won’t be needing any other visa type if you have a spouse or married partner living in Canada; migrating to Canada is a breeze for married couples.
In this article, I’ll be guiding you through the process and more. Let’s begin!
When it comes to bringing your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to Canada, the process is known as Canadian spousal sponsorship.
This avenue allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their loved ones to live permanently in Canada, reinforcing the importance of keeping families together.
As a testament to this significance, applications for spousal sponsorship are accorded a top priority.
Who Can Sponsor Their Partner?
If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you might be eligible to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner. However, certain conditions must be met for sponsorship:
● You should be 18 years and above.
● You should be residing in Canada or intend to return once your partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
● You must be capable and willing to support your spouse or partner financially for three years.
In Canada Sponsorship Class
For those who meet the following criteria, the In Canada Sponsorship Class is the route to take:
● You are living with your sponsor in Canada.
● Your Canadian immigration status is valid.
● You wish to apply for an open work permit, enabling you to work in Canada while the application is being processed.
Additionally, if your spouse or common-law partner has fallen out of legal status in Canada, they may still be eligible to apply under this category.
They’ll also be benefiting from a public policy that lets them stay in the country throughout the processing period.
However, it’s important to note that travel outside of Canada should be avoided while the application is under review.
Family Class (Outland) Sponsorship Class
In situations where your spouse or common-law partner resides outside Canada, the Family Class (Outland) sponsorship option comes into play. This option is applicable if:
● Your spouse or partner lives outside Canada.
● While you are the sponsor, you are presently living in Canada, but you don’t intend to remain there for the entire application process.
This option has its drawbacks, as living with your spouse or partner while the application is being reviewed can be challenging.
However, your partner can apply for a temporary visa to visit Canada during the pendency of their outland sponsorship application.
Processing Time for Spouse or Partner Sponsorship
When applying for spousal or partner sponsorship, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the expected processing time.
Typically, these applications take around 12 months to complete from start to finish.
However, keep in mind that processing times can vary based on individual circumstances.
If your case is complex or if additional evidence is required by the visa office, it might extend the processing period.
To ensure a smoother process and faster approval, ensuring that your application is thorough and accurate is key. Professional assistance, such as that provided by Canadim, can be immensely helpful in this regard.
Cost of Sponsoring Your Spouse
Sponsoring your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner comes with associated government processing fees. Here is a breakdown of the following fees:
● Sponsorship fee: $75
● Principal applicant processing fee: $475
● Right of permanent residence fee: $500
● Biometrics fee: $85
● Total fees amount to $1135.
If you reside in Quebec or intend to live there upon receiving permanent residence, an additional fee of CAD 289 will be applicable.
Common-law And Conjugal Sponsorship
In the realm of Canadian immigration law, both common-law and conjugal relationships are recognized alongside conventional marriages.
Common-law relationships involve living together for at least a year in a marriage-like manner.
On the other hand, conjugal partnerships are for cases where living together or formalizing the relationship is not possible due to unique circumstances.
Ongoing Obligations as a Sponsor
Sponsoring your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner is a commitment that extends beyond the application process.
As the sponsor, you are responsible for providing for their basic needs for three years. This includes ensuring their financial, every day, and health-related needs are met.
One critical aspect of this commitment is to ensure that your sponsored partner does not require social assistance from the government.
If they do, you’ll need to repay the full amount received during the time you were legally responsible for them.
Failure to do so can impact your ability to sponsor other eligible family members in the future.
Financial Requirements for Sponsorship
Sponsoring your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner involves certain financial obligations.
Unlike other sponsorship programs, there’s no specific minimum income requirement for spousal sponsorship.
However, you are required to sign an undertaking agreement, committing to financially support your partner’s basic needs.
While there’s no strict income threshold, immigration officers might assess your financial capacity to fulfil this obligation.
Providing evidence of how you intend to support your partner in Canada can help strengthen your application.
Eligibility for sponsoring your partner revolves around being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. To qualify, you must:
● Be at least 18 years old.
● Either you’re in Canada or you have plans to migrate to Canada with your partner as a permanent resident.
● Have the ability and willingness to provide financial support for your partner for three years.
Language Proficiency and Medical Conditions
While language proficiency is not a requirement for sponsorship, your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner might need to demonstrate language proficiency later when applying for Canadian citizenship.
If your partner has a serious medical condition, it generally won’t affect their sponsorship application, as long as it doesn’t pose a public health or safety risk.
Applying to Sponsor Your Partner
When you’re ready to apply for spousal or partner sponsorship, there are several steps to follow:
● Submitting a spousal sponsorship application via mail or the IRCC’s application portal.
● Considering travel while the application is being processed, taking into account potential risks.
● Gathering and submitting the necessary documents, including marriage certificates, police clearances, medical certificates, and more.
● Understanding the possibility of including family members on the application.
● Preparing for a potential interview by immigration officials.
Submission of Spousal Sponsorship Application
When submitting a spousal sponsorship application, you have two options: you can either mail it or use the IRCC’s online permanent residence application portal.
Each method has its advantages, so choose the one that suits your situation and preferences.
Ensure that your application is complete and accurate to avoid delays in processing.
Travel While Application is Processing
If you’re the person being sponsored, you can leave Canada for short periods while your In Canada Sponsorship application is being reviewed.
However, since residing in Canada is a requirement for this class, re-entering the country might pose a risk, especially given potential travel restrictions due to factors like the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those holding temporary visas and awaiting their work permit application’s approval, leaving Canada could result in losing their maintained status and needing to wait until the work permit is approved before returning.
Required Documents for Spousal Sponsorship Application
To apply for spousal sponsorship, you’ll need to provide various documents that verify your relationship and eligibility. These documents typically include:
● Completed application forms
● Proof of status in Canada
● Identity documents
● Marriage certificate
● Police clearances from countries your spouse lived in for six months or more after turning 18
● Medical certificate for your spouse
● Proof of payment for government fees
● Relationship information and sponsorship evaluation questionnaire
● Additional documents like shared property ownership, bank accounts, utility bills, government-issued IDs, and more to demonstrate the authenticity of your relationship.
The specific documents required may depend on your situation, so ensure you review the guidelines carefully.
Including Family Members in the Application
If your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner has dependent children, they can include them in the application for permanent residence. This allows the whole family to immigrate together.
Interview for Spousal or Partner Sponsorship
While interviews for spousal or partner sponsorship are relatively uncommon, they might occur if there are doubts about the legitimacy of the relationship or inconsistencies in the provided information. The decision to conduct an interview rests with the visa officer.
To prepare for a potential interview, make sure your application is well-documented and accurate.
Working with an experienced immigration attorney can increase your chances of success and minimize the need for an interview.
Limit and Intake for Spousal Sponsorship Applications
Unlike certain sponsorship categories, there’s no set intake cap for spousal sponsorship applications in Canada.
This means that the country continues to accept spousal sponsorship applications throughout the year, allowing families to reunite without facing constraints related to application limits.
Permanent Residence and Marriage to a Canadian
Marrying a Canadian doesn’t automatically grant permanent residence to the spouse. Instead, the path involves applying for spousal sponsorship after marriage.
Only once the application is approved does the married spouse gain Canadian permanent residence.
Coming to Canada While Waiting for Approval
While waiting for the sponsorship application to be approved, the sponsored spouse or partner can come to Canada.
However, there’s no specific visa for applicants in this situation, and applying for a temporary visa might face challenges if there’s already an application for permanent residence in the process.
Showing that the applicant intends to return at the visa’s expiry becomes crucial.
Sponsoring a Conjugal or Common-law Partner While Married
If you’re legally married to another person but wish to sponsor a conjugal or common-law partner, you need to demonstrate that the marriage has broken down and that you’ve lived separately from your spouse for at least a year.
Providing documentation that supports the end of the marriage and the new relationship is essential.
Sponsoring a Common-law Partner When Not Living Together
In cases where common-law partners are not currently living together, eligibility for sponsorship remains, but certain requirements must be met.
You must have lived together for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship, and you need to provide evidence that despite the physical separation, the common-law relationship is ongoing.
Understanding these nuances ensures that you’re well-informed about the various situations and options for sponsoring your partner under different circumstances.
Can I get permanent residence if I marry a Canadian?
Marrying a Canadian doesn’t automatically grant you permanent residence. You need to apply for spousal sponsorship after marriage, and upon approval, you’ll become a Canadian permanent resident.
Can my spouse come to Canada while waiting for approval?
Yes, they can come to Canada while waiting for approval, but there’s no specific visa for this situation. Applying for a temporary visa might be challenging if there’s already a permanent residence application in process.
Can I sponsor my partner if I am legally married to someone else?
Yes, you can, but you need to show that your marriage has broken down, and you’ve lived apart from your spouse for at least a year. Documentation supporting the end of the marriage and the new relationship is necessary.
Do I need a job to sponsor my spouse in Canada?
You don’t need a job to sponsor them, but you need to be able to financially support them. There’s no minimum income requirement, but you should show your capacity to provide basic financial needs.
Sponsorship applications generally take around 12 months, sometimes it’s based on your specific circumstances.
Complex cases or additional evidence requirements might extend the processing time.
However, the government processing fees total $1135, including sponsorship fee, principal applicant processing fee, right of permanent residence fee, and biometrics fee. But, fees may apply if you’re residing in Quebec.
The good news is that language proficiency is not required for sponsorship. However, your spouse might need to demonstrate language proficiency when applying for Canadian citizenship later.
You can reapply if your application is refused. Address the reasons for refusal with new information or documentation in your reapplication.