Spousal Sponsorship – Bring Your Husband or Wife to Canada

Spousal sponsorship program paves the way for spouses and partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to immigrate to Canada.  Sponsorship requirements and process depend on many factors. We provide an overview of how to bring a wife, husband, or common-law partner to Canada.

Who Can Be Sponsored?

Spousal sponsorship application requirements vary depending on the type of relationship. There are three (3) categories:



A spouse includes a husband or wife to whom a sponsor is legally married. They may live in or outside of Canada. Therefore, sponsorship outside Canada is a possible option.

Common-law husband or wife


Common-law partners are the ones who are not legally married. The key is that a couple must have been living together for at least one (1) year, continuously and without any long periods apart. Either can leave another just for a short and temporary period and only for family, work or business reasons. Common-law of Candian permanent residents can only reside in Canada, therefore, inland sponsorship would be an option.

Conjugal partner

As compared to a marriage or a common-law partnership, a sponsor can not marry or live together with the conjugal partner because of the barriers beyond their control. Such a reason could well be the immigration barrier, religious, sexual orientation, war, etc. Still, for a conjugal relationship, a significant degree of attachment for at least one year must be proved. Conjugal person can only reside outside Canada, separately from Canadian citizen or permanent resident.


Requirements for a Sponsored Person

A sponsored person is called a principal applicant in a sponsorship application, and must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be admissible to Canada (read about inadmissibility)
  • be in a genuine relationship with a sponsor (i.e., wasn’t entered into just to get permanent resident status in Canada). Bad faith marriage, or not genuine in other words, is one of the most common reasons for spousal sponsorship refusal.

Who Is Eligible Sponsor?

A sponsor must meet certain eligibility requirements of age, status in Canada, and financial sufficiency:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident living in Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian. Canadian citizens living outside Canada are still eligible. This is subject to proving they plan to live in Canada when a sponsored person becomes a permanent resident. However, a permanent resident living outside Canada is not eligible.
  • provide for the basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, of a spouse or partner. Importantly, a sponsor is not required to meet a low-income cut-off (LICO) requirement. Only if a sponsored person has a dependent child who also has one or more dependent children of their own, then the minimum income requirement for sponsorship must be met.
  • prove that he or she is not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability.

Who Can’t Become a Sponsor?

Even if all the above eligibility requirements for sponsorship are met, the existence of any of the following conditions makes a person ineligible:

  • failed to pay family support payments, an immigration loan, or a performance bond
  • failed to provide financial support for the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative and this relative received social assistance
  • is under a removal order
  • is in a jail, penitentiary, reformatory or prison
  • receives social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • is an undischarged bankrupt
  • was convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative or attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences
  • was sponsored through marriage and became a permanent resident less than five years ago
  • sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident

If a sponsor lives in Quebec , he or she must meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) approves him or her eligible. Persons living in Quebec must sign an undertaking with the province of Quebec. The Quebec ministry in charge of immigration will assess an income then.

Inland or Outland Sponsorship Applications

There are two types of Canada sponsorship applications.

If a person to be sponsored is residing in Canada, then a sponsorship inside Canada under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class will be the right option (i.e., an inland application).

If a husband or wife is living outside Canada, then a sponsorship outside Canada under the Family Class will be the right type of application (i.e., an outland application).

Even if a sponsored person lives in Canada, the right to make an outland  application (instead of inland) is still an option if:

  • A sponsored person lives in Canada but doesn’t plan to stay in Canada while the application is being processed .
  • You want to submit a spousal sponsorship appeal in case of refusal. It is only available if an outland application was made under the Family class. If an inland application has been refused, then a judicial review can be requested. 

Read more about common mistakes when sponsoring husband or wife and how to avoid refusal here. It answers FAQ about sponsorship.

Two Stages in a Spousal Sponsorship Process

First, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) assesses a sponsor’s eligibility. This first stage usually completed within four (4) months. Second, IRCC  assesses whether a sponsored person is eligible for permanent residence. In the second stage, IRCC continues processing the application for permanent residence, which usually takes another eight (8) months. Read more about sponsorship stages.

Processing Time and Fees

IRCC processes sponsorship applications within twelve (12) months. Time starts the day it receives a complete package and ends when they make a decision. It may take longer if an application is not complete. 

Government fees for sponsoring spouse will total around $1,125. The breakdown is :

  • $75 – sponsorship fee
  • $475 – principal applicant processing fee
  • $490 – the right of permanent residence fee
  • $85 – biometric fee

If you would like to know more , you may call +1 587-930-7017 or email or message us using the contact form.

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