Spousal, Common-law, or Conjugal Sponsorship
Canada aims to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year. Some 60 per cent are targeted as economic class skilled workers, followed by family class immigrants, and refugees. Among family class immigrants, Canada seeks to welcome some 80,000 per year under its Spouses, Partners, and Children category.
Spousal sponsorship is a major part of Canada's immigration system. The Canadian government allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are in a relationship with a foreign national to sponsor that person to join them and become a permanent resident of Canada. You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. You have two main options to choose from when sponsoring: Outland and Inland sponsorship.
Eligibility for Sponsorship are as follows:
You can be a sponsor if:
- You are 18 years of age or older.
- A Canadian citizen, permanent resident living in Canada, or person registered under the Canadian Indian Act.
- You live in Canada or are a Canadian citizen planning to return to the country
- You are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability.
- You can provide for your basic needs, those of your spouse or partner and, if applicable, those of dependent children.
What are the requirements to sponsor in Canada?
Sponsorship of a spouse in Canada involves a commitment to provide financial support to the sponsored person, including any dependent children. As a sponsor, you will be required to sign an undertaking that promises to provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person.
These basic needs include:
- Housing, including utility bills.
- Food and personal hygiene products.
- Clothing and other items necessary for daily living.
- Medical expenses not covered by public health insurance, such as dental and eye care.
How much income do you need to sponsor your spouse or partner?
- You must show that you have sufficient income or assets to support the spouse or partner once he or she arrives in Canada.
- You must not be receiving income support benefits from any province or be in bankruptcy proceedings
Who Can I Sponsor?
To receive a visa under this immigration program, you and your foreign spouse or partner will have to prove that you are in an authentic relationship that qualifies under one of the three categories:
- Spouse: you are legally married
- Common-law partner: you live or have lived 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 (such as cultural, religious or immigration barriers).
The person you are sponsoring must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Pass all background, security, and medical checks.
- Both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and the foreign national must be approved IRCC before the sponsored person can receive a visa.
Two Types of Sponsorship Program in Canada
Couples have two options to choose from when submitting their application:Outland and Inland applications in Canada
1. Outland Sponsorship
In general, applications to sponsor a foreign spouse or partner are submitted when the sponsored person lives abroad, and the Canadian sponsor resides in Canada. The foreign spouse or partner may be allowed to enter and leave Canada throughout the application process, provided they are from a visa-free country or obtain the appropriate Canadian visa. For his or her part, the Canadian spouse or partner will have to remain in Canada while the application is being processed.Applications from outside Canada are processed by the visa office serving the applicant's country of origin or in which the applicant has been legally residing for at least one year.
2. Inland Sponsorship
To submit a sponsorship application in this category, both spouses need to live together in Canada and the foreign spouse or partner must have temporary status in Canada as a worker, student, or visitor.The sponsor and the applicant spouse are required to live together in Canada for the duration of the processing of the application. This type of sponsorship application is filed in Canada.Foreign spouses who are in Canada and have legal temporary status may apply for an Open Work Permit (OWP) while their Inland sponsorship application is being processed, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer. This measure is intended to alleviate potential financial hardship caused by potentially lengthy application processing times.
Where do I submit my spousal sponsorship application?
In general, applications to sponsor a spouse or partner can be submitted either outside Canada at a visa office abroad or in Canada at a local immigration office. Sponsorship applications for conjugal partners can only be submitted through an outside of Canada application process.
How long do sponsorship applications usually take?
The standard spousal application processing time is 12 months.
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