Spousal Sponsorship:  Husband, Wife, Common-law partner

IRCC is still accepting and processing Spousal Sponsorship applications despite COVID-19 and the measures put in place to deal with the pandemic. Some exemptions have been made by IRCC for spousal sponsorship applications.

Learn more about the COVID-19 exemptions

Processing times on average are between 8 to 12 months, depending on the visa office responsible for processing the application.  Some larger visa offices such as the USA can process applications as fast as 4 to 6 months.

All applications for both Inland and Outland Sponsorship are submitted to CPC-M in Mississauga.  Once an application is deemed to be complete with all required forms and documents, and the sponsor is eligible, the application is forwarded for further processing. Incomplete applications are returned 3 months later.

There are two types of applications for Spouse and Common-Law Sponsorship

  • Outland Spousal Sponsorship:  your application will be processed through the visa office in the sponsored spouse's country of citizenship or where they legally reside (if outside Canada).  If you and your Spouse/Common-law partner live together in Canada, you can still apply under this category.  Applying under this category will make you eligible to Appeal a refusal. You will not have rights to appeal for an Inland Spousal Application.

  • Inland Spousal Sponsorship (Spouse or Common-Law in-Canada category): your application will be processed in Canada and you and your sponsor MUST live together.  The person being sponsored MUST have temporary status in Canada as a worker, student, or visitor.  The person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit.

 * Important information on Refused Spousal Sponsorship applications

You can sponsor the following persons and their dependent children (21 or younger) for Canadian Permanent Residence

  • Spouse (husband, wife, partner- marriage must be legally recognized)

  • Common-law Partner (person you are living with but not married to)

  • Conjugal Partner (if your partner does not qualify under the Spouse or Common-Law category but you are in a committed relationship equal to that of a marriage for at least 1 year. There must be extenuating circumstances why you cannot live together- job location, studying abroad, inability to obtain visa to Canada are NOT good enough reasons)

Canada recognizes same-sex marriages and partners and are eligible to apply under these 3 categories.


Spouses who have a Criminal Record or Criminal Charge

Read more here on Criminal Inadmissibility

Spouses with a 5 year ban to Canada due to Misrepresentation

Read more here on Misrepresentation Inadmissibility

To be eligible to be a Sponsor

  • You must be a Canadian Citizen, or Permanent Resident (living in Canada)

  • You must be 18 years of age or older

  • You cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence

  • You, yourself, cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.

To be eligible to be sponsored by a Sponsor

  • You must be at least 18 years of age

  • You must not be too closely related by blood to the Sponsor

Requirements that must be met in order to qualify for Sponsorship under the 3 categories

  • Your relationship is genuine (real) and was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring Permanent Residence

  • If your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner "In Canada class", he or she must cohabit (live) with you in Canada 


Requirements AFTER sponsorship

  • The sponsor is financially responsible for the person sponsored for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

  • Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are themselves barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving Canadian permanent residence.

Spousal Sponsorship, Sponsor Spouse, Sponsor Common-law




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