How to sponsor your partner for Canadian immigration
Canada is aiming to expedite the processing of 18,000 spousal sponsorship applications by the end of this year.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made this significant announcement on Thursday, outlining the innovative steps it is taking to try and reunite loved ones as quickly as possible.
In recent years, Canada has been targeting some 70,000 new immigrants to obtain permanent residence each year under its spousal, partner, and children family class sponsorship category. This is due to the Canadian government viewing family reunification as a top priority.
Spousal sponsorship application processing has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, however the new measures announced by IRCC should help to alleviate backlogs.
If you are looking to submit a new spousal sponsorship application, here is key information that you need to know.
About the process
Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to obtain permanent residence.
The Canadian citizen or permanent resident (the "sponsor") and the foreign national (the "sponsored person") must be approved by IRCC for the sponsored person to obtain permanent residence.
The sponsor and sponsored person must prove to IRCC that their relationship falls under one of these three categories:
- Common-law partner
- Conjugal partner
Canada recognizes same-sex marriages. Same-sex partners can apply under one of these three categories so long as they meet all of IRCC's eligibility criteria.
IRCC's eligibility criteria
You can sponsor your partner if:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
- If you are a Canadian citizen living abroad, you must prove that you plan to live in Canada with the sponsored person once they become a permanent resident.
- A permanent resident is eligible to sponsor their partner if the permanent resident resides in Canada.
- You can prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than having a disability.
- You can financially provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person.
Who you can sponsor
- Spouse: Your spouse must be legally married to you and at least 18 years old.
- Common-law partner: Is not legally married to you, is at least 18 years old, and has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months.
- Conjugal partner: Is not legally married to you, is it at least 18 years old, has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year, lives outside of Canada, and can not live with you in their country of residence or marry you due to significant legal and immigration reasons. Such reasons can include their marital status (e.g., they are still married to someone else in a country where divorce is not possible), their sexual orientation (e.g., same-sex relationships are not accepted in their country), persecution (e.g., your relationship is between religious groups in a country where this not accepted). You must prove you could not live together or get married in your conjugal partner's country.
How to apply
There are two applications to sponsor your partner, which IRCC asks you to submit together at the same time. They are the sponsorship application and the permanent residence application.
Step 1: Get the application package from IRCC.
Step 2: Pay your application fees. Most times, these fees include processing fees, the right of permanent residence fee, and biometrics fee, all of which you need to pay online on IRCC's website.
Step 3: Submit your application via mail to IRCC.
Once your application is successful
After their application has been successful, each couple is required to continue to fulfil certain obligations:
- The sponsor is financially responsible for the sponsored person for three years.
- Sponsored persons are forbidden from sponsoring someone else for five years after they have been sponsored for permanent residence.
Do you want to sponsor your loved one?
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