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Spousal sponsorship is a major part of Canada's immigration system. If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner to obtain Canadian permanent resident status. Couples have 2 options to choose from when submitting their application: Outland and Inland Sponsorship.

Sponsor Eligibility
You can be a sponsor if:

  • You are 18 years of age or older;

  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident living in Canada, or person registered under the Canadian Indian Act.

  • You live in Canada or a Canadian citizen planning to return to the country;

  • You are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability;

  • You can provide for your basic needs, those of your spouse or partner and, if applicable, those of dependent children.

As a sponsor you must:

  • Be able to support your partner financially;

  • Make sure they will not require social assistance from the government.

Inland vs Outland Sponsorship

Inland Spousal Sponsorship
You should apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (inland) if:

  • You live with the sponsor in Canada

  • You hold a valid immigration status in Canada

  • You would like to apply for an open work permit in order to work in Canada while the application is in process.

If your spouse or common-law partner is out of status in Canada, they may be able to submit under this stream as well while being protected under a public policy that allows them to stay in Canada until the application is fully processed. The disadvantage to this particular stream is that the applicant should refrain from travel outside of Canada while the application is in process.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship
You should apply under the Family Class (outland) sponsorship if:

  • Your spouse/common-law partner lives outside of Canada.

  • You are currently living in Canada with the sponsor but do not plan to stay in Canada for the duration of the application process

Application Process
Before you begin the application process, ensure that you and your loved one meet all eligibility criteria.

The application process requires you to submit the following 2 applications at the same time:

  • Your application to sponsor your spouse or partner

  • Your spouse or partner’s permanent residence application

Step 1: Obtain the application package and gather all required documents.
Step 2: Pay the online application fee, which includes the following:

  • Processing fees for all persons included in the application;

  • Right of Permanent Residence Fee;

  • Biometric fees if applicable;

  • Other third-party fees if applicable

Step 3: Submit your application by following the submission instructions.
Step 4: Submit the required supporting documents when prompted.

Frequently asked questions

  • How long do I have to be financially responsible for my spouse?

    • You are financially responsible for your spouse for 3 years. If you were sponsored as a spouse, you may not sponsor a new spouse or partner for 5 years.

  • Is an interview required for spousal sponsorship?

    • Immigration interviews are rare for spousal sponsorship cases and are the exception rather than the rule. That said, spousal sponsorship immigration interviews usually occur when there are lack of documents supporting the relationships, contradicting information on the forms vs. documents, age and religious difference, a short period of time between meeting your spouse and marriage, or little or no cohabitation. 

  • Can I cancel my spousal sponsorship?

    • You can withdraw your sponsorship application at any time before the person you’re sponsoring becomes a permanent resident of Canada. 

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