You may be able to sponsor your spouse or partner and dependent children for Canadian permanent residence (PR). The application process involves the submission of:
- Your Application to Sponsor your spouse or partner, or dependent child, and
- Your spouse or partner, or dependent child’s Application for Permanent Residence.
CHOOSE THE CLASS OF APPLICATION
- If you’re sponsoring your conjugal partner or dependent child, you must apply under the Family Class. IRCC processes these applications outside Canada.
- If you’re sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner, you may do so under the Family Class or the
or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class.
Apply under the Family Class if:
- the person you want to sponsor lives outside Canada
- the person you want to sponsor currently lives with you in Canada but doesn’t plan to stay in Canada while IRCC is processing the application
- you plan to appeal if IRCC refuses the application
- you’re sponsoring your conjugal partner or dependent child
Apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class if your spouse or common-law partner:
- lives with you in Canada
- has valid immigration status in Canada
- would like to apply for, and qualifies for, an Open Work Permit so that they can work while IRCC is processing the application
BECOME A SPONSOR
You can become a sponsor if you are:
- at least 18 years old
- a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a registered Indian in Canada
- living in Canada:
- If you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident
- You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside of Canada
- able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and
- able to show that you can provide basic needs for yourself, your spouse or partner, your spouse or partner’s dependent children (if applicable), your dependent children (if you’re sponsoring only your dependent child).
Note: In most cases, there is no requirement of proving that your income meets or exceeds the low-income-cut-off (LICO) for a spouse, partner, or dependent child sponsorships. However, if the spouse or partner you’re sponsoring has a dependent child who has dependent children, or the dependent child you are sponsoring has dependent children, your income must meet or exceed LICO.
If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s conditions to be a sponsor.
You may not be able to sponsor if you:
- are applying to sponsor a spouse or partner, but you signed an undertaking for a previous spouse or partner, and it hasn’t been three years since they became a permanent resident,
- previously sponsored someone and did not pay back any social assistance that they received while the undertaking was in place.
- are in default on an immigration loan or a performance bond
- did not pay court-ordered alimony or child support
- are an undischarged bankrupt
- were convicted of an offence of a sexual nature, a violent crime, an offence against a relative that caused bodily harm or threatened or attempted to commit any of the above offence - depending on the nature of the offence, how long ago it happened, and if you received a pardon
- are sponsoring a spouse or partner and you were previously sponsored as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and became a permanent resident of Canada less than five years ago,
- are under a removal order,
- are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory, or prison,
- have already applied to sponsor your current spouse or partner and haven’t received a decision.
Your obligations as a sponsor
When you agree to be a sponsor, you must sign an undertaking promising to give financial support for the basic needs of your spouse or partner and dependent children.
Basic needs are:
- food, clothing, shelter, and other for everyday living,
- dental care, eye care, and health needs that aren’t covered by public health services.
Before signing the undertaking agreement, you must make sure the people you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll have to pay back what they received during the time you are legally responsible for them.
Length of undertaking
The length of undertaking for residents of Quebec is different from that for the rest of Canada. For sponsorships in all parts of Canada except for Quebec, it is as under:
- You’re sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner: The length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident.
- You’re sponsoring a dependent child over 22 years of age: The length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day your dependent child (or the dependent child of your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner) over 22 years of age becomes a permanent resident.
- You’re sponsoring a dependent child under 22 years of age: The length of the undertaking is 10 years from the day your dependent child (or the dependent child of your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner) under 22 years of age becomes a permanent resident, or until the child becomes 22 years old, whichever comes first. The length of undertaking for residents of Quebec is slightly different.
WHO CAN BE SPONSORED BY YOU
You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who is at least 18 years old, or your dependent children. The person and their family members must pass background, security, and medical checks.
Sponsoring your Spouse, Common-Law Partner, or Conjugal Partner
If you’re married
You can sponsor the person as your spouse if your marriage is a legally valid civil marriage. IRCC recognizes same-gender marriages for immigration purposes, where the marriage:
- was legally performed in Canada, or
- if performed in another country, is recognized by both Canada and the other country
Note: IRCC no longer recognizes marriages performed outside of Canada by proxy, telephone, fax, Internet, and other forms of marriage where one or both persons were not physically present at the ceremony.
If you’re in a common-law relationship
You can sponsor the person as your common-law partner (same or opposite gender) if you’ve been living or have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship.
If you’re in a conjugal relationship
A conjugal partner is a person who is living outside Canada, is in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year, and could not live with the sponsor as a couple because of reasons beyond their control (for example, immigration barrier, religious reasons, or sexual orientation). This term applies to both opposite and same-gender couples.
You can sponsor a conjugal partner if:
- there is a significant degree of attachment between the two of you, implying not just a physical relationship but a mutually interdependent relationship, and
- You’ve been in a genuine (real) relationship for at least 12 months where marriage or cohabitation (living together) hasn’t been possible because of barriers such as sexual orientation, religious faith, etc.
Sponsoring your Spouse or Common-Law Partner who lives with you in Canada
You can apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class if your spouse or common-law partner cohabits (lives) with you in Canada and has temporary resident status. A public policy also covers spouses and common-law partners who will be assessed for permanent residence even if they have no legal immigration status in Canada.
Your spouse or common-law partner can’t become a permanent resident in Canada if they’re inadmissible for any reason other than not having legal immigration status in Canada. Before applying, your spouse or common-law partner in Canada must resolve any such situation that made them inadmissible.
Working and studying – spouses and common-law partners in Canada
If your spouse or common-law partner already has a work or study permit, they may continue to work or study as long as it is valid. It is illegal to work or study without authorization from IRCC.
- If your spouse or partner is already working or studying in Canada and would like to continue, they must apply for an extension before their work or study permit expires.
- Leaving Canada can automatically cancel temporary resident status as a visitor, student, or worker. If your spouse or common-law partner leaves Canada before becoming a permanent resident, they may not be allowed to come back. It is especially true if they need a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA to enter Canada. If your spouse or partner can’t return to Canada, you must submit a new overseas sponsorship application.
If your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with you and is applying as a member of the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class but doesn’t have a work permit, they can apply for an open work permit with their application for PR. They can even do so later on.
If your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with you, is applying as a member of the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, and want to apply for a study permit, they will have to wait. IRCC will advise them in writing when they’ll be eligible for it.
Sponsoring your Dependent Children
You can sponsor your dependent children outside Canada who meet the following definition:
Definitions of dependent children
Your children or the children of your spouse or common-law partner qualify as dependants if they meet the requirements below on the day IRCC receives your complete application:
- They’re under 22 years old, and
- They don’t have a spouse or common-law partner
Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:
- They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
- They are unable to support themselves financially because of a mental or physical condition
Except for age, dependants must continue to meet these requirements until IRCC finishes processing your application.
Note: If the person you are sponsoring (or their child) has one or more children in the sole custody of their other parent, you must still declare the child in the application. Even if there’s a written agreement or court order to show that the sponsored person doesn’t have custody or responsibility, you must list the child on the application, and this child must do a medical exam. If done so, the sponsored person may be able to apply for the child as a member of the family class if custody or living arrangements change in the future. If a permanent resident doesn’t declare all their family members on their application, they could risk losing their permanent resident status.
Get in Touch for more information about sponsoring your spouse or partner and your dependent children or for assistance in applying.