The Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category. Under this program, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor a spouse or common-law partner for Canadian Permanent Residency.
Canadian citizen or permanent resident named as sponsor and the foreign national named as sponsored person. Both sponsor and sponsored person must be approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa. Permanent Residency granted under the Spousal Sponsorship program comes with some conditions.
Sponsor requirements for Spousal Sponsorship
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian
- Sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the sponsored person
- Sign an agreement with the sponsored person
- Length of undertaking is 3 years for Spouse, Common-law Partner or Conjugal Partner
- The sponsor is financially responsible for the person sponsored for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
- The sponsor and sponsored person must prove that their relationship qualifies under one of three categories:
- Common-law Partner
- Conjugal Partner
NOTE: Canada recognizes same-sex marriage, and same-sex partners may be eligible to apply under any of the above three categories, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
Sponsor restrictions for Spousal Sponsorship
- Not subject to a removal order
- Not convicted of a violent crime, an offence of sexual nature or result in bodily harm to a relative, or an attempt or threat to commit it.
- Previous sponsorship undertaking less than 3 years
- Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are banned from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving Canadian Permanent Residency.
- A two-year legitimate relationship regulation applies to spouses/partners who have been in a relationship for two years or less and who have no children in common with their sponsor at the time of application submission. Once in Canada, the sponsored person must live with their spouse/partner in a ‘legitimate relationship’ for two years, or face the possibility of having their Permanent Residency revoked. Exceptions will be made for sponsored spouses or partners who are suffering from abuse or neglect.