Minimum Income Spousal Sponsorship Canada

Minimum Income for Sponsoring Spouses or Common-law Partners to CanadaRusul is a permanent resident of Canada. He recently married his childhood neighbour from Pakistan. Consequently, Rusul intends to sponsor his wife to Canada. However, as a newcomer, he does not make a lot of money. Therefore, he wonders if he meets the minimum necessary income for the spousal sponsorship.

Thousands of Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada sponsor their spouses to Canada. The sponsorship application allows spouses or common-law partners to reunite. Nonetheless, if you are not familiar with this immigration option, consider reading one of the following articles:

What does the minimum necessary income mean?

When you are sponsoring your family members in Canada, you usually need to show income (practitioners see R133(1)(j)). However, you may not refer to any source other than your CRA Notice of Assessment. For example, if you are sponsoring your family members in 2021, you must look at your 2020 Notice of Assessment (NOA). Thus, open your NOA and look at line 150. Whatever you see on that line represents your income. For a regular sponsorship application, the figure on line 150 of your NOA must be higher than LICO for that year. Of course, the exact LICO amount depends on the number of people in your household and the number of people you are sponsoring. Read the following article to familiarize yourself with the concept of LICO:

If you are sponsoring your parents or grandparents, the situation is different. You must consider your income in the past three consecutive years. Of course, the following article offers more information on this subject:

Exemption for spouses or common-law partners

If you are sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner, you are exempt from the minimum income under the following circumstances (practitioners see R133(4)):

  • Your common-law partner or spouse has no children; or
  • The common-law partner or spouse has dependent children, but those children do not have any children of their own.

Being exempt from minimum income is a relief. However, if your spouse or common-law partner has dependent grandchildren who are accompanying them to Canada, then you are exempt. Consequently, you need to show a 12-month LICO or more as your income. Here are some examples:

I am sponsoring my common-law partner, who has no children.

You are exempt from the minimum necessary income for sponsoring your common-law partner.

I am sponsoring my spouse, who has two children under 22 years old and single.

You are exempt from the minimum necessary income for sponsoring your spouse and their children.

I have no children, but I am sponsoring my spouse, who has a child. Her child is a 20-year-old single mom who has a one-year-old child. Both of them will accompany my spouse to Canada.

You are not exempt from the minimum necessary income for sponsoring your spouse and their family. Since you are sponsoring three people, the total number of your family becomes four people. Consequently, line 150 of your NOA for last year must be equal to or more than a 12-month LICO for a family of four.

If I am exempt from the minimum income, shall I ignore showing income?

Although you could be exempt from minimum income for spousal sponsorship, you still need to prevent financial inadmissibility. Let’s take a look at section 39 of IRPA:

A foreign national is inadmissible for financial reasons if they are or will be unable or unwilling to support themself or any other person who is dependent on them, and have not satisfied an officer that adequate arrangements for care and support, other than those that involve social assistance, have been made.

What does this mean? It means you and your spouse or common-law need to show when they immigrate to Canada; they can settle without receiving the government’s help. Some documents that could defeat section 39 include the following:

  • The sponsor’s NOA
  • The applicant or the sponsor’s work history
  • The sponsor’s or the applicant’s earning statements.
  • Your education or other documents that show employability

Of course, this list is neither inclusive nor exclusive.

Contact us!

If you want us to help you with the process of sponsoring your spouse, please fill out the following form:

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    Spousal Sponsorship Applications

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    If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

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


    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, please do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches immigration courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of ICCRC 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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