How to Sponsor Your Spouse or Partner to Canada

Canadian spousal sponsorship is a pathway designed to reunite families, allowing Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner to live with them in Canada permanently. The process aims to uphold family values by reducing the separation time between loved ones, ultimately fostering a supportive environment for newcomers. This sponsorship program is a testament to Canada’s commitment to keeping families together, recognizing the emotional and social benefits that come with family reunification.

Through this blog post, we aim to provide a detailed guide on how to navigate the spousal sponsorship process to bring your spouse or partner to Canada. Whether you are a citizen or a permanent resident, understanding the eligibility criteria, required documentation, and the application process is crucial for a successful sponsorship application. As you read on, you will gain insights into the requirements, processing time, and other essential aspects of spousal sponsorship in Canada. This knowledge will equip you with the confidence needed to embark on this significant journey towards family reunification in Canada.

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Understanding Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Spousal sponsorship in Canada is designed to allow Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to become permanent residents of Canada. This program is part of Canada’s commitment to family reunification, which acknowledges the strength and support that family can provide to individuals, making their integration into Canadian society smoother and priority for the Canadian government.


The primary purpose of spousal sponsorship is to provide a legal pathway for couples to live together in Canada. It’s essential to distinguish spousal sponsorship from other types of family sponsorship programs. While spousal sponsorship focuses on partners and spouses, other family sponsorship programs may include parents, grandparents, or dependent children.


Inland Sponsorship


Inland sponsorship is an option when the spouse or partner being sponsored is already living in Canada at the time of the application. This route allows the sponsored individual to remain in Canada with their sponsor while their application is being processed.


Specific Situation for Inland Sponsorship: Consider a scenario where a woman from outside Canada has moved to Canada on a work permit. She marries a Canadian citizen. Since she is already living in Canada, her spouse would apply for inland spousal sponsorship to help her obtain permanent residency. During the application process, she can continue living and working in Canada. Inland sponsorship also offers an open work permit option for the sponsored spouse or partner, allowing them to work in Canada while awaiting the decision on their application.


Outland Sponsorship


Outland sponsorship is applicable when the sponsored spouse or partner is living outside Canada at the time of application. While the application is being processed, the sponsored individual may continue to live outside Canada. However, they can, under certain circumstances, visit Canada.


Specific Situation for Outland Sponsorship: Imagine a Canadian citizen is working overseas and marries someone in the country he is working in. If he decides to move back to Canada and wants to bring his spouse with him, he would apply for outland spousal sponsorship while his spouse remains outside Canada. Once the application is approved, his spouse can join him in Canada as a permanent resident.


The choice between inland and outland sponsorship largely depends on the couple’s living situation and their personal preferences. It’s advisable to understand the implications, advantages, and disadvantages of each pathway before deciding which sponsorship route to take

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Both the sponsor and the sponsored individual must meet specific requirements set by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to be eligible for Canadian spousal sponsorship.

For the sponsor, they must be at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and be living in Canada or have plans to live in Canada once the sponsored spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident. The sponsor must also sign an agreement to provide for the basic needs of their spouse or partner, and in some cases, the sponsor may need to prove their financial ability to provide support.

The sponsored spouse or partner also needs to meet certain criteria. They must be at least 18 years old and have a genuine relationship with the sponsor. The relationship can be a marriage, common-law partnership, or conjugal partnership. It’s important that marriages are valid under the laws of the country where it took place as well as under Canadian law. For common-law and conjugal partners, they must prove they have been in a relationship with the sponsor for at least one year.

The eligibility criteria extend to the type of relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored individual. The relationship must be proven to be genuine and not primarily for the purpose of gaining immigration status in Canada. Various documents and interviews may be used to assess the genuineness of the relationship.

Understanding and meeting these eligibility criteria are crucial steps towards a seamless spousal sponsorship process. If there are concerns regarding eligibility for spousal sponsorship, it’s wise to consult with immigration professionals. At Canada By Choice, we provide personalized advice to ensure you comply with all requirements, making your journey towards family reunification in Canada smoother and well-informed.

British Columbia PNP

The Application Process for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Preparing the Necessary Documentation


The first step in the spousal sponsorship process is gathering and preparing all the necessary documentation. The documents required may include identification papers, marriage certificates, proof of genuine relationship, financial documents, and others as specified by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It’s crucial to ensure that all documents are current, accurate, and translated into English or French if necessary, with a certified translation. Organizing the documents as per the checklist provided by IRCC will help streamline the process and minimize delays.


Submitting the Application


Once all the necessary documentation is prepared and organized, the next step is to fill out the application forms. These forms need to be completed accurately, with all questions answered honestly and in detail where necessary. After completing the forms and organizing the documents, the application package is then submitted to the appropriate IRCC office. It’s advisable to keep copies of all forms and documents submitted for personal records. Following the submission guidelines accurately is essential to avoid any processing delays.


What to Expect During the Processing Period


The processing period for spousal sponsorship applications can vary depending on several factors including the volume of applications received by IRCC, the complexity of your case, and the completeness of your application. During this time, the sponsor and the sponsored individual may be asked for additional information or documents. It’s important to respond to such requests promptly. Furthermore, there might be interviews scheduled by the IRCC to verify the genuineness of the relationship and other application details. Keeping a clear line of communication with the IRCC, checking the application status regularly, and adhering to any additional requests in a timely manner will contribute to a smoother processing period.

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Processing Time for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship


The processing time for spousal sponsorship applications can vary. On average, the processing time can range from a few months to over a year, depending on several factors. It’s important to check the latest processing times on the IRCC’s website to get an accurate estimate based on current conditions. The processing time begins from the day the complete application is received by the IRCC to the day a final decision is made. Making sure you are truthful and completed the proper documentation is very important to avoid delays.


What is the Success Rate of Spousal Sponsorship in Canada?


The success rate of spousal sponsorship in Canada can fluctuate based on various factors such as the completeness of the application, the genuineness of the relationship, and the adherence to the eligibility criteria by both the sponsor and the sponsored individual. While precise success rates may not be publicly available, it’s generally understood that well-prepared and genuine applications have a higher chance of approval. It’s advisable to check with the IRCC or consult with immigration professionals for more personalized insights regarding success rates.


It’s advisable to consult with the IRCC or reach out to us at Canada By Choice for more personalized insights regarding success rates. Our experienced team can provide tailored guidance to enhance your understanding of the spousal sponsorship process and its success rates.

Canada Visa

Special Circumstances for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Can I Sponsor My Spouse to Canada Without PR?

In order to sponsor your spouse or partner to Canada, you need to either be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada. However, if you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you are required to show that you plan to live in Canada when your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident​.

If your spouse or partner is already living in Canada but does not have legal status, they can still be sponsored under the In-Canada Class, also known as Inland Sponsorship, if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident​. However, in some cases, the sponsored spouse or partner can apply for an open work permit if they are living with you in Canada, but this is only possible if their application for permanent residence is confirmed as complete​.

In summary, you do need to have a certain status in Canada (either as a citizen, a permanent resident to sponsor your spouse or partner to Canada​.

Other Unique Scenarios and How to Navigate Them

  1. Sponsoring a Spouse with a Dependent Child: When sponsoring a spouse with a dependent child, additional documentation and procedures are required to ensure the child’s best interests are considered. It’s crucial to follow the IRCC guidelines regarding the sponsorship of dependent children.

  2. Sponsoring a Spouse Who is Inadmissible: There could be instances where the spouse or partner being sponsored is deemed inadmissible to Canada due to criminal history, health reasons, or other factors. In such cases, seeking professional guidance can provide a pathway to overcome these inadmissibility issues.

  3. Sponsoring a Spouse While Living Abroad: As mentioned earlier, Canadian citizens can sponsor their spouse or partner while living abroad. Ensuring that the intent to live in Canada is well-documented is key to navigating this scenario.

  4. Sponsoring a Spouse with Previous Immigration Issues: If the spouse or partner being sponsored has had previous immigration issues, it’s crucial to disclose this information fully and seek professional advice on how to best navigate the situation.

  5. Sponsoring a Spouse During a Separation: Sponsoring a spouse during a period of separation can be complex and may require additional documentation to prove the genuineness of the relationship.

Each unique scenario comes with its own set of challenges and requirements. It’s advisable to seek professional guidance to navigate these special circumstances successfully. At Canada By Choice, we are equipped to handle a variety of complex situations and provide personalized solutions to meet your spousal sponsorship needs, ensuring a smoother journey through the immigration process.

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

Professional Help for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship


The spousal sponsorship process in Canada can be challenging, particularly when faced with Unclear Eligibility or Complex Cases involving inadmissibility or previous immigration issues. Professional guidance becomes invaluable, especially during Documentation Challenges or Application Delays, ensuring that all steps are correctly followed for a successful application. At Canada By Choice, we offer a range of services including Personalized Consultation, Documentation Preparation, and Continuous Support through the application submission and any subsequent IRCC requests. Our goal is to streamline the spousal sponsorship process, providing professional guidance every step of the way, ensuring you have a reliable partner to help navigate the complexities of the spousal sponsorship process for a successful outcome.

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship
The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

About Us

Canada By Choice is a Canadian Immigration Firm based in Windsor, Ontario. Founded in 2007, Canada By Choice Immigration is widely considered as one of the most respected immigration firms in our region. We have earned our reputation as a world class firm by providing dedication and personalized service to each and every unique case before us.


Verify our Membership number here. Membership number: R530015

Stay Connected

More Updates

Ottawa to Override Quebec’s Immigration Limit for Family Reunification

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller plans to override Quebec’s immigration cap to expedite family reunification. Despite requests to Quebec to increase its family reunification limit, currently set at about 10,000 applicants yearly, the federal government will now issue permanent residence permits beyond this cap.

Manitoba Immigration

How to Immigrate to Manitoba

Manitoba, with its diverse geographic ranging from northern tundra to fertile southern farmlands, plays an important role in Canada’s geography and economy. Manitoba is a hub for industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and mining, contributing significantly to Canada’s economic stability. For those considering making Manitoba their new home, the province offers inviting immigration programs aimed at supporting its continued growth and multicultural identity.


Quebec Immigration Programs

Quebec, Canada’s largest province by area, is known for its vibrant culture, diverse geography ranging from forests to rivers, and a robust economy anchored in technology, aerospace, and natural resources. Its distinct society, with a majority French-speaking population, contributes to a unique demographic profile. Quebec possesses a unique degree of autonomy in its immigration policies, setting it apart from other Provinces.

321 Tecumseh Rd. E Windsor, Ontario, Canada N8X 2R5

(©) 2021 Canada By Choice . All rights reserved.