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How to sponsor your wife, husband, or partner for Canadian immigration

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Canada aims to process spousal sponsorship applications within 12 months.
Canada will continue to expedite up to 6,000 spousal sponsorship applications per month until the end of 2020.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made this major announcement in late-September, as it detailed how it aims to bring loved ones together as quickly as it can amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, Canada was targeting the arrival of some 70,000 new immigrants per year under its spousal, partner, and children’s family class immigration category.

However, Canada recently announced its new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan that will see newcomer levels rise significantly. As a result, Canada will now aim to welcome some 80,000 immigrants per year under the spousal, partner, and children category.

Most of these immigrants will arrive under spousal sponsorship.

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Who is eligible to sponsor their partner for Canadian immigration?

Both Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their partners to obtain permanent residence.

The sponsor and the person they are sponsoring must show Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that their relationship falls under one of these three categories:

  • Spouse
  • Common-law partner
  • Conjugal partner

Canadians and permanent residents are eligible to sponsor a loved one if they are at least 18 years old, prove they are not receiving social assistance for a reason other than a disability and can demonstrate you are able to financially provide for the basic needs of your partner. If you are a Canadian citizen living abroad, you also need to prove you plan to live in Canada with the person you aim to sponsor.

Eligibility criteria of partners

The person you are sponsoring needs to meet the following eligibility criteria:

Spouse: They must be legally married to you and at least 18 years old.
Common-law partner: They must be at least 18 years old and have lived with you for at least 12 straight months.
Conjugal partner: They must be at least 18 years old, have been in a relationship with you for at least one year, live outside of Canada, and cannot live with you in their country or marry you due to significant legal or immigration causes. For example, they live in a country where same-sex marriage or divorce is not allowed. You need to prove to IRCC you could not live together or get married in your partner’s country.

How to submit a sponsorship application

IRCC asks you to submit two applications together. One is for sponsorship and the other is a permanent residence application.

Step 1: Obtain an application package from IRCC.

Step 2: Pay your application fees to IRCC which tend to include processing fees, right of permanent residence fee, and biometrics fee. You need to pay these fees on IRCC’s website.

Step 3: Mail your completed application to IRCC.

IRCC’s processing standard is 12 months.

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