Moving to Canada and leaving your spouse or partner on the opposite coast is not easy. That’s why Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) strongly supports family reunification through spousal sponsorship. The application processing for spousal sponsorship is given the highest priority at Canadian Visa Offices. It is the most demanded stream under family class immigration. If you are looking to apply for a spousal sponsorship in Canada, here is what you need to know.
1. You Must Be a Permanent Resident or Canadian Citizen
The spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner looking to immigrate to Canada under the spousal sponsorship category must be sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. You need to apply to sponsor a spouse outside Canada. Once the sponsorship application is approved, Canadian immigration authorities will issue the applicant Canada Spouse Visa. If your spouse or partner is with you in Canada on a temporary visa, then apply for spousal sponsorship inside Canada. Once approved, the applicant’s status will change from temporary to permanent.
2. Financial Commitment
Sponsorship of a spouse in Canada involves a financial commitment. As a sponsor, you will be required to sign an undertaking that promises to provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person. Basic needs include housing, utility bills, food expenses, personal hygiene products, clothing and other items necessary for daily living, and medical expenses not covered by public health insurance.
3. Who Can You Sponsor
In order to apply for spousal sponsorship, you will have to establish an authentic relationship that qualifies under one of the three categories:
- Spouse: you are legally married;
- Common-law partner: you have lived or currently live with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship;
- Conjugal partner: you must have been in a continuous and committed relationship for a period of at least 12 months but have had significant obstacles that prevent you from residing with one another.
Canada even recognizes same-sex marriages and relationships. You can apply for spousal sponsorship for your partner if you’re eligible to apply in one of the three categories above.
4. Changes to Spousal Sponsorship
The Government of Canada has recently announced a number of major changes to the family sponsorship immigration process.
- Now it has a faster processing time
- One application for all candidates inside or outside Canada
- Simplified relationship questionnaire (fewer questions)
- Medical exams are no longer required upfront
- Police certificates are now only required from your current country of residence and the country in which you spent most of your adult life (if different than your current country)
- Access real-time information related to your Spouse Visa Canada application online
5. Outland and Inland Sponsorship
If your partner who is being sponsored is not legally living in Canada at the time of application submission, outland spousal sponsorship is the only option. Inland spousal sponsorship gives your spouse/partner (applicant) the ability to continue living in Canada while their application for permanent residence is processed.
6. Spousal Open Work Permit
When your spouse/partner holds only a temporary visitor’s visa, it restricts them from working in Canada. You can take some of the stress out of long processing times by applying for a spousal open work permit at the same time they submit their sponsorship application. The applicant must hold a valid temporary visa, reside at the same address as their spouse and meet all of the eligibility requirements for a work permit.
Ready to start?
If you want to sponsor your spouse, or if you want to be sponsored, we can help you! Simply complete our self-assessment form and a member of the Dastur Immigration team will contact you to discuss your immigration options!