Every Canadian citizen or permanent resident has the right to sponsor a family member to be a permanent resident in the country as well. These include a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, and dependent children. Under Canada’s immigration law, this process is referred to as family class sponsorship. It’s a program that is intended to keep family and loved ones together.
There is a lot that goes into the process of getting your family member or partner to become an official resident of Canada. People who are not too familiar with immigration rules may be overwhelmed as to how to go about it. Here’s a quick guide on how it all goes down:
How can you sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner?
To be a sponsor, you must meet all the following requirements:
- You either have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- You are at least 18 years old
- You must be currently residing in Canada
- You must be able to sign a sponsorship agreement that outlines your commitment to sponsor your partner’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, etc.
- You must meet minimum income requirements that prove that you can provide financial support for your spouse
What can prevent you from being a sponsor?
- Inability to provide financial support in a previous sponsorship agreement
- Currently receiving government financial assistance beyond disability
- Having been previously convicted of certain violent crimes
- You were sponsored as a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner and only got your Canadian residency status less than five years ago
- You still have an outstanding immigration loan
- You have the inability to pay court-ordered support
- You are incarcerated
- You are currently bankrupt
How does the sponsorship process work?
The sponsorship process typically varies depending on the location. It’s either you are living with your sponsor in Canada or applying for permanent residence within the country. You may also be from outside of Canada and applying for permanent residence from a different country.
More often than not, the sponsorship process involves the following steps:
- As a Canadian or permanent resident spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner determines if you qualify for all the eligibility requirements. If everything is met, you apply to be a sponsor.
- The sponsored party applies for permanent residence.
- You submit the application to be a sponsor, along with the application for permanent residence.
- The sponsored party must go through a series of medical, criminal, and background checks before the application for permanent residence can be approved.
- Both the sponsor and the sponsored party must submit proof to show that the relationship is real and that they are not currently married or in a common-law relationship for the sole purpose of the other obtaining permanent residence in Canada.
- If the sponsor is approved, the sponsored party’s application for permanent residence will be evaluated to decide whether they will get permanent resident status.
How can you apply for permanent residence within Canada?
- The sponsored party must be a member of the “Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class,” which means that you need to either be the spouse or common-law partner of the sponsor, and are currently residing with them.
- If you are a common-law partner, it’s imperative that you have lived with your sponsor partner for at least a year.
- If the sponsor is eligible to sponsor you and you meet all other eligibility requirements, you are still able to apply for permanent residence even if you currently do not have legal status in Canada.
It should be noted that the processing times in this category is long. There is also no right to appeal should your application be denied. The only workaround is to submit a humanitarian and compassionate application. If a sponsored person leaves Canada before the application is approved, they may not be allowed to come back to Canada. If you are not allowed to return to Canada, you will have to submit a new application and go through the entire process again.
How can I apply for permanent residence from outside of Canada?
If you are outside of Canada and want to be sponsored, you must first complete an application for permanent residence form and send it to your sponsor. Your sponsor will then submit the application for permanent residence together with their application for sponsorship for processing. Then, the visa office will process your application, review the requirements, and may extend an invitation for an interview.
Sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to emigrate to Canada involves a seemingly-daunting process. Even so, if you have a reliable immigration consultant by your side to hold your hand every step of the way, things are pretty much manageable.
If you’re looking for professional help, please contact our immigration consultant in Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-404-8472.