SPOUSAL Sponsorship Program

It is Canadian governments’ top priority to support family unification. One of the easiest ways to immigrate is to apply under a spousal or common-law partner sponsorship program. If a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident meets the eligibility requirements to support a spouse or a common-law partner, the applicant may also add dependent children for immigration under this program. 

Main requirements to sponsor are the following:

  • Sponsor  must be at least 18 years old.
  • Sponsor must reside  in Canada or plan to return once a spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident,
  • Sponsor must be willing to support a spouse or partner's basic financial needs for three years

If a spouse lives outside of Canada,  an application can be submitted. However the disadvantage of using this program is that living with a spouse may be difficult until your application is approved. While their overseas sponsorship application is being processed, your spouse can apply for a temporary visa to come to Canada. More about temporary/visitor visa read more.

To sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to come to Canada, applicants do not need a job. Spousal sponsorship has no minimum income requirement. However you must sign an undertaking agreement promising to meet your partner's basic financial needs. As a result, you must demonstrate how you will support your Canadian spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner.

The sponsorship bar can be applied to the following relatives:

  • your current or former spouse/partner, as well as their children,
  • a parent or grandparent, a child or grandchild, a sibling, a niece or nephew, an aunt or uncle, or a cousin, or the above-mentioned person's current or former spouse/partner, as well as their children
  • your current or ex-spouse/parent/grandparent, partner's child/grandchild, sibling, niece/nephew, aunt/uncle, or cousin; the current or ex-spouse/partner and children of any of the above

What happens after you submit your spousal, common law or conjugal partner sponsorship application to IRCC?

Step 1: IRCC will check if you have submitted all the required forms, and supporting documents. If the application is complete, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt with your UCI and Application number.

Step 2: IRCC will assess sponsor's eligibility.

Step 3: IRCC will start processing the applicant's permanent residence application.

Step 3 - The visa officer will assess

  • the genuineness of the relationship
  • whether the supporting documents is sufficient to prove relationship
  • for any inconsistency in letters from sponsor and sponsored
  • medical admissibility - immigration medical examination results
  • criminality and security admissibility - police clearance certificate, RCMP and CSIS checks (if applicable)
  • Procedural Fairness Letter

If the visa officer is not satisfied the relationship is genuine or believes it was entered for the purposes of immigration, or finds inconsistencies, they will send you a letter (procedural fairness letter) setting out their concerns and ask you to respond. IRCC can also schedule an immigration interview with the principal applicant.

Most applicants do not appreciate the seriousness of this letter - to put it bluntly IRCC is giving you one more chance to satisfy the visa officer your relationship is genuine before the application is refused.

Most often these procedural fairness letters are broadly worded- which may make it difficult for someone who does not understand the legal underpinnings to respond properly.

Remember the onus is on you to satisfy the officer that you are in a genuine relationship, and it was not entered for the purposes of immigration. Seek professional help if you received a procedural fairness letter from IRCC.