Spousal sponsorship refers to the process through which a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their partner to live permanently in Canada. We understand the intricacies of the spousal sponsorship program, including family class sponsorship, common-law partnerships, and conjugal relationships.
With our comprehensive guide, we’ll ensure a smooth and hassle-free application experience, ultimately bringing you one step closer to reuniting with your loved one in the beautiful Canadian landscape. Let Canadapt Consulting be your compass on this exciting journey towards a new life together in Canada.
Canadian marriage laws for immigrants
If you are an immigrant in Canada and are planning to get married, it is important to understand the marriage laws and requirements that apply to you. The good news is that as a visitor or temporary resident, you are eligible to get married in Canada. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to do so.
However, you will need to meet the requirements of the province you plan to get married in, as each province has its own specific requirements. These may include providing valid identification, meeting the age requirement, and obtaining a marriage license. It is advisable to do your research and ensure that you have met all the necessary requirements before getting married in Canada as an immigrant.
Requirements for spouse visa in Canada (checklist)
If you wonder how to sponsor someone to Canada, then there are certain requirements that you must meet and documents that you must provide:
- Complete spousal sponsorship application forms
- Provide proof of status in Canada (citizen or permanent resident) and identity documents
- Provide marriage certificate or evidence of common-law relationship
- Obtain police certificate and clearances from all countries spouse has lived in for 6+ months past age of 18
- Spouse undergoes medical examination
- Pay applicable government fees
- Provide digital photo of yourself and spouse, Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire, and wedding invitations/photos
- Provide birth certificates or adoption records for any children
- Provide proof of registration of marriage with a government authority
Can I sponsor my spouse to Canada without a job?
Yes, in most cases, you do not need a job or meet a specific income requirement to sponsor your spouse or partner to Canada. The Canadian government only requires that you demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support your spouse or partner and any dependent children they may have.
However, if your spouse or partner has dependent children with children of their own, then you may need to meet specific income requirements. It’s important to note that the requirements may vary depending on your specific situation, so it’s best to check with the Canadian government for the most up-to-date information.
Can I sponsor my fiance to Canada?
While a fiance relationship does not qualify for sponsorship on its own, there may be other immigration categories that can be applicable for you and your fiance. For instance, if you have been living together in a common-law relationship for at least one year, you may be eligible for sponsorship as a common-law partner.
However, if you have not yet lived together for the required length of time or do not meet the requirements for common-law partner sponsorship, you may need to wait until you are officially married before applying for spousal sponsorship to bring your fiance to Canada.
It’s essential to check the specific eligibility criteria for the immigration category you are applying under to determine if you and your fiance qualify for sponsorship.
How to apply for spouse PR in Canada?
You can submit your spousal sponsorship application through IRCC’s new permanent residence application portal or by mail. The application package, which includes forms and instructions, can be obtained from the IRCC website. It’s important to ensure that all necessary documents are included in the application and that the required fees are paid before submitting the application.
1. Get your application package
You can obtain your application package, including your checklist, forms, and instructions, from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You can submit your application package by mail or through the IRCC’s permanent residence application portal.
2. Gather documents
Review your checklist and ensure that you have all the required documents, including certified copies of original documents that are not in English or French, along with translations of these documents.
3. Complete the application
Fill out all the forms completely and sign them. If any requested forms are not included, your application may be returned to you.
4. Pay the fees
Check the fee table to determine how much you need to pay for your application. Fees for sponsoring a spouse or partner are $75 for the sponsorship fee, $490 for the principal applicant processing fee, and $515 for the right of permanent residence fee (if applicable).
5. Submit biometrics
You and your spouse may need to provide biometric information at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Application Support Centre (ASC). Biometric fees are $85 per person, or a maximum fee of $170 for a family of two or more people applying together.
6. Submit the application
Once you have completed the application and paid the fees, submit it for processing. Ensure that you answer all questions, electronically sign your application, and include your processing fee receipt and all supporting documents. Once your application is submitted, you can track its status online through the IRCC website. It’s important to ensure that all requirements are met to avoid processing delays or rejection of your application.
Canada inland spousal sponsorship
When someone applies for inland sponsorship in Canada, they can stay in the country while they wait for their permanent residency application to be processed. However, if their temporary status document expires during this time, they need to apply for an extension or a new one to stay legally. It usually takes around 12 months to process spousal sponsorship applications.
While waiting, it’s okay to travel abroad, but it’s not recommended because they may be denied re-entry to Canada, and their sponsorship application could be canceled. If this happens, they have to start over with a new sponsorship application, and if they’re not legally staying in Canada, they have to apply for outland spousal sponsorship.
When to apply?
You should apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (Inland) if:
- You are now residing in Canada with your sponsor.
- You are legally permitted to be in Canada.
- You’d like to work in Canada while your work permit application is being processed;
Canada outland sponsorship
The outland spousal sponsorship program lets a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsor their spouse or partner for permanent residence in Canada, regardless of where they live currently. The government tries to process most applications within a year to bring families together fast. Even if the sponsored individual is living in Canada, they can still apply for outland spousal sponsorship to allow them to travel outside of Canada while their application is being processed.
When to apply?
You should apply under the Family Class (Outland) sponsorship option if:
- The applicant is your spouse/common-law partner who resides outside of Canada.
- You are presently residing in Canada with your sponsor, but you do not intend to do so for the length of the application process.
The disadvantage of choosing this option is that living with your spouse may be challenging until your application is approved. On the other hand, your spouse may apply for a temporary visa to visit Canada until their outland sponsorship application is reviewed.
Spousal sponsorship Quebec
Sponsoring a spouse to Quebec involves additional steps as immigration to Quebec is handled separately by the province. To sponsor a spouse in Quebec, both federal and provincial permission must be obtained. The first step is to apply for a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that authorizes the issuance of a Certificate of Selection of Quebec (CSQ). After you receive this letter, you can then apply for Quebec family sponsorship. Once Quebec approves your application, it will be sent to the federal government for processing. It’s important to note that the eligibility requirements and processing times for Quebec spousal sponsorship may be different from those of other provinces in Canada.
Documents required for spouse visa Canada in 2023
The documents necessary for a Canada spouse visa vary depending on the circumstances of the applicant and sponsor. Standard documentation, however, must be submitted with each application.
To complete the Canada spouse visa application process, the petitioner must submit a signed application form together with the appropriate fee and all essential papers in the exact format.
If you are applying for a Canada Spouse visa, you must submit the following set of documents:
- A copy of your birth certificate
- Passport photographs
- A copy of your valid passport
- Evidence of all legal name changes for you and your spouse
- A copy of your civil marriage certificate
- Prior-marriage termination papers, if applicable
- Police clearance certificate (if applicable)
- Court, police, and prison records, if applicable
- Immigration violation records, if applicable
- Original sponsorship letter
- A copy of your financial documents (e.g. bank statement)
- Address proof
- Interview preparation
Fees for spousal sponsorship
For spouse, partner, or children (in Canada & abroad)
|Sponsor your spouse or partner||$1,080|
|Sponsor your spouse or partner without right of permanent residence fee||$565|
|Include any dependent child||$155 (per child)|
How much does it cost to sponsor someone to Canada?
Government processing fees for sponsoring your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner in Canada are below. When you are sponsoring your spouse, marital partner, or common-law partner and they have dependent children, you must pay an extra $150 for each child listed on the form.
- Canada sponsorship fee $75
- The principal applicant processing fee is $475
- Right of permanent residence fee $500
- Biometrics: $85
In total it costs: $1135
An extra charge of CAD 289 must be paid on top of the preceding expenses if the sponsor is located in Quebec or plans to do so after receiving their permanent resident card.
Canadian spouse visa processing time
Sponsorship of a spouse in Canada usually takes around 12 months to complete the processing from beginning to end. Although in some cases, it may take longer than 12 months based on individual circumstances. However, typically it is not processed any faster than 12 months.
How long does it take to get permanent residency in Canada after marriage?
The undertaking period for sponsoring a spouse or partner for permanent residency in Canada is usually three years, starting from the day your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident. This period of time is required to fulfill the conditions of the sponsorship and to ensure that the sponsored individual remains a permanent resident in Canada.
What is the first stage of approval of spousal sponsorship?
The first stage in spousal sponsorship for Canadian permanent residency is to submit an application package to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for approval. This package includes various forms, supporting documents, and fees. Once IRCC receives the application, they will review it to ensure that it meets the eligibility criteria and that all required documentation is included. If the application is approved, the next stage is for the sponsored spouse or partner to undergo medical and background checks.
Who is the principal applicant for spousal sponsorship?
The principal applicant is a family member when a family submits an application for permanent residence together. The main applicant is the spouse or partner if the primary goal of the application is to sponsor them for permanent residence in Canada. The principal applicant is the dependent child if the primary objective of the application is to support a dependent child for permanent residence status in Canada.
What does “decision made” spousal sponsorship mean?
When it comes to spousal sponsorship for Canadian permanent residency, “decision made” typically indicates that the application has been reviewed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and a decision has been made regarding its approval or refusal. If the application is approved, the applicant will be contacted and provided with further instructions. If the application is refused, IRCC will send a letter explaining the reason for the refusal.
Can you become a Canadian permanent resident through marriage?
Marrying a Canadian citizen does not guarantee an automatic Canadian permanent residency for the spouse. However, after getting married or entering into a common-law relationship, the spouse can apply for spousal sponsorship. The application for spousal sponsorship must be approved before they married spouse can become a permanent resident of Canada. It’s important to note that the spousal sponsorship application process involves meeting specific eligibility criteria and providing necessary documentation.
If I marry a Canadian citizen, can I live and work there?
Marriage to a Canadian citizen does not guarantee the right to live and work in Canada. Meeting eligibility requirements for a work permit or permanent residency is still necessary.
Common-law partner Canada proof
Here are some items that can be used as proof of a common-law relationship when applying for immigration:
- Residential property jointly owned or rented by both parties
- Joint leases or rental agreements in place
- Shared utility accounts for gas, electricity, and telephone bills
- Joint utility accounts set up for shared expenses
- Important documents for both individuals reflecting the same address, such as driver’s licenses, insurance policies, and identification papers.
It is important to note that you do not need to include all of these items to prove your relationship is genuine. Other types of evidence may also be considered. Make sure to use the document checklist provided to determine what specific documents need to be submitted with your application.
Lastly, it is important to understand that some documents may not be returned, such as photos, telephone bills, or letters. Original documents such as marriage certificates and passports will be returned, but you should send certified photocopies unless otherwise instructed in the checklist or country-specific requirements.
Who is a conjugal partner in Canada?
In Canada, a conjugal partner is defined as someone who is in a committed relationship with the sponsor and has been living outside of Canada for at least one year. This person is unable to live with their sponsor as a couple due to circumstances beyond their control, such as immigration barriers, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.
As the person sponsoring your partner, you will have to sign a Sponsorship Agreement that lasts for three years. This contract requires you to financially support your partner during those three years, starting when they receive permanent residence. This commitment stays in place even if you part ways or get a divorce.
Usually, when bringing a spouse to Canada, there’s no need to prove a specific income level. However, in some situations, you may need to show that you can financially support yourself, your family, and your partner’s family. This includes covering living costs, personal items, household supplies, dental care, and medical care not offered by public health services. For instance, if your partner has a child who also has a child, you must prove you can take care of everyone’s essential needs.
If your financial history is uncertain, you have considerable debt, or your income is low, it could be more challenging for you to sponsor your partner and their relatives. Your partner can’t co-sign the Sponsorship Agreement to combine resources if they’re the one seeking sponsorship. As a result, merging resources to reach the required minimum income level is not possible for spousal sponsorship, unlike other family sponsorship categories in Canada.
What is the Minimum Necessary Income to sponsor a spouse in Canada?
Unlike other forms of family sponsorship in Canada, pooling resources to satisfy the Minimum Necessary Income standards is not considered for spousal support. Also, please note that as a sponsor, you will be financially responsible for the sponsored person for three years after he/she becomes a permanent resident. However, you don’t need to provide a minimum income requirement.
The following relationships with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are treated the same under Canadian law for immigration purposes:
Spouse: To be considered a spouse, you must be legally married to your sponsor. The marriage has to be valid under the laws of the place where you got married and under Canadian law, regardless of where you lived afterward. A marriage that may be valid in another country but not in Canada is one where a person is legally married to multiple partners at the same time.
Common-Law Partner: You are seen as a common-law partner in Canada if you have lived with your partner in a romantic relationship for at least one year (12 consecutive months, not necessarily a full calendar year). The 12-month period doesn’t have to be continuous; short breaks for work or family reasons are okay. Since there’s no marriage certificate, Canadian immigration officials may ask for extra proof of the relationship. Remember that “living together” means more than sharing a home; you must also combine your lives, including your finances.
Conjugal Relationship: The conjugal partner category is for partners who would qualify as spouses or common-law partners but couldn’t because of local laws or other factors they couldn’t control, like immigration barriers or marital status. An example is being married to someone else and not being allowed to divorce under local laws. Unwillingness to leave school or work to live together isn’t a good enough reason for not living together. Also, you can’t be a conjugal partner if you’ve lived apart from your partner for a year or more and either of you is the conjugal or common-law partner of someone else.
Fiance visa Canada
While a fiance relationship alone does not qualify for sponsorship, many couples in such relationships may still qualify for Canadian immigration under another eligible category, such as common-law partner sponsorship. However, couples who are intended, engaged, betrothed, or affianced to be married, but are not considered common-law according to Canadian immigration law, may need to wait until they are officially married to be eligible for Canadian spousal sponsorship.
Spousal sponsorship Canada forms
- Form IMM 0008, Generic Application Form for Canada, to be completed by the partner (the principal applicant who is seeking to immigrate to Canada)
- Form IMM 1344, Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking, to be signed by the sponsor and the partner
- Form IMM 1283, Financial Evaluation, to be signed by the sponsor
- Form IMM 5406, Additional Family Information, to be completed by the principal applicant and all adult children
- Form IMM 5476, Use of Representative, if the application itself or any part was completed by a third party such as a Canadian immigration lawyer or consultant.
- Form IMM 5532, Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation, to be completed by both the sponsor and principal applicant
- Form IMM 5533, Document Checklist for Spouse (Including Dependent Children)
- Form IMM 5534, Document Checklist for Dependent Child
- Form IMM 5589, Document Checklist for Common-Law Partner (Including Dependent Children)
- Form IMM 5629, Document Checklist for Conjugal Partner (Including Dependent Children)
- Form IMM 5669, Schedule A – Background/Declaration (the partner and all members of the partner’s family who are at least 18 years of age must sign separate copies of this form)
- Copy of application fee receipt
- Medical Condition Statement: the results of a medical exam conducted by a doctor approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (no longer required upfront)
Where to send the spousal sponsorship application?
Mail the whole application packet with completed application forms, including all required paperwork, to the address shown below, in a stamped envelope:
Application for spouses, common-law partners or conjugal partners outside Canada and all dependent children sponsorships:
- CPC Sydney, P.O. Box 9500, Sydney, NS, B1P 0H5
Application for spouses or common-law partners currently living in Canada applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class:
- CPC Mississauga, P.O. Box 5040, Station B, Mississauga, ON, L4Y 4H0
Spouse Immigration Canada 2023 Updates
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced several important updates to the family sponsorship immigration process, making it easier for people to bring their spouses to Canada.
Key Changes for Spousal Sponsorship:
- Quicker processing times
- A single application for candidates in and outside Canada
- Easier relationship questionnaire with fewer questions
- Medical examination is not required initially
- Police clearance certificate needed only from the current country of residence and the country where you’ve lived most of your adult life (if different)
- Online access to real-time updates on your Spouse Visa Canada application
These improvements help to lifting sponsorship barriers, make sponsoring a spouse more efficient, but don’t change the main rules for family sponsorship. To sponsor a spouse, you still need to meet all requirements for Canadian permanent residence sponsorship. Be sure to use the updated forms for sponsoring a spouse, as old ones are no longer valid.
Besides faster processing times, the Canadian Government is now approving more sponsorship applications to help family reunification. Immigration Canada has made more spots available for sponsored immigrants to reduce the backlog of applications. The government has also set aside an extra $25 million in their yearly budget to make family sponsorship processing times faster and more consistent.