Spousal Sponsorship

Essential information you need to bring your spouse, or partner to Canada - from a lawyer's perspective.

Whether you're married, in a common-law relationship, or considering sponsorship for your conjugal partner, navigating the spousal sponsorship process can be complex. This page is designed to provide you with the essential information you need to bring your spouse, or partner to Canada.

At our immigration law firm, we understand the importance of family reunification, and we're here to help you every step of the way. Explore our resources, learn about eligibility criteria, and discover how we can assist you in making your dream of togetherness a reality. If you are successful in your spousal sponsorship, your spouse can obtain permanent residence in Canada.

Who is the sponsor and who is the applicant?

Applicant (Sponsored Person): The applicant is the individual seeking to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. This person is usually the one who wishes to live in Canada as a permanent resident and is applying for immigration benefits through sponsorship. The applicant may be in a spousal or common-law relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or may be a family member sponsored by a relative.

Sponsor: The sponsor, on the other hand, is the Canadian citizen or permanent resident who wishes to support and sponsor the applicant's immigration to Canada. The sponsor assumes responsibility for the applicant's well-being and financial support during their initial period in Canada. Depending on the specific immigration program, the sponsor may be a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. The Sponsor must meet certain eligibility criteria and obligations to be able to sponsor the applicant successfully.

Eligibility to Become a Sponsor in Canada

To become a sponsor for your spouse, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. To qualify as a sponsor, you must:

Age Requirement: Be at least 18 years old.

Residency Status: Be a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act, or a permanent resident of Canada.

Residence in Canada: If you are a Canadian citizen living outside of Canada, you must demonstrate your intent to reside in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident. However, please note that if you are a permanent resident of Canada living outside the country, you are not eligible to sponsor someone.

Financial Independence: Be able to provide evidence that you are not currently receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability.

There are many other instances that would prevent you from sponsoring, such as receiving social assistance, convicted of a violent offence, be in jail or other.

Meeting these eligibility requirements is essential to becoming a sponsor and helping your loved ones join you in Canada. If you have questions or need assistance with the sponsorship process, Cédric Marin, an immigration lawyer with five years of experience, can provide expert guidance and ensure that your sponsorship application is prepared correctly. Contact us today to explore your options and begin the journey to reunite with your family members in Canada.

Who can I sponsor under spousal sponsorship in Canada?

You can sponsor your legally married spouse, your common-law partner, or your conjugal partner. Each category has specific eligibility criteria, such as age, the length of the relationship, and proof of the relationship's genuineness.

Can I sponsor my same-sex partner or spouse under spousal sponsorship?

Yes, spousal sponsorship is open to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Different relationships eligible for spousal sponsorship

It's important to meet these eligibility criteria to apply for spousal sponsorship successfully. Understanding the specific requirements for each type of relationship is essential to ensure a smooth immigration process for your spousal sponsorship! As noted below, there are various limitations and exceptions.

Your Spouse:

  • Must be legally married to you.
  • The marriage must be recognized both in Canada and where it took place.
  • Can be of either sex.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.

Your Common-Law Partner:

  • Isn't legally married to you.
  • Can be of either sex.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months in a conjugal relationship without extended periods apart.
  • Any time spent apart should have been short and temporary.
  • If the relationship ends, it's considered over, and proof of the common-law relationship is required.

Your Conjugal Partner:

  • Isn't legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you.
  • Can be of either sex.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year.
  • Lives outside Canada.
  • Cannot live with you in their country of residence or marry you due to significant legal and immigration reasons, such as marital status, sexual orientation, or persecution.
  • Proof of the inability to live together or marry in your conjugal partner's country is required (e.g., proof of refused long-term stays or legal restrictions in each other's countries).

Different Types of Spousal Sponsorship Applications

When it comes to reuniting with your loved one in Canada, the spousal sponsorship program offers various pathways to make this dream a reality. Understanding the different types of spousal applications is crucial in ensuring you choose the right one for your specific situation.

You need to decide if the application will be inside Canada (In-Canada) or outside Canada (Family Class).

In Canada Spousal Sponsorship

Spousal Sponsorship: This category is designed for individuals who are already living in Canada with their Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or common-law partner. If you are married and wish to obtain permanent residency while staying in Canada, this is the appropriate option. The Applicant may be eligible for a work permit during processing of the spousal sponsorship application.

Common-Law Partner Sponsorship: For couples who have been in a genuine and committed common-law relationship and are currently living together in Canada, common-law partner sponsorship is the suitable route. You must have cohabited for one year together in a marriage like relationship.

Family Class Spousal Sponsorship – Outside Canada

If you are a Canadian citizen residing outside of Canada but wish to sponsor your spouse for permanent residency in Canada, you must demonstrate a clear intent and plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.

You cannot sponsor outside of Canada as a permanent resident.

Family Class Spousal Sponsorship (Outside Canada): This category is for individuals who are legally married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and are residing outside of Canada. If you seek to reunite with your spouse in Canada and obtain permanent residency, this is the suitable pathway.

Family Class Common-law Partner Sponsorship (Outside Canada): If you are in a genuine and committed common-law relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident but currently reside outside Canada, you can apply for common-law partner sponsorship. This route allows you to join your partner in Canada as a permanent resident.

Family Class Conjugal Partner Sponsorship (Outside Canada): For those who are in a conjugal relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and face exceptional circumstances preventing them from living together, conjugal partner sponsorship may be an option. This category acknowledges the unique challenges faced by couples who cannot be together due to circumstances beyond their control.

Choosing the Right Path

It's important to understand that each type of spousal sponsorship application has its own eligibility requirements and criteria. Your choice will depend on your relationship status, whether you are already in Canada or outside of it, and the nature of your relationship with your Canadian partner.

Making the right choice is crucial to a successful sponsorship application. Cédric Marin can provide you with expert guidance to navigate the complexities of the spousal sponsorship process. Whether you are pursuing a common-law, spousal, or conjugal partner sponsorship, Cédric is here to ensure that your application is meticulously prepared and stands the best chance of approval.

Limitations and Excluded Relationships

While Canadian immigration offers pathways for family reunification through spousal sponsorship, it's crucial to understand that certain limitations exist to ensure the integrity of the immigration process. These limitations aim to prevent cases where a relationship is primarily for acquiring immigration status or where the relationship is not genuine.

Genuine Relationship Requirement

• Not for Immigration Status: A key limitation is that the relationship cannot be primarily for the purpose of acquiring status or privileges under immigration laws. In other words, the motivation for the relationship must be genuine and based on a sincere commitment to building a life together, rather than solely for obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Canada.

• Not Genuine Relationships: The genuineness of the relationship is essential. This includes cases of fraud or situations where the marriage is not authentic, such as being married to someone else, which would render the marriage legally unrecognized.

In the realm of immigration, the Canadian Regulations establish specific criteria for exclusion from membership in this class. Applicants in the following situations are not considered members of the family class:

1. Age Restrictions: If the spouse or common-law partner is under the age of 18, they are ineligible for membership in the family class.

2. Bigamy or Polygamy: Any situation involving bigamy or polygamy, where either the sponsor or the spouse was simultaneously married to someone else at the time of the marriage, leads to exclusion from the family class.

3. Genuineness of the Relationship: If it is determined that the marriage or relationship is not genuine or was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, commonly referred to as a "relationship of convenience," the applicant will be excluded.

4. Separation and New Relationships: When the sponsor and the applicant have been separated for at least a year, and either one enters into a common-law relationship with another person, the applicant is excluded from the family class.

5. Non-Accompanying Family Members: In cases where, during the sponsor's application for permanent residence, the applicant was classified as a non-accompanying family member of the sponsor and was not examined, exclusion from the family class applies.

It's important to recognize and comply with these regulations to ensure eligibility for family class immigration. Understanding these exclusion criteria is essential for preparing a successful application. If you have any concerns about your eligibility or need guidance on your family class immigration journey, consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer is advisable.

What is the difference between a common-law partner and a conjugal partner in spousal sponsorship?

A common-law partner is someone who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 consecutive months without extended periods apart. A conjugal partner, on the other hand, is someone you have been in a relationship with for at least 1 year, but who lives outside Canada and cannot live with you due to significant legal or immigration reasons.

Can I sponsor someone if I'm in a previous marriage or relationship?

It depends on the circumstances. If either the sponsor or the applicant was married to someone else at the time of their marriage or relationship, it could affect eligibility. It's crucial to ensure that your current relationship meets the eligibility criteria.

Spousal Sponsorship Application Process

Step 1: Gather Documents (1-2 Months)

• Documents and Forms: The first step involves collecting all the required documents and forms for your spousal sponsorship application. This process typically takes around 1-2 months to complete. These documents may include proof of your relationship, identity, finances, police clearance and other supporting evidence. It may include additional documents that are not expressly requested in the document checklist.

• Cédric's Assistance: Cédric can assist you in this crucial phase by providing guidance on the specific documents needed and helping you ensure that your application is comprehensive and well-prepared. His expertise can save you time and minimize the chances of a refused application.

Step 2: Apply

• Once you have gathered all the necessary documents and completed the required forms, you can submit your spousal sponsorship application. You need to apply online.

Step 3: Completeness Check and AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt)

• After submitting your application, it will undergo an initial completeness check by immigration officials. This takes around four weeks. If all required documents and forms are in order, you will receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR), confirming that your application has been received and is being processed.

Step 4: Medical and Background Checks, Final Decision

• Your application will then proceed to the medical and background checks stage. During this phase, immigration authorities will assess your eligibility and conduct security and criminality checks.

• A properly prepared application, as guided by Cédric, should ideally not result in additional document requests or procedural fairness letters, ensuring a smoother and faster processing timeline.

Cédric Marin, as an experienced immigration lawyer, can provide comprehensive assistance throughout the entire spousal sponsorship application process. His expertise ensures that your application is accurate, well-documented, and submitted correctly, reducing the likelihood of delays or complications.

If you have questions or concerns about any stage of the application process or need assistance with your spousal sponsorship application, Cédric is here to provide guidance and support. His expertise can help you navigate the complexities of Canadian immigration and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and it is not legal advice. This blog is not a substitute for professional legal advice, and it may not be appropriate for you. Always do your own research and due diligence before making any decisions related to immigration matters. Do not rely exclusively on this blog. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, immigration laws and regulations can vary and change over time. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.

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