Spousal Sponsorship

The Government of Canada has committed to keeping families and spouses together with the Spousal or Common-Law sponsorship programs, where most eligible partners can obtain permanent residence in Canada within a 12-month processing period.

  • Common-Law Partners
  • Inland Spousal Sponsorship
  • Outland Spousal Sponsorship

There are two components to a spousal sponsorship application. Both the sponsor, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and their spouse must be approved by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the sponsored person to be granted permanent residence.

Common-Law Partners

In some cases, you do not need to be legally married in order to be eligible to sponsor your loved one to come to Canada. Canada recognizes common-law partnership if you have been continuously living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. Travel and brief periods apart will not affect your eligibility, as long as you can prove you have spent the majority of your time as common-law partners living in the same household. Providing IRCC with proof such as joint bank account information, receipts, joint residential leases, and other documents proving you live at the same address will be integral to your common-law sponsorship application.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship

If you and your spouse are living together in Canada while they are on a valid study permit, work permit, or visitor’s visa, you can apply for inland spousal sponsorship from within Canada. To make matters easier on your family and finances, the sponsored person may be eligible to apply for a spousal open work permit at the same time they submit for inland spousal sponsorship, which will allow them to work and make a living in Canada while their application is processed.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship

As wonderful as it is to have your spouse living with you in Canada while their application is being processed, the unfortunate reality is that couples are often living in separate countries when they apply.  Outland spousal sponsorship stream gives spouses or common-law partners the opportunity to apply for permanent residence while living abroad. The sponsored person may still obtain a temporary visa to travel to Canada while their application is being processed.

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