Canada Spousal Sponsorship is a process by which a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor his or her partner to come and live permanently in Canada. In Canada, we understand the critical nature of family unity. As a result, spouse sponsorship applications are given first consideration.
Are You Eligible to Be a Sponsor?
If you match the following criteria, you may sponsor a common-law partner or spouse of the same or opposite sex:
- You must be at least 18 years old;
- You must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or an Indian registered under the Canadian Indian Act
- You must demonstrate that you are not getting social assistance due to a disability;
- You must ensure that they do not require government support; and
- You must demonstrate that you are capable of meeting the basic needs of the individual you are sponsoring.
Your Sponsorship Obligations
When you agree to be a sponsor, you must sign an undertaking committing to provide financial assistance for your spouse or partner’s basic needs and those of their dependent children.
Fundamental requirements include the following:
- Food, clothing, housing, and other daily necessities.
- Dental care, vision care, and other health services are not covered by public health insurance.
Before signing the undertaking agreement, you must ensure that the individuals you sponsor will not require government assistance. If they get social assistance, you will be responsible for reimbursing them for any benefits they got while you were legally responsible for them. You will be unable to sponsor anyone else until the balance is repaid.
The undertaking is a legally binding pledge of assistance, which means that you are responsible for supporting the applicant(s) for the duration of the undertaking period, regardless of how your circumstances change. Even if your circumstances change, the undertaking will remain in effect for the duration of the undertaking period. The undertaking will not be canceled regardless of the following:
- Your sponsoring individual becomes a Canadian citizen.
- You become divorced or separated from the sponsored person, or your connection with the sponsored person deteriorates.
- You or the individual you sponsor relocate to a different province or country.
- You are experiencing financial difficulties.
What Are the Sponsorship Requirements for a Spouse or Partner?
The applicant’s spouse or partner must be at least 18 years old, and both the sponsor and beneficiary must establish their relationship is real. Immigration officers have encountered spousal sponsorship situations where the applicant is seeking permanent residence only to be with their partner. The individual may be refused in such instances.
A common-law partner applying under this category must reside in Canada for a minimum of one year with their sponsor. This is not always the case with a spouse. When a sponsor and applicant are married but live in different countries, the sponsor will sponsor the applicant to live together in Canada. This is not the case with conjugal partners.
In Canada, the rules for sponsoring same-sex spouses or partners are identical to those for opposite-sex spouses or partners. If you were married within Canada, you must possess a valid marriage certificate issued by the province or territory where you married. You would need to present a marriage certificate if you were married outside of Canada to demonstrate that your marriage was lawful in both the country where you were married and in Canada.
To be deemed a common-law partner, an individual must have lived in a conjugal partnership with another person for at least one year. This is true for both opposite-sex relationships and same-sex relationships. In a sponsorship case, you will often be required to demonstrate this relationship through financial records, real estate, utility bills, joint accounts, or other channels.
A conjugal partner is an individual who lives outside Canada and has been in a binding relationship with a Canadian sponsor for at least one year but is unable to live with their spouse. This also applies to opposite-sex relationships as well as same-sex relationships. To sponsor a conjugal partner, you must demonstrate that you are incapable of cohabitation owing to extenuating circumstances.