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Canada Immigration - Spousal Sponsorship

If a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is in a relationship with a foreign national, the foreign national may be sponsored to immigrate to Canada as their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.


This is possible due to the Family Class Sponsorship Program, which allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign partner if they are in a genuine and continuing relationship. This program allows couples to reunite and build a future together in Canada, while also providing economic benefits to the Canadian economy by bringing foreign workers with in-demand skills and knowledge.


There are 2 main options you can choose to apply under: Inland Spousal Sponsorship - Primarily for common-law partners and spouses who live with their Canadian citizen or permanent resident partner inside Canada, and Outland Spousal Sponsorship - for spouses or conjugal partners who live outside Canada


quick facts

  • Processing time: 6-12 months

  • Fees: C$1135.00

  • Inland sponsorship - Sponsor  your partner who is inside Canada

  • Outland Sponsorship - Sponsor your partner who is outside Canada

  • Minimum age of sponsor: 18 years

  • Sponsor must be Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident

What is Outland Sponsorship and Inland sponsorship for Canadian Immigration?

Spousal sponsorship applications can be submitted Inside Canada as well as Outside Canada. These are called INLAND spousal sponsorships and OUTLAND spousal sponsorships respectively.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship: As the name suggests, this program allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their spouse/conjugal partner for permanent residence, regardless of where the spouse is currently residing. Such applications are usually processed through a visa office serving the applicant's country of origin or in which the applicant has been legally residing for at least one year.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship: Under this category - both spouses/common-law partners need to live together 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.

What is the eligibility criteria for spousal sponsorship application?


The Sponsor must:

  1. Be of 18 years or older

  2. Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act

  3. Reside in Canada or intend to live in Canada after your spouse is granted permanent residency

  4. Accept the undertaking obligations

  5. Not be the subject of a removal order

  6. Have no criminal convictions inside or outside Canada in the following areas:

  • Bodily harm toward current or former family members (domestic violence)

  • Sexual abuse

  • Significant violence 

  1. Not being an undischarged bankrupt and have enough income to provide for basic needs of any grandchildren (dependent children of a dependent child) of the principal applicant.

  2. Not in receipt of social assistance unless because of disability

  3. Debt free to the federal government of Canada

  4. Not under a five-year ban (If you were sponsored by a spouse or partner, you may not be a sponsor yourself until five years have passed since you became a permanent resident.)

  5. Not under an undertaking ban (If you have already sponsored a spouse or common-law partner to Canada, you may not sponsor another spouse or common-law partner while the current undertaking duration is not over.)

The applicant must be your:

  1. Spouse: a spouse is a partner with whom you are legally married. This includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships. 

  2. Common-Law Partner: a common-law partner is not legally married to you but has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months. Any time spent apart – for work/family related matters or any other reasons, must have been short or temporary.

  3. Conjugal Partner: a conjugal partner is a person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with you for at least one year, but could not, for some reason(s), live with you. Individuals living in Canada are not eligible to be sponsored as conjugal partners.


The person you are sponsoring must:


  •  Be at least 18 years old;

  •  Pass all background, security and medical checks.

How long does it take to process Spousal Sponsorship applications?

Spousal sponsorship applications can take 12-17 months from the date of application. In late September last year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister unveiled a plan to speed up spousal applications and help families build their lives together in Canada.

There are plans to adopt new technologies to keep up with the family reunification values embedded in the Canadian Immigration system, which would shorten the application processing time to anywhere between 6-9 months.

Steps to apply for Spousal Sponsorship application to Canada

Applying to sponsor a spouse is a four-step process:

Step 1. Obtain the application package found on the government website; it contains a guide with instructions and forms that will help you complete the process correctly.

Step 2. Pay the online application fee, which includes the following:

  • Processing fees for all persons included in the application;

  • Right of Permanent Residence Fee;

  • Biometrics fees;

  • Other third-party fees, if applicable.


Step 3. Submit your application by following the submission instructions provided in the guide you downloaded.


Step 4. Submit the required supporting documents when prompted.

On what grounds can my Spousal Sponsorship application to Canada be refused?

Always remember that the burden of proof lies with the applicant. The immigration department of Canada will make a decision on proof that they find genuine and authentic. If for any reasons, an assessing officer doubts that you marriage is purely a marriage of convenience, your application will be denied.

Here are some of the main reasons why your application could be refused:

  1. You did not provide enough proof of relationship to prove it is legitimate;

  2. There were errors in the Canadian spousal sponsorship forms;

  3. There was a misrepresentation of facts presented in your application;

  4. You are unable to meet basic requirements for spousal sponsorship;

  5. You or your partner are inadmissible due to a conviction or pose a risk to Canadian society.

How can I prove that my marriage/relationship is genuine?


If you are sponsoring your spouse, then the following proof of your relationship will be required:

  • Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire

  • Marriage certificate (see common-law if you are not married)

  • Wedding invitations and photos

  • Birth certificates or adoption records for any children you and your spouse have together

  • Proof of registration of marriage with a government authority


And at least two of the following documents:

  • Proof that you and your spouse own property together

  • Shared bank accounts, 

  • Utility bills with both of your names, 

  • Copies of government-issued IDs, 

  • Car insurance, 

  • Pay stubs or tax forms that show that you live at the same address

Sponsor your Dependent Child(ren)

You can sponsor your dependent children, whether natural or adopted, to live with you as permanent residents in Canada.


Children must meet the following definition of a dependent child to be eligible for sponsorship:

  • A child is considered a dependent if he or she is not married or in a common-law relationship and is under 22 years of age.

  • If a child is over 22 years of age, they may be considered a dependent if they have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves.


To be eligible under this program, you:

  • and your child abroad must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to receive a visa,

  • must prove your relationship with the child you are sponsoring, either by a birth or adoption certificate.

Need help in applying for Sponsorship? Hire an authorized paid representative.

IMMERGITY Immigration Consultant are very experienced with the application process and can help you navigate the system. We will also provide valuable insights and tips on how to increase your chances of success. Get in touch now.

If you're thinking of hiring a representative, be sure to check that they're authorized by IRCC. You can verify our credentials by clicking here.

Hiring a representative is not required, but it can be helpful, especially if you're not familiar with the application process. If you decide to hire a representative, be sure to choose someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable working with.

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