Family Class and Spousal Sponsorship to Canada
Anyone who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor an eligible family member to live in Canada as a permanent resident. As a permanent resident, they can live in Canada indefinitely, work, go to school, and receive other benefits such as health care.
Family members who can be sponsored include
- spouse (husband or wife),
- same sex spouse (husband or wife),
- common-law partner,
- conjugal partner or fiancé, (in a romantic relationship with the sponsor but is unable to live with them due to circumstances outside their control such as sexual orientation or legal barriers)
- dependent child,
- spouse’s or common-law partner’s dependent child,
- grandchild who is still a dependent.
Please note that at this time sponsorship of parents and grandparents is on hiatus, but will return on January 2, 2014.
- Provincial sponsorship programs
- How We Can Help
- Spousal Sponsorship including common-law and same-sex
- Processing Times
- Costs of Sponsorship
- Becoming a Sponsor - Your Responsibilities
- Being Sponsored
- Common Mistakes on Sponsorship Applications
- Common Interview Questions
- Sponsorship of Children
- Sponsorship of other relatives
- Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations
- How to Organize Your Application
- Possible Reasons for Refusal
Marrying a Cuban
Marrying a Filipino
Marrying an Indian
Marrying a Jamaican
Marrying an America
Marrying a Cambodian
Marrying a Dominican
Marrying a Pakistani
See more countries:
Sponsor Your Spouse to Canada
Since October 25, 2012, sponsored spouses and partners who have been together 2 years or less must live together in a legitimate relationship in Canada with their sponsor for a minimum of two years after their permanent residence application is approved. If the relationship is not maintained for two years, the sponsored person may lose their permanent resident status. This is done to minimize permanent residence obtained through fraud and protect sponsors from being taken advantage of.
The process to bring your loved one to Canada has two parts. The first part is for the Canadian citizen or permanent resident to apply to become a sponsor. Currently, spouses or partners can be sponsored from inside Canada while they are on a visitor visa, called Inland Sponsorship, or while they are outside Canada, called Overseas Sponsorship.
Common-Law Sponsorship to Canada
A common-law partner is a person who has lived together with the sponsor in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. In a common-law marriage, there is no document to prove that a couple is living together. A common-law marriage exists from the day a couple decides to physically live together. To qualify under the Family Class, Canadian immigration law requires a couple to prove that they have lived together continuously for at least one year. Documents that may prove the existence of a common-law relationship include:
- Joint bank accounts
- Joint credit cards
- Proof of property purchased in both names
- Invoices in both names
- Lease agreement showing both names
- Correspondence/bills sent to either party at the same address
- Insurance policies showing the other partner as beneficiary
Same Sex Sponsorship to Canada
Same sex marriage (marriage between two men or two women) has been legal in Canada since 2005. Shortly after this time, Canada began recognizing sponsorship applications between people of the same sex in a genuine romantic relationship.
Same sex couples who want to undertake a sponsorship application must follow the same regulations and meet the exact same requirements as heterosexual couples, including the financial obligations and criminal background checks.
Spousal Sponsorship Application Processing Times
Overseas Spousal Sponsorship
Find your spouse's country
Application times below are based on processing time for complete application, are averages, are subject to change without notice, and are not guaranteed. Applications may take longer than the timeframes stated by IRCC at the officer’s discretion.
Click the image or here for a bigger picture. The darker the green, the longer the wait time.
|Outland Sponsorship Application Wait Times in Months||Legend - Processing Time as of May, 2016|
|Light Blue: 8 months - Algeria, Andorra, Brazil, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Tunisia
9 months - Albania, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Spain
|Blue: 10 months - Belgium, France, Iran, North Korea, Ukraine
11 months - Australia, Israel, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Poland, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tahiti, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
|Light Green: 12 months - Greece, Holy See (Vatican City), Italy, Japan, San Marino, Syria, Turkey
13 months - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Ivory Coast, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates
14 months - Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Kuwait, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, South Korea, Swaziland, United Kingdom
|Green: 15 months - Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Lebanon, South Africa, United States of America 16 months - Costa Rica, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Netherlands, St. Lucia|
|Pink: 17 months - most countries in the world
18 months - Senegal, Sweden
|Red: 20 months - Ethiopia, India, Jamaica, Kenya|
|Light Pink: 21 months - Haiti|
|Orange: 23 months - Iraq, Jordan
24 months - Vietnam
25 months - Congo (DRC)
|Purplish Gray: 26 months - Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda
27 months - US Virgin Islands
|Purple: 28 months - Pakistan
29 months - Thailand
|Light Salmon: 36 months - Afghanistan|
|Gray: 41 months - St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
If you don't see your country of residence listed on the right side of this table, then the average processing time is 17 months.
If the person you are sponsoring is currently inside Canada, the time it takes for IRCC to verify that you are eligible to become a sponsor is 6 months. Processing time for the sponsored person’s application including background checks and medical checks is 8 months.
These processing times are based on complete applications, are averages only, are subject to change without notice, and are not guaranteed. Applications may take longer than the timeframes stated by IRCC at the officer’s discretion. Statistics are updated on our website every 30 days.
Our fees are on a case-by-case basis, but Immigroup service fees usually start around $2800. Top Priority service for clients who need to file their application urgently carries additional costs.
If you do not know where you stand, whether you are eligible to enter Canada, or how to proceed contact us for assistance.
In addition to the legal fees paid to a consultant or lawyer to assist you with this process, the applicant must also pay a fee to the Canadian government for filing their application. Please see the fees below:
|Processing Fees||Number of Persons||Amount Per Person||Amount Due|
|Principal applicant under 22 years of age and a dependent child of the sponsor, a child to be adopted or an orphaned family member that is neither married nor in a common-law relationship.||x $75|
|Family member 22 years or older, or who is married, engaged or in a common-law relationship, regardless of age||x $550|
|Family member who is under 22 years and who is not married, engaged or in a common-law relationship||x $150|
|Right of Permanent Residence Fee||Number of Persons||Amount Per Person||Amount Due|
|Principal applicant (Spouse/common-law partner)||1||$490|
Government application fees are subject to change at any time without notice and are not refundable from IRCC regardless of whether the application is approved.
To become a sponsor, you have to meet the following requirements:
- be at least 18 years old; be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
- live in Canada or be able to prove that you will live in Canada when the sponsorship application is approved,
- prove that you can meet the basic financial needs of the person you are sponsoring and their dependent children.
You cannot sponsor someone if any of these situations apply to you:
- you have sponsored a previous spouse or partner within the last 3 yeas
- you receive social assistance other than disability;
- you are in bankruptcy protection;
- you have defaulted on any immigration-related financial obligations;
- you have been convicted of certain sexual and / or violent crimes;
- you were sponsored as a spouse or partner fewer than 5 years ago;
- you are in jail or prison; you are under a removal order to leave Canada.
When you have sponsored someone to live in Canada, you are financially responsible for their well-being for between 3 – 10 years depending on their relationship to you and their circumstances. This means that if the person you have sponsored or their dependent receives social welfare benefits during this time, you are obligated to pay this money back to the province of their residence.
Responsibilities of the Sponsor
When you sponsor a spouse/partner (or other family member) you commit to looking after them while they settle in Canada. As part of the application, you will be completing and signing multiple forms that pledge you to take care of spouse. These are the two forms and what they commit you to:
This is a legal pledge signed by you the sponsor to the
- Personal Requirements,
- Household supplies,
- Health care not provided by public health care services such as eye and dental care. NOTE: In Ontario there is a 3 month waiting period from the date of arrival of the sponsored spouse before they are eligible for
(Ontario Health Insurance Plan) so you must also look after any health care needs they have in the initial 3 month period after landing.
This is a legal agreement between you the sponsor and your spouse, and covering any dependent children. It involves the following legal commitments:
- You agree to provide the basic necessities for your sponsored spouse (and any dependent children) covered in the Undertaking (see above). You agree to this so the government has assurance that your spouse will not go on social assistance.
- Your spouse agrees to seek financial assistance from you if they are unable to provide for their own basic needs, before going to the Government to apply for social assistance.
- You both agree that the period of the Undertaking for spousal sponsorship is 3 years from the date the sponsored spouse receives their permanent residence (inland), or from the day your sponsored spouse lands in Canada as a permanent resident (outland). If you are committing to care for a dependent child as well, then you the sponsor are responsible for the child for a period of 10 years or until they are 25 years old, whichever is longer.
To be sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to live in Canada, you will have to follow certain procedures, including:
- undergo a medical examination;
- if you are being sponsored as a spouse or partner, you must be at least 16 years old;
- obtain fingerprints to pass criminal and security background checks;
- obtain a passport and in certain countries an exit visa;
- attend an interview at a Canadian visa office if required.
Children can be included as dependants in a spousal or partner sponsorship application, but an application must be filed for each child in addition to the main applicant (the spouse or partner). Of, if you are already a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, you may sponsor a child living outside of Canada. In order for a child to be sponsored to live in Canada, they have to meet the following requirements:
- under 22 years old and not married or in a common-law relationship, OR
- over 22 years old but has been in school since before the age of 22 and is financially dependent on the parent, OR
- over 22 and is unable to care for themselves due to a medical condition.
If you aren’t sure whether you can sponsor your child to live in Canada, call us for a consultation.
Sponsorship of parents and grandparents is still on hiatus until January 2, 2014. However, they may be eligible to apply for a Visitor Visa or Super Visa to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time.
Documents that prove relationship of the sponsor to a parent:
- Sponsor's birth certificate
Documents that prove relationship of the sponsor to a grandparent:
- Sponsor's birth certificate
- Sponsor's parent's birth certificate through whom the sponsor is related to the sponsored grandparent
If a relative falls outside of these categories, you may still be able to sponsor them to live in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds. Contact us for more information.
IRCC can refuse a sponsorship application for many reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:
- The relationship is not genuine. For example, if IRCC believes that the relationship exists only for the sponsored person to immigrate to Canada, the application will be refused.
- The sponsor does not meet the financial requirements.
- The necessary supporting documents have not been included in the applications.
- The person you wish to sponsor does not qualify through the family class.
- The person being sponsored did not meet the medical requirements.
- The person being sponsored is inadmissible to Canada due to criminal convictions. In this case, the person may be able to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) and still be sponsored to live in Canada. Please refer to our TRP page and contact us for more information.
The grid below combines the federal and provincial programs for sponsoring your family member. By clicking on a box in the grid, you are directed to a page with qualification information and a simplified sponsorship application process.
|Family Class Sponsorship|
|Federal||Married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident|
|New Brunswick||Relative in New Brunswick willing to provide support to the applicant after arrival|
|Nova Scotia||Relative in Nova Scotia willing to provide support to the applicant after arrival|
|Saskatchewan||Relative in Saskatchewan willing to provide support to applicant after arrival|
Immigroup has simplified the confusing sponsorship application processes and qualification guidelines of the Government of Canada for Family Class Sponsorship. One of the objectives of Canadian immigration law is "to see that families are reunited in Canada". This class of immigration is called the "Family Class".
Take a look at our page below for additional information on sponsoring a family member to Canada.
To discuss your options for a sponsorship application, contact us for a consultation. We can determine your eligibility to sponsor as well as discuss how you can prove you meet the requirements. We will also go over the entire application process so that you understand what you and your loved one will have to do.
Immigroup will assist you throughout the entire application process from start to finish, including:
- Determining your eligibility to apply;
- Determining the likelihood of success for your application;
- Ensuring your forms are complete and accurately reflect the details of your case for maximum chance of success;
- Ensuring you have the necessary and appropriate documents to support your application;
- Providing guidance on the privileges and responsibilities of sponsorship and permanent residence;
- Advising how someone who is inadmissible to Canada may still be sponsored;
- Offering Top Priority service for extremely urgent cases;
- Determining the best way to proceed once the outcome of your case is reached (renewing permanent resident card, becoming a Canadian citizen, sponsoring additional family members, etc.)
Contact us for a consultation to assist you with your application.
How to Organize a Sponsorship Application
Sponsorship applications gigantic so it is important that you organize your application in a way that IRCC will understand. For this example of how to organize a sponsorship application, we're going to take the most common example: sponsoring a foreign spouse.
You will want to include as much information as possible in as organized a way as possible. Some people breakup their application into separate folders within the same envelope or box. It's up to you how seriously you take that part, but you will need to show the officer how to proceed through the stack of paper you've provided.
What to Include
- Cover letter
- Table of Contents
- Sponsor's Application Forms and supporting documentation
- Sponsored Spouse's Application Forms and supporting documentation
- Proofs of Your Relationship
In the cover letter, explain that you are applying for either inland or outland sponsorship, and give the vital details (names, dates of birth, citizenships, locations, etc.) of both the sponsor and the spouse or partner to be sponsored. You should also indicate what your relationship status is (married, engaged, common-law, conjugal).
Table of Contents
You can include your table of contents in your cover letter or attach it as a separate piece of paper, as long as it's prominent. You have two choices here:
- Make a general table of contents that outlines all three sets of documents you will be providing and then create individual tables of contents for the other parts OR
- Itemize every single form and document you've included in your package in this table of contents.
Which you choose is up to you - there is no right way - but the table of contents should match how you've organized your package. If it doesn't, then there was no point in creating a table of contents in the first place. Make sure to include page numbers!
Make sure to include the document checklist (either the IMM 5491 for outland applications or the IMM 5443 if it's an inland application).
Let's assume this is an "outland" application, i.e. the spouse or partner is still overseas.
Sponsor's Application Forms and Documents
If you choose to have individual tables of contents for each section, you should make the sponsor's table of contents the very first page.
- Table of Contents (see above)
- IMM 1344 Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking, fully completed
- IMM 5481 Sponsorship Evaluation, fully completed
- IMM 5540 Sponsor Questionnaire, fully completed
Sponsored Spouse's Application Forms and Documents
If you choose to have individual tables of contents for each section, you should make the sponsored spouse's table of contents the very first page.
- Table of Contents (see above)
- IMM 0008 Generic Application Form for Canada, fully completed with the validation page at the front
- IMM 000DEP Additional Dependants/Declaration, fully completed
- IMM 5669 Schedule A - Background Declaration X number of adults being sponsored (for example, if there are no adult children being sponsored, you would complete one form), fully completed
- IMM 5406 Additional Family Information Form X number of adults being sponsored, fully completed
- IMM 5490 Sponsored Spouse/Partner Questionnaire, fully completed
- Additional forms required for citizens/residents of the country that the sponsored spouse is from
- Any documentation specifically related to questions in the above forms
- Document checklist for your country.
Proofs of Your Relationship
If you have chosen to have individual tables of contents, you should make that the first page, or attach it to the pack of photos.
- Table of Contents (see above)
- Photos (in a package, for example), sorted by date and event
- Communication records, sorted by type of communication, then by date - include a cover sheet if you think it would help, explaining what each record is and why you have provided it (and why you haven't provided something, if that's the case)
- Anything else you think will prove your relationship (and you should both organize this appropriately and explain why you have included the information, either here or in your cover letter).
Always err on the side of more rather than less evidence. If you are not sure whether or not to add something to your package, include it.
- Do not staple anything. Paper-clip or otherwise clip forms and sections together and then clip those together with larger clips or put them in separate (named) folders or envelopes. You do not want to do anything to frustrate the officer.
- Don't bind your package either.
- If you want, include tabs so that the officer can easily flip through your package.
- If you are not sending the original of something, explain why.
- Photocopy everything you submit - you need a record of what you've submitted to the government.
We have an article about the most common mistakes people make when sponsoring their spouses. Read it.
Common Interview Questions
During a spousal sponsorship application, the sponsored spouse is often asked to attend an interview a the local visa office. (The sponsoring spouse is usually not required to attend an interview, though this may be different for inland applications.) Here is a list of potential interview questions the principal applicant (sponsored spouse) might be asked at an interview for a sponsorship application. Some of the questions would only be asked for outland applicants, others for inland applicants only, others are applicable to both situations:
Communications between the two of you
- When and where did you meet your spouse for the first time?
- Who initiated contact?
- How often did you contact each other before your first meeting in person? How did you communicate? Where is your proof?
- How often did you talk on the phone?
- Do you have phone bills, e-mails, cards, etc., and can I see them?
Visiting Canada (if applicable)
- Where (which airport) did you first Land in Canada? What date?
- How many times have you been to Canada? How long did you stay each time?
- Have you ever stayed in Canada without status (i.e. after your visa has expired)?
- Why did you overstay?
- What did you do to rectify the situation?
- When did you leave Canada the last time? / When did you leave Canada when you didn't have status? How long did you leave?
- Have you been admitted back into Canada with legal status since?
- Have you been issued any kind of document that authorizes you to live in Canada since you were without status? If yes what type and when is the expiry date?
- Has your spouse been to visit you in your home country? When?
- How many times has your spouse been to visit you?
- Where did your spouse land when they visited you? (Which Airport?)
- Did your spouse ever go to your home country prior to your relationship?
- Did you go to Canada prior to your relationship with your spouse?
- What is your husband's/wife's/partner's name?
- What do you call him/her?
- How old is your spouse/partner? What is your spouse's birth date?
- What colour are his/her eyes and hair?
- Does your spouse colour his/her hair?
- Does your spouse wear glasses or contact lenses?
- Does your spouse have any distinguishing features (birth marks, scars, disfigurements of the body)?
- Where was your spouse born? Which country and city?
- Does your spouse have any allergies?
- What is your religion?
- What is the religion of your spouse?
- When you and your spouse were dating what would you do together?
- Do you have any hobbies? Describe them.
- Does your spouse have any hobbies? Describe them.
- What type of music do you enjoy?
- What type of music does your spouse enjoy?
- What kind of movies do you enjoy?
- What kind of movies does your spouse enjoy?
- What kind of books do you read?
- What kind of books does your spouse read?
- Have you and your spouse ever exchanged gifts? Describe them.
- Please explain the type of relationship you have had since your first meeting.
- What makes your relationship with your spouse different from that of a female/male friend?
- Does your spouse support you financially?
- If I refuse this application what will you do?
- Where did your spouse go to school? (Elementary and high school)
- How many years of school did your spouse Complete?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- In terms of education, would you say that you and your spouse's educational background are compatible?
- Where did you work in your home country before coming to Canada?
- What is the name of the company? What position did you hold? How long did you work there?
- What did the job entail?
- Did you like your job?
- What was the salary?
- What do you intend to do when you come to Canada?
- What degrees or formal training do you have?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- Where does your spouse work? What's the name of the company? How does he/she travel to work?
- How long has your spouse worked there?
- What does the job entail?
- does your spouse like his or her job?
- What is the salary?
- Where does your spouse live?
- Whom does your spouse live with?
- Does anyone else live in your household other than your spouse and children?
- At what addresses have you lived at with your spouse?
- Did you own any Property with your spouse?
- What type of accommodation do you live in? House, condo or apartment?
- Is it rental or do you own it? If rented, how long is your lease? Are you both on the lease?
- How much is the rent?
- Who makes sure the bills are paid? How much do you pay for Cable/phone/hydro etc.?
Marriage (if applicable)
- When and where did the marriage proposal take place?
- Was your marriage arranged?
- When did you get married?
- Where did you get married?
- Who was at the wedding?
- How many people were at the ceremony?
- What day was the ceremony held on?
- Who performed the ceremony?
- Do you have pictures of the ceremony?
- Who was at the ceremony from your side?
- Who was at the ceremony from your spouse's side?
- Were any friends present?
- Were your parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- Where your spouse's parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- Were your spouse's parents aware of the wedding? If not, why not?
- Was a reception held? When and where was it held?
- Who was present at the reception?
- Did you receive any wedding gifts? Describe them.
- Did you on a honeymoon? Where did you go and for how long?
- Can you show me pictures and receipts from the honeymoon, wedding and reception?
- Have you or your spouse been married before?
- Why was that relationship ended?
- Who initiated the divorce?
- What were the reasons for the divorce?
- What was the date the marriage was dissolved?
- Why did you marry your spouse?
- Since your marriage have you seen your spouse? If not, why not?
- Tell me why this marriage or relationship is genuine.
- Why were you so rushed to be married? How do you explain that?
- Do you have any children form a previous relationship? If so what is their relationship like with your spouse?
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Do you have visitation rights/spend time with them at your home or there's?
- How often do you see your children?
- Does your current spouse have any children from a previous relationship? If yes
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Does your spouse have visitation rights/spend time with them?
- How often does your spouse see their children?
- Do you have any children from your current marriage?
- How many children?
- What are the names and birth dates?
- Where are the children now?
- Who looks after the children?
- How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have?
- What relatives does your spouse have in Canada?
- What relatives do you have in Canada?
- What are their names and where do they live?
- What relatives does your spouse have outside of Canada?
- What relatives do you have outside of Canada?
- Has your spouse met any of your relatives or friends? Who have they met and when did they meet them?
- Have you met any of your spouse's relatives or friends? Whom have you met and when did you meet them?
- Did you get married to get to Canada?
- Did your spouse pay you to go to Canada?
- Did anyone pay you to go to Canada?
- Did you pay your spouse to sponsor you?
- If yes, How much?
If you are doing an outland sponsorship application and you want to get your spouse here sooner, you can have them apply for a visitor visa, and provide them an invitation letter. In IMMIgroup's experience, these applications are rarely approved, but you can still try.
If you are sponsoring inland and your spouse wants to work or study, they can apply for a work permit or study permit. Read more.
Learn About Sponsorship
- Common Mistakes on Sponsorship Applications
- Work or Study in Canada while waiting for your sponsorship application to be approved - Udpated for 2016
- Top 10 Additional Things to Include in Your Sponsorship Application
- How to Ace Your Sponsorship Letter
- Income Requirement for Spousal and other Family Sponsorships
- Education Requirements for Sponsorship
- Get a Family Sponsorship Document Checklist
- When to do an Overseas vs. an Inland Spousal Sponsorship Application
- Your Guide to Same Sex Sponsorship in Canada
- What does a spousal sponsorship appeal look like?
- Top 7 Reasons to Use a PreNup
- Divorce Rates of Canadian Couples versus people who mary foreigners
- What happens if your sponsored spouse disappears?
- What are the limits to sponsorship liability?