You and your partner are ready to start the incredible journey of immigrating to Canada. Whether you are applying on behalf of your beloved spouse or you are the beloved spouse, it will be helpful to know what the requirements are to be eligible for a spousal visa for Canada. It doesn’t matter which visa or immigration program you are coming to Canada on; if you have a common law partner, they may be eligible to come live with you and can even work in Canada.
Spousal Visa Requirements
Your Eligibility to Sponsor Your Spouse
You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who is at least 18 years old. You must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act. You must also be at least 18 years old.
Whenever you sponsor a family member to Canada, you must sign an undertaking in which you promise to provide financial support for them.
You may also be eligible to sponsor your dependent child if you're sponsoring an adopted child. If you're coming to Canada for a short time and want your spouse, partner or child to come with you, find out if they can come with you.
If your spouse or common-law companion is in Canada, you should apply under the following circumstances:
- Resides with you in Canada,
- Has a current temporary resident visa, or;
- Is exempt from this requirement due to a public policy or;
- Eligible for an open work permit so they can work while the application is being processed.
Usually, there is no low-income cut-off (LICO) for sponsorships of a spouse, partner, or dependent child. However, you must achieve a minimum LICO number, which is set by the Canadian government each year, if either your spouse or partner, who you are sponsoring, has a dependent child who has dependent children of their own, or if the dependent child you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own.
Your Obligations as a sponsor
When you accept to be a sponsor, you are required to sign an undertaking pledging to provide money for your spouse or partner's and their dependent children's basic needs. These basic needs can include dental care, eye care, and other health needs not covered by public health services, as well as food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities of daily life.
You must confirm that the individuals you sponsor won't need to turn to the government for financial assistance before you execute the undertaking agreement.
The undertaking is a legally-binding pledge of support, so even if your circumstances change, you must continue to provide for the applicant(s) during the undertaking period. Even if your situation changes, the undertaking will remain in force for the entire undertaking period.
Length of The Undertaking
For a spousal visa, the length of the undertaking must be three years from the day your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident.
How to Apply
Follow these steps to apply for a spousal visa:
- Step 1. Check Your Eligibility
- Step 2. Gather documents
- Step 3. Complete the application
- Step 4. Pay the fees
- Step 5. Check your application to avoid common mistakes
- Step 6. Submit the application
Canada Spouse Visa Processing Time
Applications for sponsorship go through the entire processing cycle in about a year. Normally, they don't take much longer than a year to process, but it depends on the specifics of your situation.
The processing of your case will be delayed and take longer if it is complicated or the visa agency needs more evidence of your relationship.
Making sure that your sponsorship application is completed accurately the first time is the best way to guarantee that it is processed as quickly as feasible.
In order to submit your application, you’ll have to pay several application fees, such as the fees for sponsorship, processing fees and right to permanent residence fees. Ensure that you pay the correct fees by contacting a professional.
How to Fill out the Forms
There are several forms below that you have to fill in. Each form is made up different sections. They must all be filled in as accurately and honestly as possible. In order to ensure these forms are accurately filled out, contact an RCIC.
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM 1344)
- Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM 5481)
- Financial Evaluation form (IMM 1283)
- Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation Form (IMM 5532)
How to Avoid Common Mistakes
A number of factors will be taken into account by visa officers to determine whether your connection is sincere. They will take into account some more conventional aspects, such as pictures from your wedding that show members of your family in attendance. Others may be more specific to the local societal norms.
If your relationship is unusual, it is advised that you provide more proof of your relationship's sincerity. Letters of justification may also be useful in explaining to an immigration officer why your relationship might not exhibit all the same signs as a marriage more typical to your culture.
- Always check country specific requirements before submitting your application.
- Make sure you include a valid marriage certificate or proof of registration of your marriage with your application
- Ensure you submit a copy of your birth certificate and your spouse’s
- Must be able to provide an original document during the processing of your application if an IRCC Officer determines it is necessary.
- Finally, make sure all your email addresses on the forms are correct as errors will cause delays
The best way to avoid making mistakes is to seek the guidance of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), who will ensure you are provided with the correct information and advise you on which documents you will need.
Benefits of Moving to Canada with your Partner
Open work permit: Applying as a sponsored spouse or common-law partner in Canada
The spouses of some current work permit holders under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will now be eligible for Open Work Permits (OWP), according to an announcement made by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on December 2nd, 2022.
Study in Canada
A good option you may consider is to study in Canada while your partner is working. If you are concerned about the cost of tuition, note that you may also be eligible to work a part time job while you are studying as long as it is less than 40 hours a week.
One of the most preferred ways the Immigration and Refugee Council of Canada grants foreigners permanent residency in Canada is through one of the many international graduate immigration streams. Nearly every province or territory has an immigration stream dedicated to helping foreigners who graduate from a designated Canadian post-secondary school become permanent residents.
Working in Canada
Once you arrive in Canada, if you can secure a job offer, you will also be eligible for an open work permit. This way you can contribute to both your household and the Canadian economy, building your case for permanent residency in Canada with every passing day.
Bringing a Dependent to Canada
If you are applying for permanent residency in Canada, regardless of whether it is inland or outland sponsorship, it is imperative that you add your partner as a dependent on your application. It is highly recommended that you do not apply separately. There is a lot more administration, double the costs and the chance that one of you may be approved and the other not. When applying as a couple, you can also pool your resources to make your application more attractive, for example assets in your name, qualifications and so on.
Changes and Updates to The Spousal Sponsorship Application Process
For the majority of permanent immigration programs, including both inland and outland spousal and common-law partner support, IRCC moved toward 100% online applications.
Proving your relationship
The proof that must be provided by the applicant should demonstrate the genuineness of the relationship, whether you are married, common-law partners, or conjugal partners. For example, if you are married spouses who can demonstrate that you have a child together are married for the first time, are currently living together, and have been married for at least two years, you will not be required to submit additional evidence of your relationship.
On the other hand, if you are required to submit additional evidence of your relationship, there are no limitations on how many pages or pieces of supporting material you can submit. For example, you can submit a maximum of 20 photographs to support your relationship, which should be taken at different times and places. Similarly, you can submit a maximum of 10 pages of letters, text messages, emails, or social media conversations.
Medical exams no longer need to be submitted upfront, IRCC will send instructions when the medical exam results are needed. Likewise, the police certificate requirement has been streamlined, meaning you will need to submit them from the country where you are currently living in, and the country where you have spent most of your adult life since reaching the age of 18.
In spousal sponsorships, the legitimacy of the relationship is the key element to being accepted. The Spousal Sponsorship Program was designed in a way that it doesn’t matter where you get married as long as your marriage is legally recognized in that country and in Canada. In terms of marriage being recognized in Canada, it is not so much the location, but the age and consent of the parties getting married that must comply with Canadian laws as well. For example, polygamous marriages forced marriages, and/or under-age marriages even if it’s legal in another country, won’t be considered legal in Canada.
Can My Spouse Move With Me To Canada While We Wait For Spousal Sponsorship?
Although no special visa is available to applicants anticipating a decision on their sponsorship application, your spouse or partner may visit Canada while you await approval. If a permanent residency application is already pending, some spousal sponsorship candidates may have trouble getting a temporary visa.
Will I Need To Do An Interview for Spousal Sponsorship?
Immigration interviews are uncommon and more the exception than the norm in spousal sponsorship situations. In spite of this, spousal sponsorship immigration interviews frequently take place when there are gaps in the documentation of the relationship, discrepancies between the information provided on the forms and the supporting documentation, age and religious differences, a short time between meeting your spouse and getting married, and little to no cohabitation.
What Documents Do I Need For Spousal Sponsorship?
- Correct and completed application forms
- Proof of current legal status in Canada
- Both Identity documents
- Marriage certificate (in a legal marriage is present)
- Police Certificate and Clearances
- Medical certificate (for your spouse)
- Paid application fees
- Digital photos
- Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation Questionnaire
- Support documents like wedding invitations and photos
- Birth certificates or adoption records for any children you and your spouse may have together
- Registration of marriage with relevant governments (your home country, for example)