Requirements for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

The Requirements for Canadian Spousal Sponsorship

The process may seem daunting but the undertaking of sponsoring your spouse for Canadian permanent residence is achievable if you follow certain guidelines.

There are rules for the spouse being sponsored, as well as the spouse seeking to be the sponsor.

Requirements to Be a Sponsor

There are stipulations that apply to the sponsor’s approval. These are:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a resident of Canada.
  • Cannot have sponsored a spouse within the last five years.
  • Sign a financial agreement stating that they will be financially responsible for the spouse for a period of three years.
  • Not be under a removal order.
  • Not be in prison.
  • Not have been convicted of any sexual crime.
  • Not have been convicted of a violent crime that carries a punishment of more than 10 years imprisonment.
  • Not have been convicted of a crime that involves bodily harm to a relative or partner.
  • Not have defaulted on a previous sponsorship.
  • Not be in default of any court-ordered support payments.
  • Not have an undischarged bankruptcy.
  • Not be a recipient of social assistance other than for a disability.

Rules for Spouse or Partner

There are also requirements for those who wish to immigrate to fulfill:

  • Demonstrate a genuine relationship. One of the things that the authorities are looking out for is a relationship that is fabricated in order to immigrate. The sponsorship application will be refused if there is any indication that the pairing isn’t genuine. Authorities will look at the length of the relationship, the compatibility between partners, and how the marriage was performed.
  • Spouse or Partner cannot be criminally inadmissible. If a prospective immigrant has been convicted of a crime in their country of origin that is also a punishable offense in Canada, they will not be allowed to receive legal immigration status. This rule applies to what may seem like minor offenses, like shoplifting or driving while impaired. There are some ways to still become a Canadian citizen, however. A convicted person could attempt to have the conviction vacated or they can be considered rehabilitated if the infraction occurred a significant amount of time ago.

Types of Spousal and Partner Sponsorships

A spouse or partner relationship can be defined in a few ways.

  • Marital relationship. The marriage can have been performed in any country to be recognized in Canada. A marriage certificate will be required to demonstrate the legality of the union.
  • Common-law partnership. Two consenting adults who have been living together in a marriage-like relationship consistently for one year are considered common-law partners. Evidence must be provided in the form of shared bills or a lease or rental agreement.
  • Conjugal partner relationship. This describes two people who have been in a marriage-like relationship but whom circumstances have not allowed to live together continuously for one year. This will only be considered an option if there are actual reasons the couple cannot live together and is not based on mere convenience.

If you find yourself in need of help as you navigate the spousal sponsorship process in Canada, contact an immigration attorney who can assist you.

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