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Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorship: Requirements

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Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorship: Requirements

Jade Calver

Eligibility Requirements

In order to sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to come to Canada, both parties must meet various requirements outlined by the Government of Canada. It is important to note that the requirements for this type of family class sponsorship differ for each program (i.e. parent and grandparent sponsorship, dependent child sponsorship, etc.).

According to the Government of Canada, a spouse is considered a partner with whom you are legally married. This includes opposite- and same-sex relationships.

A common-law partnership is a relationship between two people who have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. This includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships.

A conjugal partner is a person outside of Canada who has had a binding relationship with a sponsor for at least one year, but could not live with their partner. This includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships.

If you and your partner’s relationship can be classified under any of the previous three definitions, you may be eligible for spouse or common-law partner sponsorship in the Family Class Sponsorship.

Who can become a sponsor?

You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • 18 years of age or older

  • A Canadian permanent resident living in Canada, a Canadian citizen, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act

  • Able to prove that you do not receive social assistance for reasons other than a disability

  • Can provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring (an in some situations, meet the low-income cut-off)

Who cannot become a sponsor?

You cannot become a sponsor if you:

  • Have not paid an immigration loan, a performance bond, or family support payments

  • Have not provided the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative who received social assistance

  • Are in prison, bankrupt, or under a removal order

  • Have been charged with a serious criminal offense

  • Receive social assistance for reasons other than a disability

  • Are still going through the process of bankruptcy

  • Were sponsored by a spouse or partner and became a permanent resident less than 5 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 can be sponsored?

Your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner may be eligible to sponsor if they are at least 18 years old. Your relationship must be genuine (real); you are not eligible if you entered a relationship for the sole purpose of obtaining permanent resident status in Canada. It’s also important to note that your spouse or common-law partner must already live with you in Canada.