Bringing families together is one of the major goals of Canada’s immigration system.
The main way Canada does this is through its Spousal, Partner, and Children immigration sponsorship category. Canada looks to welcome around 80,000 immigrants through this category each year.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to obtain Canadian permanent residence. The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognizes same-sex relationships.
Eligibility criteria for sponsors
The eligibility criteria to sponsor your loved one is as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or are registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act. If you are a Canadian citizen currently living abroad, you will need to demonstrate to IRCC you intend to live in Canada with your partner upon them gaining permanent residence. Permanent residents looking to sponsor must reside in Canada at the time of submitting their sponsorship application.
- You must demonstrate you are not receiving social assistance unless you have a disability.
- You must show you can meet the financial needs of your loved one in Canada.
Who you can sponsor
Sponsored individuals must be at least 18 years old and fall under one of the following groups:
- Spouse: This means your partner is legally married to you.
- Common-law partner: This means your partner is not legally married to you, but has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months.
- Conjugal partner: This means your partner is not legally married to you, has been in a relationship with you for at least one year, resides outside of Canada, and is unable to marry you due to a cultural, religious, or legal obstacle. For example, interfaith marriages are restricted in your partner’s country.
How to submit your sponsorship application
You need to submit two applications to IRCC: the sponsorship application and permanent residence application. IRCC asks you to submit both applications together.
Step 1: Confirm you meet the eligibility criteria to sponsor.
Step 2: Get the application package from IRCC’s website.
Step 3: Pay all required fees on IRCC’s website. Examples of fees include processing, right of permanent residence, and biometrics fees.
Step 4: Mail both applications together to IRCC.
Once IRCC approves the application, you and your partner must fulfil certain obligations. You are financially responsible for your loved one for at least three years. Your partner is not allowed to sponsor another person for five years after they obtain Canadian permanent residence.
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