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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Financial Requirements to Sponsor Spouse or Partner for Permanent Residence to Canada


Financial Requirement to Sponsor Spouse or Partner

Spousal sponsorship is a process through which Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their foreign spouse or common-law partner to immigrate to Canada. The Canadian government has set certain financial requirements that must be met by the sponsor in order to ensure that the sponsored spouse does not become a burden on the Canadian social welfare system.


Financial Requirements for Spousal Sponsorship

Determining the sufficient income to sponsor a spouse or partner is a fact-specific assessment based on the sponsor's and foreign spouse or partner's circumstances, and there is no set amount of income required. However, Canadian sponsors must demonstrate sufficient funds to meet their sponsorship responsibilities, which the immigration authorities will assess.


Generally, Canadian sponsors with full-time employment in Canada, even if it's at minimum wage, will be considered to meet the income requirement to sponsor their spouse or partner in Canada. However, if the Canadian sponsor is unemployed or employed outside of Canada, the immigration authorities may require proof of liquid assets, such as money in a bank account, or consider other assets like a home in Canada.


The immigration authorities may also consider the foreign applicant's circumstances, such as whether they already have employment or significant assets in Canada. However, if the sponsor and/or partner have dependent children, the analysis may be more complex as the family's support requirements may necessitate greater income or assets. In such a scenario, the minimum necessary income is calculated based on the size of the sponsor's family and the number of people they are sponsoring.

Why Understanding the Financial Requirements is Important

Understanding the financial requirements for spousal sponsorship in Canada is essential for anyone looking to sponsor their spouse or partner to Canada. Failure to meet the financial requirements can result in the refusal of the sponsorship application. It is also important for the sponsor to understand their financial obligations before they decide to sponsor their spouse or partner. Sponsoring a spouse or partner to Canada is a significant financial and emotional commitment, and it is important for the sponsor to be aware of the financial responsibilities that come with the sponsorship.


Overview of Financial Requirements for Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

The financial requirements for spousal sponsorship in Canada are an important consideration for any Canadian citizen or permanent resident looking to sponsor their foreign spouse or partner to immigrate to Canada. These requirements are in place to ensure that the sponsored individual does not become a burden on the Canadian social welfare system. In this section, we will provide an overview of the financial requirements for spousal sponsorship in Canada.

Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) Requirement

The Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) is the minimum income required by the sponsor to sponsor their spouse or partner to Canada. The MNI is determined based on the size of the sponsor's family and the number of people they are sponsoring. It is calculated by taking into account the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), which is an income threshold used by the Canadian government to determine the minimum amount of income required to maintain a basic standard of living.

Ways to Meet the Financial Requirement

There are several ways for the sponsor to meet the financial requirement, including:

  1. Employment Income: The sponsor can demonstrate that they have enough employment income to meet the MNI requirement.

  2. Self-Employment Income: The sponsor can provide evidence of their self-employment income, such as tax returns and financial statements.

  3. Investment Income: The sponsor can demonstrate that they have enough investment income, such as dividends and interest, to meet the MNI requirement.

  4. Other Sources of Income: The sponsor can provide evidence of any other sources of income, such as rental income, that can be used to meet the MNI requirement.

Other Financial Requirements

In addition to the MNI requirement, the sponsor must also provide for the basic needs of the sponsored individual, including food, clothing, and shelter. This obligation extends for a period of three to ten years, depending on the circumstances. The sponsor must also sign a sponsorship undertaking, which is a legal document that obligates the sponsor to financially support the sponsored individual for a certain period of time after they arrive in Canada.


Meeting the Financial Requirement

Supporting Documents for Demonstrating Financial Ability

To demonstrate their financial ability requirement, the sponsor must provide supporting documents, such as:

  1. Notice of Assessment: The sponsor must provide their most recent Notice of Assessment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  2. Employment Letter: The sponsor must provide a letter from their employer indicating their current position, salary, and length of employment.

  3. Pay Stubs: The sponsor must provide their most recent pay stubs, which should include their name, address, and salary information.

  4. Bank Statements: The sponsor must provide their bank statements for the past three months, which should indicate their account balances, transactions, and sources of income.

  5. Proof of Other Income: If the sponsor has other sources of income, such as rental income or investment income, they must provide supporting documents, such as tax returns or financial statements.

Importance of Meeting the Financial Requirement

Meeting the financial requirement is crucial for the success of the spousal sponsorship application, irrespective of whether it is an inland spousal sponsorship or outland spousal sponsorship application for permanent residence. Failure to meet the financial requirement can result in the refusal of the application. The Canadian government sets the financial requirement criteria to ensure that the sponsored individual does not become a burden on the Canadian social welfare system. Therefore, it is important for the sponsor to demonstrate their financial ability to support their spouse or partner and any dependent children.

Consequences of Not Meeting the Financial Requirement

Although rare, failure to meet the income requirement can result in a refusal of spousal sponsorship due to the foreign national's inadmissibility based on their inability to support themselves in Canada. The immigration authorities may consider the Canadian sponsor's income or assets as insufficient to support both themselves and their foreign spouse or partner.


If the foreign spouse or partner is found to be inadmissible on this basis, the sponsorship application can be refused, but the decision can be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division within 30 days.


In addition, certain financial situations can make a Canadian ineligible to sponsor their foreign spouse or partner. For instance, if the Canadian sponsor is an undischarged bankrupt or collecting social services for reasons other than a disability, they cannot sponsor their partner.


If the sponsor is bankrupt, they must have their bankruptcy discharged before they can sponsor, while those collecting social assistance must cease before applying to sponsor. However, disabled Canadians collecting social services can still sponsor, but the immigration authorities will carefully consider whether the amount they receive is adequate to support both themselves and their spouse or partner in Canada.

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