Spousal Sponsorship​

The government of Canada is dedicated to keeping families together. Many foreign nationals leave the comfort of their home country in search of a better life in Canada. When they successfully immigrate to Canada, it’s only natural that they would want to bring their loved ones with them. This is why we have the Family Class Sponsorship Program, and more specifically a subcategory called the Spousal Sponsorship Program. As the name indicates, this program’s focus is reuniting spouses and common-law partners. The sponsor must have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status to be eligible to sponsor their partner.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) knows it is important to help families who come from other countries to reunite in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your spouse, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative (such as a parent or grandparent) to become a permanent resident.

But the person who is sponsoring them should be able to meet the financial criteria. It takes about 8 to 14 months for spouse and children sponsorship and 24 to 40 months for parents.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for immigration to Canada. If successful, the sponsored person obtains permanent resident status, allowing the couple (or family, if applicable) to build their lives in Canada.

The common-law / spousal sponsorship Canada immigration program is a part of the Family Class category, through which Canada welcomes a substantial number of new permanent residents annually.

If you are interested in this pathway to permanent residence, either as the sponsor or sponsored person, there is much to consider. Important considerations include:

Both the sponsor and sponsored person must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive Canadian permanent residence. 

Common-Law / Spousal Sponsorship Canada: Who can sponsor?

You can become a sponsor if you are

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If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident. You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.

Some other things to note

Who is a spouse?

A spouse is a partner with whom you are legally married. This includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships.

Who is a common-law partner?

A common-law partner isn’t legally married to you, but has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months, meaning

The definition of common-law partner includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships.

Who is a conjugal partner?

A conjugal partner is a person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with you for at least one year, but could not, for some reason(s), live with you. Individuals living in Canada are not eligible to be sponsored as conjugal partners.

The definition of conjugal partner includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships.

Spousal Sponsorship Canada: Understanding Inland and Outland

Two terms are commonly used to describe the types of application that may be submitted: Outland sponsorship, and Inland sponsorship. Though these terms are rarely, if ever, used by IRCC, they are nonetheless terms that applicants, representatives, and other stakeholders often use.

If the sponsored person resides outside Canada, the application for permanent residence must be submitted to the visa office that serves his or her country of origin, or where he or she has resided legally for at least one year. This is referred to as Outland sponsorship.

Inland sponsorship may be pursued when the couple is together in Canada and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. Under Inland sponsorship, the sponsored person may be eligible for an open work permit, allowing him or her to work in Canada while the application is being processed. This open work permit initiative first began as a pilot program in 2014, and has then been extended every year since after it became clear that it helped families across Canada.

Applicants residing in Canada may choose to pursue Outland sponsorship, even though they reside in Canada (therefore also making Inland sponsorship an option). A potential advantage to the Outland pathway is that in some cases the processing time may be shorter. However, IRCC has taken steps to reduce processing times in the spousal/common-law sponsorship program, particularly Inland sponsorship applications, thereby making Inland sponsorship more attractive than before, particularly as this pathway includes the possibility of the sponsored person being allowed to work in Canada before processing of the sponsorship application has been completed.

Spousal Sponsorship Faqs !

Permanent residency in Canada is a status given to a person who is not a citizen of Canada. This status is permanent and cannot be revoked. Permanent Residents are allowed to live and work in Canada without worrying about any time constraints on their stay. For becoming a permanent resident, a foreign national must apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), previously known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada. People who become permanent residents of Canada can also attend primary and secondary education institutions in the numerous provincially administered public school systems. Permanent residents also get provincially administered universal health care coverage. You can travel outside Canada while maintaining your status as a permanent resident. However, to remain a permanent resident, you must be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (2 years) in every 5-year period.

The Federal skilled worker class is a system based on points which gives permanent resident status to qualified applicants who show an ability to become economically established in Canada. There are six main selection factors for assessment which comprise of 100 points. Scoring 67 out of these 100 points makes the candidate eligible for the main selection process in which candidates with a lesser age, higher education, more work experience and a high band of IELTS score qualify to receive the invitation.

Applications submitted under the Federal skilled worker class undergo a two-stage assessment process.

To qualify under the First-Stage, skilled worker applicants must meet the following conditions:

  1.  Eliminatory condition:
  • Possess at least one year of applicable experience in one of 50 major high demand occupations (health, skilled trades and finance) OR
  • Possess an approved offer of “Arranged Employment”; OR
  • Legally living in Canada for a minimum of one year as a temporary foreign worker and have received a permanent full time employment offer from current employer; OR
  • Are enrolled in good standing in a Canadian PhD program and have completed at least two years of the program or graduated within the 12 months preceding the application.
  • Applicants who meet one of the above eliminatory conditions will be eligible for continued processing as a skilled worker under a second-stage at which time they must also meet each of the following essential selection conditions:
  1.  Essential selection conditions:
  • Possess one-year, within the previous 10 years, of suitable continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment; AND
  • The work experience must be classified within Skill Type 0 (Managerial Occupations), Skill Level A (Professional Occupations), or Skill Level B (Technical Occupations and Skilled Trades) within the meaning of the National Occupational Classification system; AND
  • Score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of six selection factors. The current pass mark is 67 points; AND
  • Possess suitable settlement funding; AND
  • Undergo a successful security background and medical examination.
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