Getting married this summer? How to sponsor your spouse for Canadian immigration

A guide to Canada’s spousal sponsorship process.

How to sponsor your spouse or partner

In order to be eligible to sponsor your spouse or partner, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are 18 years or older,
  • You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident living in Canada, or person registered under the Canadian Indian Act,
  • You are living in Canada or are a Canadian citizen planning on returning to Canada,
  • You are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than disability, and
  • You can provide for the basic needs of yourself and those of your spouse or partner (and if applicable, those of dependent children).

The sponsored person must be at least 18 years old and pass all background, security and medical checks.

In addition, you and your foreign spouse or partner must prove that you are in an authentic relationship. In the case of sponsoring a spouse, you must prove you are legally married. Alternatively, for common-law partners, you must prove you live or have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship. Similarly, if you are conjugal partners, you must prove you have been in a committed relationship for at least 12 months but have had significant barriers that have prevented you from living with one another (such as cultural, religious or immigration obstacles).

There are two options to choose from when sponsoring a spouse or partner: outland or inland sponsorship. The outland sponsorship option is for couples who are not currently living in Canada together, but rather the sponsored person lives abroad while the Canadian sponsor resides in Canada. The inland sponsorship option is for couples who are living together in Canada and the foreign spouse or partner has temporary status in Canada as a worker,student or visitor.