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Published: November 26, 2022


Spousal Sponsorship Program – How Can You Sponsor Your Spouse from Overseas?

Written by: Weber Immigration - Team


The Government of Canada supports families and provides Canadian citizens or permanent residents a chance to bring their family members to Canada. The overwhelming majority of Family Class applications fall under the spousal sponsorship applications. Canada’s Spousal Sponsorship Program is intended for those who want to sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children. We would be happy to help your beloved ones to come to Canada.

The main requirements for the Spousal Sponsorship Program

There are several requirements that the sponsor must meet to be eligible for spousal sponsorship:

  • The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada and be 18 years of age or older;
  • The sponsor must be married to or be in a common-law relationship or conjugal partnership with the person he/she wants to sponsor;
  • The sponsor must declare that he or she will provide all essential needs of the sponsored spouse or partner and support the spouse financially after they arrive in Canada;
  • Both the sponsor and their spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner must intend to live in Canada together;
  • Both the sponsor and the sponsored person must have clear criminal records with no history of committing any violence or sexual offense or imprisonment.

Sponsoring dependent children

The spousal sponsorship program allows the sponsors to bring their dependent children below 22. The sponsor must promise to support the needs of any dependent children included in the application. If the sponsored person has dependent children, the spouse must be included as the principal applicant while the child is included as a dependant.

Sponsoring common-law partners and conjugal partners

A couple is in a common-law relationship if they have lived together at the same address for 12 months or more. They need to show that they depend on each other and have merged their lives by holding joint utility accounts or owning or renting a property together.

Conjugal partners are those who cannot marry each other due to reasons such as age, geography, or religion or because they are unable to live together as common-law partners for justified reasons. Conjugal couples must show that they have been in a solid relationship for at least one year. Applicants who are applying for sponsorship under this class must provide evidence that there is no other available possibility for them. This applies to sponsored persons living in countries where diverse relationships are not possible or where same-sex marriage is not recognized. In all other respects, they are like common-law partners or married couples.

Are there financial requirements for spousal sponsorship?

If you are sponsoring a spouse, partner, or dependent child, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) does not set income requirements under the eligibility factors. Though, if your sponsored spouse or partner has a dependent child who also has dependent children of their own (or if the dependent child you are sponsoring has dependent children of their own), then you must meet the minimum low-income cut-off score (LICO) as determined by The Canadian Government annually.

How to apply for Spousal Sponsorship – online or on paper?

Starting September 23, 2022, the Government of Canada made it mandatory to apply online for the Spousal Sponsorship Program. Sponsors will have to use the online application system to apply for sponsorship unless they qualify to use the paper-based process. Only those who cannot apply online and require accommodations, including a disability, will be eligible to apply in another format (paper, braille, or large print).

When do you need to apply for a sponsorship application?

Many applicants believe they cannot sponsor their spouses right after getting married. The result is that sponsored spouse often arrives in Canada only after years of living apart. This can put a strain on the relationship and may negatively affect the outcome of the sponsorship application. You can apply to sponsor your spouse as soon as you get married. Though, you still must be able to show your marriage is genuine.

Unfortunately, many applicants from Asian countries wait extended periods to sponsor their spouses as they come from cultures where arranged marriages are still common. In these cases, the sponsors often do not have an opportunity to live with their spouses before sponsoring them. However, the Canadian Government recognizes the existence of different common practices in many cultures and does not require married couples to live together before applying for sponsorship. Yet, each sponsorship case is considered individually and therefore, the background of each applicant is assessed independently.

Applying for a visitor visa for a spouse

If you are planning to sponsor your spouse for permanent residence in Canada, they might need to apply for a visitor visa. This process is the same as for any other visitor visa application. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when applying for a visitor visa for a spouse. First, it is important to remember that the purpose of a visitor visa is to allow the holder to visit Canada for a temporary period. Therefore, you will need to prove that your spouse intends to return to their home country after their visit. This can be done by showing that they have ties to their home country, such as a job or family members.

Second, you will need to show that you have enough money to support your spouse during their stay in Canada. This means that you will need to provide proof of income, as well as evidence that you have access to sufficient funds to cover the cost of living for yourself and your spouse.

Finally, you will need to supply a detailed itinerary of your spouse’s planned visit to Canada. It should include the dates of travel, as well as the reason for their visit. It is crucial to be as specific as possible.

Bring your spouse to Canada

If you plan to sponsor your spouse, do not put it off any longer and enjoy your life in Canada as soon as possible. If you need help, contact our experienced immigration lawyers. We will handle every little detail and ensure that your sponsorship application is successful. We can also assist you in applying for a visitor visa for your spouse so that he or she may visit Canada while their sponsorship application is being processed.

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