are in such relationships may already be eligible for Canadian immigration under another category, such as common-law partner sponsorship. This means that couples who have lived together for at least one year or more in a conjugal relationship and meet other requirements can apply for sponsorship as common-law partners.

For couples who are intended, engaged, betrothed, or affianced to be married but do not meet the criteria of common-law partnership sponsorship, they may need to wait until they are officially married to be eligible for Canadian spousal sponsorship. This involves applying for permanent residency after the wedding and meeting other requirements to be granted the sponsorship.

It’s important to note that Canadian immigration law is complex, and eligibility requirements vary depending on individual circumstances. Seeking the advice of a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant can help couples navigate the process and ensure they meet all the necessary criteria for a successful sponsorship.

Spousal Sponsorship FAQs

When sponsoring a spouse for permanent residency, sponsors are required to commit to an undertaking. This agreement makes the sponsor financially responsible for the individual they are sponsoring, including providing them with basic necessities of life and access to healthcare not provided publicly. A previous undertaking refers to a commitment that the sponsor was previously a part of, while a current undertaking refers to the commitment that the sponsor is currently a part of. The undertaking is in effect once the principal applicant obtains permanent residency and is a three-year agreement that remains in effect regardless of any change in circumstance.

It is important to note that previous undertakings can affect a sponsor’s ability to sponsor their current spouse. However, if the sponsor complies with the requirements of the undertaking and completes it, a previous undertaking will not prevent them from becoming involved in a new undertaking. Therefore, it is important for sponsors to fulfill their obligations under the undertaking to avoid any negative consequences for themselves and their spouses.

To be eligible to sponsor your spouse to come to Canada, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a Registered Indian in Canada
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Currently reside in Canada
  • Have enough funds to provide basic necessities for your spouse and their dependent children while they are in Canada.

If you’re a Canadian citizen, you can sponsor your spouse from outside Canada. However, if you’re not a Canadian citizen and you’re living outside of Canada, you can’t sponsor your spouse. If you’re a Canadian citizen and you want to sponsor your spouse from outside of Canada, you must come back to reside in Canada once your spouse becomes a permanent resident.

Unfortunately, no. Anyone residing in Canada, including visitors, permanent residents, or Canadian citizens, can be accused of misrepresentation. A permanent resident or Canadian citizen may be issued a removal order and deported from Canada if found guilty of misrepresentation. They may also lose their status in Canada. The ultimate consequence for such individuals would be a minimum five-year ban from entering Canada.

Due to the high volume of immigration applications received by Immigration Canada every day, processing times can be lengthy, and it may take some time for immigration officers to make a final decision. However, there is no specific time frame for analyzing the information or documentation provided in an immigration application once it has been submitted. Therefore, it is crucial to provide complete and accurate information at the time of submission.

We can Help You With your Spousal Sponsorship Application!

We can help icon

If you’re feeling confused or unsure about Spousal Sponsorship, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of immigration professionals who can address any questions or concerns you may have. Applying for immigration can be a complicated and overwhelming process, especially if you’re not familiar with the legal requirements.

At Akrami & Associates, we have extensive experience dealing with various immigration issues, including Spousal Sponsorship. Our team of professionals can provide the necessary support and guidance to help you navigate the application process successfully.

We highly recommend seeking professional and experienced help to avoid any mistakes or delays in your application. By contacting Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545, you can learn more about our services and book a consultation with one of our immigration professionals.

Remember, with Akrami & Associates; there is always a way! Let us help you with your immigration needs and ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Consultation icon

Book a Consultation

One of our Representatives will
assist you with your matter. Book Now!
Book a Consultation

Call us icon

Call us for
more Information

Online form icon

Write Us (Online Form)

Complete our form and one of our
Representatives will contact you.
Immigration inquiries

Consultation icon

Book a Conslutation

One of our Representatives will
assist you with your matter. Book Now!
Book a Consultation

Call us icon

Call us for
more Information

Write Us (Online Form)

Complete our form and one of our
Representatives will contact you.
Immigration inquiries

Akrami & Associates logo element

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Akrami & Associates logo element

There is always a way