How to sponsor your spouse’s application for Canada immigration

Canada aims to speed up the processing of 18,000 spousal sponsorship applications by the end of this year. IRCC made the important announcement Thursday, outlining the innovative steps it is taking to try to reunite loved ones as quickly as possible.

In recent years, Canada has targeted some 70,000 new immigrants for permanent residence each year under its Spouse, Partner, and Child Family Sponsorship category. This is because the Canadian government considers family reunification a top priority.

Processing of spousal sponsorship applications has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but new measures announced by IRCC should help reduce the backlog. If you would like to submit a new spousal sponsorship application, here is the key information you need to know.

What is the process to apply for a Canada spouse visa?

Permanent residents and Canadian citizens can sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to obtain permanent residence.

The Canadian citizen or permanent resident (the “sponsor”) and the foreign national (the “sponsored person”) must be approved by IRCC for the sponsored person to obtain permanent residence.

The sponsor and sponsored person must prove to IRCC that their relationship falls into one of these three categories:

  • Conjugal partner: They are not legally married to you, is at least 18 years old and has lived with you for at least 12 consecutive months.
  • Common-law partner: Is not legally married to you, is at least 18 years old, has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year, lives outside of Canada, and cannot live with you in his country of residence or marry you for legal and immigration reasons. These reasons may include their marital status (for example, they are still married to someone else in a country where divorce is not possible), their sexual orientation (for example, same-sex relationships are not accepted in their country), persecution (for example, your relationship between religious groups in a country where this is not accepted) You must prove that you could not live together or get married in the country of your conjugal partner
  • Spouse: Your spouse must be legally married to you and be at least 18 years old.

Canada recognizes same-sex marriages. Same-sex partners can apply in any of these three categories as long as they meet all of IRCC’s eligibility criteria.

What are the eligibility criteria?

You are eligible to sponsor your partner if:

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Indian Act of Canada.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen who is not living in the country and is settled outside of the country, you must prove that you plan to live in Canada with the sponsored person once they become a PR visa holder.
  • PR holders are only eligible to sponsor when they are living in the country.
  • You can prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than your disability.
  • You can financially support the sponsored person’s basic needs.

How to apply for a Spouse Visa?

There are two sponsorship requests from your partner, which IRCC asks you to submit together at the same time. These are the sponsorship application and the application for permanent residence.

The following are the simple steps to apply for a Canada spouse visa:

  • Step 1: Get your application package from the IRCC
  • Step 2: Pay your administration fees. Most of the time, these fees include the processing fee, the right of permanent residence, and the biometrics fees, all of which you must pay online at the IRCC website.
  • Step 3: Submit your application to the IRCC

What to do after your application is accepted?

Once their application has been accepted, each couple is required to continue to fulfill certain obligations:

  • The sponsor is responsible for the sponsored person for 3 years financially.
  • Sponsored persons are not entitled to sponsor someone else for five years after being sponsored for permanent residence.

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