If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you can sponsor your spouse and their dependent children for permanent residence in Canada. 

Canadian citizens abroad can also sponsor their spouse to Canada, provided that the sponsor will resume residence in Canada when their spouse becomes a permanent resident. 

If you sponsored another family member in the past, you may still be able to sponsor your spouse to Canada  now. If your previous sponsored family member collected social assistance while your undertaking was still in effect, you may have to repay your debt before you can sponsor another person.

If you were convicted in Canada of a criminal offence, you may still sponsor your new spouse, depending on the nature of the offence and the period of time passed since your conviction. 


Your married husband or wife can be sponsored for permanent residence in Canada. This includes same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. 

In some cases, when there are legal impediments to marriage, you may still be able to sponsor your conjugal partner living outside of Canada. For instance, when one of you is legally separated but not divorced, or when you are a same-sex couple and you cannot marry abroad because your partner's country of residence does not recognize same sex marriages, and your partner cannot come to Canada. 

You can also sponsor your common-law spouse living with you in Canada. If your spouse is abroad and you are in Canada, in most cases, you will be unable to claim a common-law relationship. You may still qualify as a common-law couple if you are living together outiside Canada. 


Your spouse's dependent children 22 years or younger will be included in the application. If they are not immigrating to Canada with their parent, they may still need to undergo an immigration medical examination, and provide a background check report. 


1. What are the basic requirements for spousal sponsorship to Canada?

The sponsor:
- must be 18 years of age or older,
- must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- must not be in receipt of social assistance, other than for reason of disabliity
- must not have been sponsored yourself as a spouse to Canada in the past 5 years 
- must not have pending bancruptcy process
- in certain cases, a violent criminal offence may bar you from sponsoring 
- must not be in default of a previous sponsorship and undertaking
- there is no minimum income requirement to sponsor your spouse
- you will still need to demonstrate financial ability/financial arrangements to support your spouse in Canada

The applicant:

- 18 years of age or older
- in a genuine spousal relationship with the sponsor
- not be criminally inadmissible to Canada

Those are the most common factors for a spousal sponsorship application. Other factors may also determine the eligiblity to quailify to sponsor your spouse to Canada.  

2. For how long am I financially responsible for my sponsored spouse and their child?

Sponsorship undertaking is valid for three years after your spouse becomes a permanent resident of Canada.  Underataking for children is valid for 10 years, or until the child turns 18 years of age. If your sponsored family members collect social assistance during this time, you will be required to repay your debt to the government before you could sponsor another person in the future. 


1. The application package 

You, or your representative, will first need to prepare the application package, consisting of a set of forms and a set of documents. The application forms are published and regularly updated by the immigration department. The supporting documents are: documents from the sponsor, documents from the sponsored spouse (applicant) and documents proving that the relaitonship is genuine. If you are preparing your own application, you must make sure that you carefully follow the instructions and the document checklist. If a document is unavailable, you must provide an explanation of why it is not. 

2. Where should I send my application?

When your application package is completed, signed and dated, and supported with the required documentation, you must send it to one of the two processing centres in Canada. If your spouse is applying from within Canada (which is not always the case even if the spouse is physically with you in Canada), the application is sent to the case processing centre in MIssissauga, Ontario. If your spouse is applying from outside Canada, the application is sent to the case processing centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

3. Initial Review by IRCC

When the immigration department receives your application package, it is first checked for completeness. The agents will check if your forms are current, validated (barcoded),  signed and dated, and if all the documents from the checklist are provided. If your application package passes this first review, you, or your representative will receive communication from immigration, confirming that your file has been received. You will be assigned a file number and a client ID number. If the application is deficient, the entire package will be mailed back to you. You will need to correct it before re-submitting. 

4. Processing stages

Next, the sponsor will be assessed against the eligibilty criteria for a sponsor. If all conditions are met, you will receive a sponsorship approval letter. Then your application will be transferred to another office, in Canada, or to a Canadian visa office abroad. This is where your spouse's permanent residence application will be processed. You will soon receive a request for medical examination for your spouse, and a request for biometrics.  The medical exam and the biometrics can be completed only at an office designated by immigration.

After this, your application will be reviewed by the visa officer, and they will communicate with you, or your representative, if additional documents or information are required. An interview for your spouse may or may not be required. If the application is approved, your spouse or the representative will receive communication and request for the passport to be sent to the visa office for visa issuance. The confirmation of permanent residence to Canada will be valid for a certain period of time, and your spouse must land in Canada during that time. 

Please contact us with your questions or if you need assistance with your spousal sponsorship process. 

 We offer FREE 15 minute telephone or in-person consultation about your situation.  You may also book paid 45 minute consultation.