The Canadian Spousal Sponsorship Process: All You Need to Know to Succeed
Becoming a permanent resident is a crucial step in obtaining Canadian Citizenship, and allows you and your spouse to establish a solid foundation together, for a happier and more prosperous future. However, the application process can be tiresome and emotional, filled with many surprising yet imperative tricks and turns. We understand that it’s hard to know where to begin, what you need, and when and where to seek guidance in the event that things don’t go smoothly. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and we hope this comprehensive guide will support you throughout this process.
Remember to Be Patient
This process can be painfully long, placing unneeded stress on you and your partner. It may feel never ending, but it’s important to remember that by remaining consistent and keeping on top of your correspondence with the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), will make your application that much stronger. Remember that this is an investment in your future, so it’s worth the wait.
Trust the Professionals
We hope this guide helps you with your application, we also know that having a professional on your side is not only going to ease your mind but can also provide you with a successful outcome. Here at YA Law, we specialize in Canadian Immigration Law and have helped countless couples through the spousal sponsorship process successfully. Feel free to reach out to us to have us on your side through this milestone in your life.
Who is the Applicant and Who is the Sponsor?
Let’s start with the basics: who is who? You will see various terms throughout the application process, however, the most important two are Applicant and Sponsor. It may seem simple but knowing a clear difference will ensure you don’t make any unnecessary mistakes that will jeopardize your application.
The Applicant: The person being sponsored by the sponsor. This is the person that is not a Canadian Permanent Resident or Canadian citizen and is looking to be sponsored for PR through their Canadian or Canadian permanent resident spouse.
The Sponsor: A Canadian Citizen or a Canadian permanent resident who is sponsoring the applicant.
Who is Eligible – Spousal Sponsorship Application?
Both the sponsor and the applicant must fulfill certain requirements in order to qualify for spousal sponsorship. Here is a comprehensive list that will help you get a sense of how eligible you and your partner are for this process.
As a sponsor you must:
- Be 18 years or older
- Be a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada
- What if I am a Canadian Citizen but not currently living in Canada? That’s fine! As long as you can prove that you are in a genuine relationship with your spouse, and prove that you intend to return to Canada.
- Be married or in a common-law relationship (living together for at least one year)
- So, I don’t need to be married to my spouse in order to sponsor them? As long as you are common-law and co-habiting on a continual basis, meaning only temporary and short separations for reasons such as work travel or small personal vacations, then you are eligible. OR
- You can be a conjugal partner, meaning you and your partner are in a marriage-like relationship but are not married and cannot live together due to circumstances beyond their control.
- Did not become a permanent resident after being sponsored yourself by a spouse in the preceding 5 years to the current sponsorship application.
- Able to provide basic needs for the people you’re sponsoring for at least three years.
- Basic needs include food, shelter, dental care, eye care, and other needs not covered by health services.
- Not be in receipt of social assistance for any reason other than disability.
- So yes, if you are on disability, you are still eligible for spousal sponsorship.
- Are still financially responsible for a previous spouse or partner you sponsored.
- You are still bound by a 3-year undertaking to take care of this person.
- Not be late in making any required payments on an immigration loan, a performance bond or any other amounts you agreed to pay under Canadian immigration legislation
- Not be currently detained in jail, prison, penitentiary or reformatory.
- Not be convicted of a sexual offense or serious violent offense against anyone causing bodily harm against someone who is related to you, or an attempt to commit such an offense
- Demonstrate that the relationship is permanent and genuine through strong supporting documents
- What are these supporting documents? We will answer this in the next section!
As An Applicant you must:
- Legally married or common-law and cohabiting with the sponsor, or is a conjugal partner to the sponsor
- At least 18 years old
- Has been living with, or in a relationship with a sponsor for at least 12 consecutive months
- If you are a conjugal partner, you have to have been and can prove that you have been in a relationship one year before the submission of the application.
Don’t see yourself on this list? Don’t worry. There are many specific and special circumstances that may not be satisfied by this list. Feel free to reach out to us at YA Law and we can make sure you know for sure whether you are eligible as a sponsor or applicant.