Canadians can sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to obtain Canadian permanent residence.
The Canadian citizen or permanent resident (the “sponsor”) and the foreign citizen (the “sponsored person”) must be approved by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the sponsored person to get permanent residence.
Currently, Canada is looking to expedite the processing of 18,000 spousal sponsorship applications by the end of 2020.
IRCC recently made this significant announcement, outlining the innovative steps it is taking to try and reunite families or loved ones as fast as possible.
In recent years, Spousal sponsorship processing has been delayed due to the COVID-19, however, the new measures announced by IRCC should help to reduce the backlogs.
If you are looking to submit a new spousal sponsorship application, here is a step-by-step guide on how to submit an application to reunite with your spouse or loved one.
First, the sponsor and sponsored person must show to IRCC that their relationship falls under one of these three categories:
- Common-law partner
- Conjugal partner
Canada now recognizes same-sex marriages. Same-sex partners can apply under one of the above categories so long as they meet all of IRCC’s eligibility requirements.
IRCC’s Eligibility Requirement
You can sponsor your spouse if:
- You are at least eighteen (18) years old.
- You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident.
- If you are a Canadian citizen living overseas, you must demonstrate that you plan to stay in Canada with the sponsored person when they become a permanent resident.
- A permanent resident is qualified to sponsor their partner if the permanent resident lives in Canada.
- you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than having a disability problem.
- you can financially cater to the basic needs of the sponsored person.
Who you can sponsor
- Spouse: Your spouse must be legally married to you and at least eighteen (18) years old.
- Common-law partner: Is not married to you legally, is at least eighteen (18) years old and has been living with you for at least twelve (12) consecutive months.
- Conjugal partner: Is not legally married to you, is at least eighteen (18) years old, has been in a relationship with you for a minimum of one year, lives outside of Canada, and can not live with you in their country of residence or marry you due to significant legal and immigration reasons. Such reasons can include their sexual orientation, marital status, persecution. You must be able to prove you could not live together or get married in your conjugal partner’s country.
How to apply
There are two applications to sponsor your spouse or partner, which IRCC asks you to lodge together at the same time. They are the sponsorship application and permanent residence application.
- Step 1: Get the application form from IRCC.
- Step 2: Pay your application fees. Most times, these fees include processing fees, biometrics fee, and the right of permanent residence fee, all of which you need to pay online on IRCC’s website.
- Step 3: Submit your application through mail to IRCC.
After their application has been successfully submitted, the sponsor is financially responsible for the sponsored person for at least three years. Sponsored persons are not permitted to sponsor someone else for five years after they have been sponsored for Canadian permanent residence.