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.
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.”
The policy on sponsoring “lack of status” spouses or common-law partners includes people who:
It does not include other inadmissibilities such as:
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.
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