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Spousal Sponsorship

Spousal sponsorship is a complex application. Navigating complicated immigration programs to bring your partner to Canada is not an easy process. We take care of that complicated process for our clients and work to reunite them with their loved ones.


What is Spousal Sponsorship in Canada?

Spousal sponsorship is a Canadian program for immigrants. It was created to keep loved ones together, which is a priority for the Canadian government. Essentially this program allows you to sponsor your partner for a permanent residency application so that they can live with you in Canada.

What are the requirements to sponsor a spouse?

You (the sponsor):

• must be a permanent resident in Canada or a Canadian citizen.
• must be at least 18 years old
• must not be a prisoner or convicted of any crime in Canada.
• must be able to provide financial assistance for you.
• must not be assisted financially by the Canadian government.

Your Partner (the person being sponsored):

• must be at least 18 years old
• must not be inadmissible to Canada.
• must be a spouse, common-law partner, or in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor

Categories of Spousal Sponsorship


The marriage will be recognized by Canadian immigration authorities as long as the marriage was legally performed in any country and it is consistent with the laws of Canada. A valid certificate of marriage will need to be supplied for verification.

Common-Law Partnership

A common-law partnership constitutes two adults who have been living together in a marriage-like relationship continuously for one year. This relationship has the same legality as a traditional marriage in terms of immigration.

Conjugal Partner Relationship

A conjugal partnership describes two adults who have been in a marriage-like relationship but whom circumstances have not allowed to live together continuously for one year. In terms of immigration, the difficulty in this type of relationship is proving that the relationship is truly marriage-like.

Key Information About Spousal Sponsorship

What is Inland Spousal Sponsorship?

To be eligible for an Inland spousal sponsorship, the applicant and their spouse/common law partner must be living together in Canada. An advantage of the inland spousal sponsorship process is that some applicants will be eligible for a spousal open work permit.

What is Outland spousal sponsorship?

An outland spousal sponsorship is intended for applicants looking to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for a Canadian permanent residence, regardless of the place of residence of the spouse or common-law partner.

Spousal Sponsorship vs Express Entry

Express Entry is an alternative pathway to permanent residency. The success of spousal sponsorship versus express entry is dependent on the application itself. Express Entry is ultimately an easier process to follow for permanent residency. It involves a more straightforward application and no requirement for the sponsor taking responsibility for the person they are sponsoring. However, if you do not qualify for Express Entry or your score is quite low, a spousal sponsorship application may be the way to go. It depends from person to person, and a lot of factors are at play here. Make sure you seek advice in order to avoid long processing times and refusals.

Common Reasons for Refusal of Spousal Sponsorship Applications

There are so many reasons why your spousal sponsorship application may be denied. These reasons range from as little as a mistake in your application form to using incorrect information. The list of refusal for sponsorship application is endless, but they include:

• The main reason for refusal we see is insufficient proof of relationship. It is often required for the applicant to go above and beyond the minimal document requirements to convince the officer that the relationship is genuine.

• Deliberate or unintentional misinterpretation in the application form shall lead to denial of spousal sponsorship. You must interpret all details correctly in your application form and make sure all parties involved in the application provide accurate information.

• Canadian citizens and a permanent resident in Canada can be a sponsor of a spousal sponsorship application. If otherwise, say, the sponsor is a Canadian citizen living outside Canada. This can lead to an automatic refusal of the application.

• A sponsor living in Canada does not mean they are eligible to sponsor your application; you must meet the requirements for you to be a sponsor. This includes being an adult (18 years and above), no criminal record, no financial debt, etc. all these can lead to a refusal of your application if your sponsor does not meet the requirements.

• As a prospective immigrant, you must be eligible for sponsorship. This means officially married or are in a common-law relationship to a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada. This also includes having a clean criminal record, good health, etc. These reasons can make you ineligible for sponsorship leading to a refusal of the spousal sponsorship application.

Want to ensure you are preparing a strong application for spousal sponsorship? Book a review of your full application to get a professional assessment of whether or not you have sufficient documentation in your file, and how you can make a more convincing case.


What do I do if I got a refusal for spousal sponsorship?

The first step after you get a refusal is to understand WHY you got a refusal. Once we understand why you got a refusal, we can determine what additional documents you need to provide or steps we need to take to re-apply and provide sufficient convincing evidence.