Canada Spousal Sponsorship 2022

Canada Spousal Sponsorship 2022

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Spousal Sponsorship in Canada

You might be wondering, how do I bring my wife to Canada? Or, can I sponsor my common-law partner, or what is even a conjugal partner? You might have some common questions about this topic and the answer to those questions might be – Canada Spousal Sponsorship. Let’s read on to learn more.

Spousal Sponsorship is a Canadian immigration program created to unite spouses or legal partners in Canada. According to this program, a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident can sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. 

However, there are some regulations and restrictions to follow to be eligible for this program. This article attempts to shed light on those regulations and eligibility criteria regarding the Canada Spousal Sponsorship program. 

Who can apply for Spousal Sponsorship in Canada?


To be eligible as a sponsor to bring your spouse or common-law partner, or a conjugal partner you have to be a Canadian citizen, Registered Indian, or a permanent resident of Canada who is at least 18 years of age or older.  You can sponsor

  • your spouse or common-law partner who lives with you in Canada, and their dependent children
  • your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who lives overseas, and their dependent children
  • You can not receive social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;
  • You must also be able to show that you can provide basic needs for yourself, your spouse or partner, and your spouse or partner’s dependent child(ren) (if applicable)

The following topic clarifies whom you can sponsor under this program which also explains the definition of a spouse, common-law partner, and conjugal partner:


Whom can I sponsor under the Spousal Sponsorship Program?


Sponsoring a Spouse

By definition, a spouse is your significant other in a marriage. You can sponsor a person as your spouse if your marriage is a legally valid civil marriage. According to Canadian immigration law, a marriage will be considered a marriage if it took place legally where it happened or if Canadian law accepts it as legal. 

A spouse can be sponsored regardless of how long (or how little) the spouses have lived together. Spouses can be sponsored from inside or outside Canada.

One of the most determining aspects of a successful spousal sponsorship is the legitimacy of the marriage or common-law partnership. 

How to prove a marital relationship

It is your responsibility, as the sponsor, to establish the legitimacy of your relationship with the person you are going to sponsor by presenting evidence such as

  • Photographs of wedding, honeymoon, travel, etc. ;
  • Record of communication via email and phone call recordings; and
  • Affidavits supporting the relationship

Sponsoring a Common-law Partner

By definition, common-law partners are two people who are or have been cohabiting in the same household for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship. 

How to prove a common-law partnership

Proving the existence of a common-law partnership can be trickier than proving a legal marriage because, in this case, there are no wedding photographs or certificates to submit as evidence. Therefore, the point here is to prove that you and your partner have or intend to have a life together as a couple. The following documents are used in general: 

  • Joint bank accounts or any other joint accounts;
  • Co-ownership of property;
  • Record of cohabitation i.e. shared household expenditures and rentals;
  • Official documentation listing the same address for both parties like IDs; and
  • Telephone calls, emails, etc.

Sponsoring a Conjugal Partner

You can sponsor a conjugal partner if you’ve been in a genuine 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.

If you’re applying in the conjugal partner class, the person being sponsored cannot be living in Canada. 

In this case also, just like the previous two categories, you have to submit a substantial amount of evidence to show that you are genuinely in a relationship with the person you intend to sponsor.


Can I sponsor someone if I live outside Canada?

If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you can be eligible for sponsoring someone. You must establish that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored partner becomes a permanent resident. 

If you are a permanent resident living outside of Canada, you can not be eligible to be a sponsor. 


How much money do I have to earn to be eligible for spousal sponsorship?

In general, there is no low-income-cut-off (LICO) if you are sponsoring a spouse, partner, or dependent child. However, if the person you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own, you must meet a minimum LICO score. Each year this minimum LICO score is determined by the Canadian government.

Can my spouse or partner work in Canada?

Your spouse or partner may be able to apply for an Open Work Permit while applying for permanent residency. They must include a completed application pack and the appropriate fee indicating that they are applying for an open work permit.

What are my obligations as a sponsor?

Let’s get back to the very basics of this program. What does sponsoring someone mean? Sponsoring someone means that you are pledging to support them financially for a certain period of time. You have to sign an undertaking agreement that legally binds you to support them with their basic needs which are as follows:

  • Food, shelter, clothing, and daily necessities. 
  • Dental care, eye care, and other healthcare needs that aren’t covered by public health services.

The people you sponsor are not eligible to receive any social assistance or financial help from the government. If anyone that you sponsored, takes any social assistance while being under your sponsorship, then you’ll have to pay back the money to the government. 

The undertaking will stay in effect for the length of the undertaking period, even if your situation changes. 

This topic leads us to the next one where we discuss the criteria that can cause non-eligibility for the spousal sponsorship program.

You May Not Be Able To Sponsor If You

  • signed an undertaking for a previous spouse or partner and it hasn’t been three years since they became a permanent resident,
  • did not pay back any social assistance given by the government of Canada to the person you sponsored, which 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 bankrupt
  • were convicted of
    • an offense of a sexual nature,
    • a violent crime,
    • an offense against a relative that caused bodily harm or
    • threatened or attempted to commit any of the above offences—depending on the nature of the offense, how long ago it happened and if you received a pardon
  • were previously sponsored as a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner by a sponsor 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 the decision is pending.


It is not uncommon to have confusion regarding these regulations. It can appear overwhelming or you can be in a complex situation where you need an expert opinion to find the right solution for your unique case. 

If you need any such help and guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us and one of our licensed Immigration Consultants can help you to successfully proceed with your Spousal Sponsorship application. 

For an Assessment of your profile  use this Assessment Form or book an appointment  for consultation .

Add Comment