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Canadian Spousal Sponsorship: All You Need to Know

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    If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to sponsor your spouse, partner, or dependent child to become a permanent resident of Canada. This is called spousal sponsorship, and it is one of the ways to reunite with your loved ones in Canada.

    In this article, we will explain the basics of spousal sponsorship, such as who can sponsor, who can be sponsored, how to apply, and what to expect after you submit your application.

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    Who can sponsor?

    To be eligible to sponsor your spouse, partner, or child, you must:

    • be at least 18 years old
    • be a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident living in Canada
    • prove that you have enough income to provide basic needs for yourself and your family (unless you are sponsoring your spouse or partner who has no dependent children, or your dependent child who has no dependent children)
    • agree to support your spouse, partner or child financially for a period of time, depending on their age and relationship to you
    • sign an undertaking that states that you will provide for the basic needs of your spouse, partner or child
    • not be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order or charged with a serious offence
    • not have been sponsored by a spouse or partner within the last 5 years
    • not have defaulted on a previous sponsorship undertaking, a court-ordered support payment, an immigration loan or a performance bond
    • not have received social assistance for a reason other than a disability

    Who can be sponsored?

    You can sponsor your spouse, partner, or child if they meet the following criteria:

    • Spouse: You are married to your spouse, and your marriage is legally valid in the country where it took place and in Canada. If you were married in Canada, you must have a marriage certificate issued by the province or territory where the marriage took place.
    • Partner: You are in a conjugal or common-law relationship with your partner. A conjugal relationship is one of mutual dependence, commitment, and exclusivity, similar to a marriage. A common-law relationship is one where you have lived together continuously for at least 12 months in a marriage-like relationship. You must provide proof of your relationship, such as shared bills, joint bank accounts, photos, correspondence, etc.
    • Child: You are the parent or legal guardian of your child. Your child must be under 22 years old and not married or in a common-law relationship, or be 22 years or older and have depended on you financially since before they turned 22 due to a physical or mental condition.

    How to apply?

    There are two applications that you and your spouse, partner, or child need to complete and submit:

    • Application to sponsor: You, as the sponsor, need to download and complete the PDF forms in the application package, digitally sign them, and upload them to your spouse, partner, or child’s online application. You also need to pay the sponsorship fee, the processing fee, and the right of permanent residence fee (if applicable).
    • Application for permanent residence: Your spouse, partner, or child, as the principal applicant, needs to create a Permanent Residence online application portal account, fill out the digital forms online, electronically sign them, and upload the PDF forms that you signed as the sponsor. They also need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photo), medical exam, police certificates, and other supporting documents.

    You can find the application package and the instruction guide on the IRCC website. You must apply online for this program, unless you require accommodation, such as for a disability, in which case you can ask for the application in another format.

    What to expect after you apply?

    After you submit your application, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt and a confirmation number. You can use this number to check the status of your application online.

    You will also receive updates and requests from IRCC through your online account. You should respond to these requests as soon as possible to avoid delays in processing your application.

    The processing time for spousal sponsorship applications varies depending on the country of origin of your spouse, partner, or child and the complexity of your case. You can check the estimated processing time on the IRCC website.

    Generally, it takes about 12 months for most applications to be processed. However, some applications may take longer due to factors such as incomplete or incorrect information, missing documents, security or criminality issues, etc.

    Once your application is approved, your spouse, partner, or child will receive confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if they are from a visa-required country). They must use these documents to travel to Canada before they expire.

    They must also have a valid passport and any other travel documents required by their country of origin or transit. Upon arrival in Canada, they will become permanent residents and receive their permanent resident card by mail.

    Conclusion

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    Spousal sponsorship is a great option for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who want to bring their spouse, partner, or child to live with them in Canada. However, it is also a complex and lengthy process that requires careful preparation and documentation.

    If you need help with your spousal sponsorship application, you can consult a licensed immigration consultant or lawyer who can guide you through the process and ensure that you meet all the requirements and deadlines.