Can I Sponsor My Spouse (Wife/Husband) to Immigrate to Canada?

Reuniting with your SpouseOne of the objectives of the IRPA, or rather the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada, is “to see that families are reunited in Canada” (see s.3(1)(d) of the IRPA). The Act further describes Family Reunification as an acceptable method of immigration under subsection 12(1):

IRPA s.12(1) Family Reunification “A foreign national may be selected as a member of the family class based on their relationship as the spouse, common-law partner, child, the parent or other prescribed family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.”

As you can see, a spouse (a husband or wife) or a common-law partner is considered a family member under immigration law. Therefore, if you are a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident who qualifies to sponsor a family member, you may sponsor your spouse to immigrate to Canada and become a permanent resident.

Who is a Spouse or Common-law Partner?

A spouse’s simple definition is somebody you are married to under the foreign country and Canadian laws. A common-law partner is somebody you have entered a conjugal relationship with for at least 12 uninterrupted months (i.e. cohabiting, intimate relationship, and financial dependency). A conjugal partner has been in a spouse-like relationship with you both physically and emotionally. The following article explains these terms in more detail:

According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, certain relationships are excluded from the definition of spouse. Consult with a lawyer or an Immigration Consultant to ensure your case does not fall under any of those circumstances.

Who Can Sponsor Their Spouse?

To qualify as a sponsor, you need to meet specific criteria. The “Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations” (Part 7, Division 3) outline such criteria. For example, you must…

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • be at least  18 years old
  • reside in Canada (under certain conditions, you may not live in Canada at the time of application)
  • file the sponsorship application according to the guidelines
  • do not owe the government of Canada or your provincial government money or other obligations due to previous sponsorship
  • not be in another marital relationship at the time of marrying your spouse or applying for your spouse

Many different conditions apply. For example, you need to show that your application is genuine and intend to reunite with your spouse. If the sponsor is in jail, they will be denied. If the sponsor has committed a crime, they are very likely not eligible to apply (certain conditions exist).

There are cases where your residence province may have entered some agreements with the federal government to govern the sponsorship program. I strongly suggest consulting with an immigration consultant or a lawyer to make sure you qualify to sponsor your spouse.

Relevant articles:

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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