Sponsoring non-status spouses and common-law partners for Canadian immigration

Shelby Thevenot
Published: June 19, 2020

There are options for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians to get permanent residence even if they do not have immigration status.

Cases involving “lack of status” spouses and partners fall under Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s objective to help keep families together. It also aims to prevent hardship from separating a couple who are already living together in Canada.

Although it is possible to receive a removal order for being in Canada without status, IRCC has policies that allow people to apply for spousal or common-law sponsorship as a non-status migrant without being forced to leave. The couple still has to meet all other criteria for spousal and common-law sponsorship admissibility in order for the permanent residence application to be successful.

Learn more about Canadian family sponsorship

Though Canadians are able to sponsor their foreign partners regardless of immigration status, they still must sign an undertaking, which is a promise to the government that they will support the basic needs of their spouse or partner and dependent children. Undertaking requirements are different for sponsors from Quebec and from the rest of Canada.

The IRCC webpage on the policy says that undertakings are required because they “can be an indication of the applicant’s links with relatives in Canada.”

What is “lack of status”?

The policy on sponsoring “lack of status” spouses or common-law partners includes people who:

  • have overstayed their legal status as a visitor, student, or worker;
  • have studied or worked without immigration status;
  • have come to Canada without a visa or other required documents;
  • have come to Canada without a valid passport or travel document.

It does not include other inadmissibilities such as:

  • failure to obtain permission to enter Canada after being deported;
  • entering Canada with a fraudulent or improperly obtained passport, travel document, or visa and who have used it for misrepresentation;
  • facing a removal order or enforcement proceedings for reasons other than the above lack of status reasons.

To apply for sponsorship as a person without immigration status, the couple must go through the regular Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada application process.

Learn more about Canadian family sponsorship

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at media@canadavisa.com
Related articles
Express Entry: IRCC invites 1,499 candidates in latest draw
Candidates have received ITAs in that latest Express Entry draw
Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association recommends IRPA legislation reform
A young family at home having fun on sofa.
IRCC to introduce advanced analytics and automation to speed up processing for spousal and partner sponsorship
A couple outside in the snow on a winter day.
IRCC now issuing invitations for Parents and Grandparents Program
A mother and son smiling towards the camera, with the backdrop of a city behind them.
Top Stories
Report: Approval, processing rates drop after IRCC’s student cap
IRCC ends flagpoling services for PGWP applicants
British Columbia makes Entrepreneur Regional Pilot Program permanent
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Provinces
British Columbia makes Entrepreneur Regional Pilot Program permanent
A scenic view of a lake and boats parked in the foreground of a mountain.
Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan invite candidates for nomination in latest draws
Aerial view of Toronto Financial District at sunset, Ontario, Canada.
Three provinces select candidates in latest provincial immigration results
B.C., Quebec and Manitoba have invited candidates in the latest provincial immigration draws.
British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec issue provincial immigration nominations in latest draws
Skytrain bridge in British Columbia connecting Surrey and New Westminster over the Fraser River.
Link copied to clipboard