Spouse & Common-Law Sponsorship

This program is a part of family class sponsorship program. A Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident may sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or Conjugal Partner for Canadian permanent residence under this program. Both the Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident and the foreign national must be approved by Element Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in order for the sponsored person to receive a visa.

Requirements for the nature of the relationship

Spouse:The Sponsor and the Sponsored Person must be legally married. A Certificate of Marriage from the province or territory where the marriage took place is required if the marriage took place in Canada. Same sex marriages performed within Canada are valid for spousal sponsorship. If the marriage took place outside of Canada, it must be valid under the law of the country where it took place as well as under Canadian federal law.

Common-law partner:The Sponsor and the Sponsored Person must cohabit continuously for at least one year, excluding brief absences for business or family reasons.

Conjugal partner: Conjugal partners can be of either opposite-sex or same-sex. A sponsored person is defined as a conjugal partner if:

  • Exceptional circumstances beyond their control have prevented the applicants from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses, such as element immigration barriers or legal restrictions limiting divorce or same-sex relationships; and
  • The applicants have had a mutually dependent relationship for at least one year with the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law union. This can require a demonstration of emotional ties and intimacy, financial closeness, such as joint ownership of assets or mutual financial support, and efforts to spend time together and reunite.

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Requirements of the program

Sponsor Requirements

  • The sponsor must be at least 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen;
  • The sponsor cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence; and
  • The sponsor cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.

Sponsored Person (Applicant) requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • The relationship is genuine (real) and wasn’t entered into just to get permanent resident status in Canada.

Who can’t become a sponsor

You can’t be a sponsor if you:

  • Have failed to pay an element immigration loan, a performance bond or family support payments
  • Have failed to provide for the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative who received social assistance
  • Are in default of a previous undertaking
  • Are under a removal order
  • Are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison
  • Receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • Are still going through the process of bankruptcy (undischarged bankruptcy)
  • Were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than five years ago
  • Sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident
  • Have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application hasn’t been made yet
  • Were convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative—or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences

Who you can sponsor?

  • Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • Dependent child: Sponsor and applicant’s (person being sponsored) child can be considered a dependent child if that child meets the following requirements:
    • They’re under 22 years old, and
    • They don’t have a spouse or common-law partner
    • Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependents if they meet both of these requirements:
    • They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
    • They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition

Out land Sponsorship Program

This program is a sub-section of the Family Class element immigration category and is pursued when the applicant (sponsored partner) is living outside of Canada. However, it is possible for an applicant living in Canada to apply through the out land program. This option may permit the applicant to travel in and out of Canada throughout the application process but it’s always discretion of Canadian element immigration authority to decide whether the sponsored person may re-enter Canada or not. Out land application is processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin or where they have resided legally for at least one year.

IRCC is committed to issuing visas as quickly as possible in order to rapidly reunite families under this program. IRCC aims to process applications submitted through this program within 12 months.

In land Sponsorship Program

This program is a sub-section of the Family Class element immigration category and, is pursued when the couple is together in Canada and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor.

The person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit, allowing to work for any employer in Canada while the sponsorship application is being processed. If the applicant (sponsored partner) already has a work or study permit, he or she may continue to work or study as long as the permit is valid, however it is important to note that working and studying in Canada without valid status are illegal and may result in serious consequences for the sponsored person.

Applicants who wish to obtain an open work permit should apply at the same time that they apply for permanent residence. However, IRCC states that if a sponsored spouse or common-law partner has not submitted an application for an open work permit at the same time as their permanent residence application, he or she may still submit an application for an open work permit at a later stage. If the sponsorship application is refused, the applicant is required to leave Canada immediately at the end of his or her period of temporary stay. Moreover, if the sponsored person leaves Canada at any point while the application is being processed, there is no guarantee that he or she will be allowed to re-enter Canada, especially if he or she requires a visitor visa. IRCC aims to process applications submitted through this program within 12 months.


  • Canada recognizes same-sex marriage, and same-sex partners may be eligible to apply under this category, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
  • In most cases, there is no low-income-cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorship. However, if either a spouse or partner you’re sponsoring has as dependent child who has dependent children of their own, or a dependent child you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own, you must meet a minimum LICO score, which is determined by the Canadian government each year.
  • The province of Quebec has its own element immigration rules. After your application is received, IRCC will send you an email or letter with instructions about how to apply to the Quebec government to become a sponsor.

Contact us for assessment and more information