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Spousal Sponsorship Canada

September 12, 2023

Can I sponsor my spouse or common law partner to immigrate to Canada?

You can apply for spousal sponsorship if your spouse or common law partner lives outside of Canada. After approving the spousal sponsorship application, your spouse or partner can become a permanent resident (“PR”) in Canada.

I have my PR, can I sponsor my spouse or do I need to have citizenship?

You can be a sponsor if you are a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen. You must apply to be approved as a sponsor as part of the spousal sponsorship process, using the Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking.

To be eligible as a sponsoring spouse, you must be at least 18 years old and live in Canada. If you’re currently outside of Canada, you should plan to return once your spouse or common law partner becomes a permanent resident. Additionally, you must commit to providing for the basic needs of your spouse or common law partner for three years.

My spouse does not live in Canada, how can I sponsor them?

Does your spouse or common law partner live outside of Canada? If so, you have an option. Consider the Outland Spousal Sponsorship stream. It’s a segment of Canada’s Family Class immigration program. Your spouse or common law partner can include any dependent children on the application for permanent residence.

What if your spouse or common law partner has temporary status (for example, as a worker, student, or visitor) and already lives with you in Canada? In that situation, you can apply under the Inland Spousal Sponsorship stream.

Note that you can apply for spousal sponsorship and a visitor visa simultaneously. This visa would let your spouse work, study, or visit Canada temporarily. When authorities approve the temporary resident visa, your spouse can enter Canada and seek inland sponsorship. Immigration officers can assess “dual intent” when receiving both applications.  The concept of dual intention revolves around a foreign national’s aspirations. Their desire to become a permanent resident doesn’t prevent them from being a temporary resident. However, this is contingent on the immigration officer’s belief that they will leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay.

What qualifies as a spousal relationship?

Under the Inland Sponsorship stream, spousal relationship includes these two categories:

  1. Spouse: You are legally married, and the jurisdiction where you registered your marriage, as well as Canadian law, recognize your marriage as valid.
  2. Common-law: cohabiting or have cohabited with your partner in a marriage-like relationship for at least 12 consecutive months.

Under the Outland Sponsorship stream, spousal relationship includes the two categories just mentioned, plus one extra category of “conjugal partnership.” This category is for those in a committed relationship for at least 12 months. However, if factors beyond your control, like immigration status, prevent you from living together, this applies.

What are my responsibilities as a sponsoring spouse?

If you gain approval as a sponsoring spouse, you have responsibilities. You must meet the basic needs of your spouse or common law partner. This also extends to their dependent children if they apply for immigration to Canada.

Couple holding Canadian flag, symbolizing spousal sponsorship in Canada
Understanding Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

You must sign an undertaking (linked above), promising to provide for their basic needs and to support them financially. Your obligation lasts for three years from the day your spouse or common law partner gains permanent residency in Canada. This obligation remains even if your relationship ends. It also persists through financial troubles or if your spouse or partner attains Canadian citizenship.

How long does it take and how much does it cost to sponsor my spouse?

From start to finish, spousal sponsorship applications typically take about 12 months to process. However, the nature of your application can cause variations in the processing time; in some cases, processing a spousal sponsorship application might take up to 36 months. 

At present, the minimum cost to sponsor your spouse or common law partner for Canadian immigration is CAD$1,135. That amount covers these mandatory government processing fees:

  • CAD$75 – Sponsorship fee
  • CAD$475 – Principal applicant processing fee
  • CAD$500 – Right of Permanent Residence fee
  • CAD$85 – Biometrics

If you sponsor your spouse or common law partner with dependent children, there’s an extra CAD$150 fee for each child. This is part of the application process. Additionally, consider other costs. These might include fees for obtaining documents and postage. Also, if you seek the expertise of an immigration lawyer, account for their service fees.

Want help with your spousal sponsorship application?

Spousal sponsorship applications involve a lot of complex paperwork. To bring your spouse or common law partner to Canada quickly, make sure you complete your sponsorship application correctly the first time. Reach out to the experienced immigration lawyers at Simpson Thomas & Associates for guidance today.

About Simpson Thomas and Associates:

STA is a prominent law firm, with a rich history of over 50 years. It is based in the lower mainland with offices in Vancouver and Surrey.

The firm is active in various practice areas. Namely, personal injuryfamily lawimmigrationemployment lawestate litigation, and insurance denials.

STA commits to serving the community with its legal expertise. Also, actively support causes that enhance the well-being of individuals and families.

Reach out and consult with us:

Troy McLelan, Lawyer,

Phone: (604) 689 – 8888


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