Sponsoring Spouse or Partner to Canada

Family Class Sponsorship

If you are a Canadian permanent resident or citizen and interested in helping your spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner immigrate to Canada, the Family Class Sponsorship Program may enable you to do so, via its Spousal Sponsorship subsection.

There are various eligibility requirements for both the sponsor and sponsored individual for purposes of meeting this subsection; chief among being the burden of establishing that their relationship falls within one of the following categories recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

• Spouse

• Common-law Partner

• Conjugal Partner

What is a Spouse or Partner?

  • Spouse: someone that you are in a lawful marriage with. The marriage must be valid where it took place and it can be between opposite or same-sex couples.
  • Common-law partner: Someone that you have cohabitated with in a marriage-like relationship for at least a period of 1 year (uninterrupted).
  • Conjugal partner: Someone that you have been in a permanent and committed relationship for at least 12 months and are prevented from getting married due to immigration or political barriers, religious reasons, sexual orientation etc. (e.g. country does not recognize gay marriages.)

Who can Sponsor Spouse or Partner to Canada?

In accordance with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident or citizen over the age of 18. Moreover, if the sponsor is a permanent resident, he or she must reside in Canada; however, a citizen sponsor may still apply while living abroad so long as he or she returns to Canada upon the arrival of the sponsored family member.

There are various circumstances that would disqualify an individual from sponsoring their spouse or partner. An individual may not sponsor if they:

  • Are incarcerated
  • Are subject to a removal order
  • Are under bankruptcy proceedings
  • Receive social assistance from the government (except for disability)
  • Have been convicted of an enumerated offence (namely one resulting in violence or bodily harm)
  • Are in arrears with child support payments
  • Owe a loan to immigration Canada
  • Have breached any terms of a previous immigration application
  • Have a pending immigration undertaking due to sponsoring a previous spouse or partner
  • Were sponsored themselves and 5 years have not yet passed from their PR status

Inland vs. Overseas Application

There is an application for spouses already living in Canada as well as a separate application for spouses living outside of the country.

Overseas Application

An overseas application is generally recommended when the sponsored individual is living outside of Canada. These applications are processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin, or where they have resided legally for at least one year.

Inland Application

On the other hand, inland applications are recommended where the couple is residing together in Canada and the foreign spouse or common-law partner has entered Canada – legally on a temporary status (i.e. as a worker, student, or visitor). Under these circumstances, the person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer in Canada while the sponsorship application is being processed.

The main difference between inland an overseas application is that with an inland application the applicant cannot exit the country until a decision is rendered on the application. Also the inland application allows the applicant to apply for open work permit.

Other Requirements


The Canadian government requires payment of the following sponsorship and processing fees for Family Class applications.

Application $CAN
Sponsorship application (per application) 75
Principal applicant 475
Principal applicant, if under 19 and not a spouse or common-law partner (including a dependent child of the sponsor, a child to be adopted, and an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew, or grandchild) 75
Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of the principal applicant or, where a transitional provision applies, a family member of the principal applicant who is 22 or older 550
A family member of the principal applicant who is under 22 and is not a spouse or common-law partner, or is 22 or older who has been unable to be financially self-supporting since before the age of 22, due to a physical or mental condition. 150
Where a transitional provision applies, a family member of the principal applicant who:

  • is under 22, unmarried, and not in a common-law relationship, or
  • is 22 or older and has been unable to be financially self-supporting since before the age of 22, due to a physical or mental condition

Sponsorship Undertaking – Financial Obligation

The sponsor must agree to provide the basic necessities of life for their family member in the case that said relative is not able to financially support him or herself. This is to ensure that the they will not burden the Canadian government with financial assistance. The length of this financial undertaking for a spouse or partner is 3 years. Additionally, individuals who come to Canada as spouses are themselves barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving Canadian permanent residence.

It is important to note that said financial obligation does not disappear despite the sponsored individual obtaining citizenship or a divorce from the sponsor.

Medical exam

The sponsored individual must submit a medical exam report together with his or her application. Further, applicants from an enumerated list of countries must submit biometrics as well.

Police Certificates

Applicants must also submit police certificates from any country where they resided in for a period of 6 months or more.

How Can Akrami & Associates Help?

In addition to the abovementioned, there are many other requirements as well as recent changes that may affect your application, which we can gladly discuss over a consultation. Notably, applications under the Family Class Sponsorship program are document heavy, thereby demanding a thorough and well-compiled package. Accordingly, to ensure that you have complied with the guidelines furnished by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), it is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer. Our team at Akrami and Associates have the necessary skills and experience as we have aided countless individuals immigrate to Canada and reunite with their family under this Family Class Sponsorship program – and can help you too!

Please contact Akrami & Associates at 416-477-2545 to get started on your application today and avoid any delays or refusals.

With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!

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