SpousesMany citizens or permanent residents of Canada enter marital or marriage-like relationships with foreigners and then sponsor them to Canada. A successful sponsorship application helps the foreign applicant become a permanent resident of Canada. Permanent residents of Canada may live and work in our country.

Canadian immigration legislations accept three kinds of relationships as spousal, namely:

  • Legal marriage – If two people get lawfully married in any region of the world, they are spouses. The marriage must be valid where it takes place. It can be between opposite or same-sex couples.
  • Common-law relationship – Such relationship is between two people who have a conjugal (marriage-like) relationship for at least 12 consecutive months while living together.
  • Conjugal partners – Sometimes people cannot live together for valid reasons, but they have been in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months.

Conjugal relationship refers to a combination of sexual, financial, and cohabitation activities that spouses generally experience together.

Spousal relationship is not valid if:

  • It is primarily for the purpose of immigration to Canada
  • It is not genuine
  • The foreign national was under the age of 18 years when the marriage was registered
  • Any of the spouses had another spouse at the time of marriage
  • On the date of application for immigration, the spouses have been separated from each other for at least 12 months
  • One of the spouses was not present at the marriage ceremony (some exceptions apply)

If the sponsor (i.e. the Canadian citizen or permanent resident) was sponsored by their previous spouse to Canada in the past five years before the current application, they cannot sponsor their new spouse to Canada.

Many other conditions affect sponsorship applications. If you intend to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner fill out our assessment form or contact us for more information. You may also book an appointment for official immigration advice.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant

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“This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for official immigration advice contact us.”