It can be tricky business to sponsor a loved one to become a Canadian citizen, but it is doable. Spousal sponsorship to Canada is one area of immigration that people may have many questions about.
First, it’s important to determine if your relationship status meets the requirements.
Who is Eligible to Be Sponsored?
There are three types of relationships that fall under the jurisdiction of spousal sponsorship. They are:
- Your spouse.
- Your common-law partner.
- Your conjugal partner.
Like many rules and regulations, there are some exceptions, but before discussing those, let’s look at the requirements.
Who is Eligible for Spousal Sponsorship in Canada?
You can apply to be a sponsor if your status falls under these guidelines:
- You must be a Canadian citizen, registered under the Canadian Indian Act, or a permanent resident.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be residing in Canada.
- You have to prove that you have the financial means to provide for a spouse and any dependent children.
If any of these factors apply, you are ineligible to be a sponsor:
- You were sponsored and became a permanent resident less than five years ago.
- You have already sponsored a spouse less than three years ago.
- You are in a default status in regards to a previous spousal sponsorship, an immigration loan, a performance bond, or payments for family support.
- You are currently in a bankruptcy proceeding.
- You are a recipient of social assistance for anything other than a disability.
- You have been convicted of a violent or sexual offense, an act that caused bodily harm to a relative or threatening any of these offenses.
- You are in jail, prison, or a reformatory.
- You are subject to a removal order.
- You have already applied for a spousal sponsorship that hasn’t been decided upon yet.
There are some special circumstances that allow for spousal sponsorship when the exact requirements haven’t been met or there is another issue present.
- Requirement to live in Canada. This rule only applies to permanent residents. A Canadian citizen can be living outside of Canada and still sponsor a spouse or partner as long as they can prove that they intend to move back to Canada after the spouse or partner receives permanent residence status.
- Criminal conviction. If the Canadian sponsor has been acquitted or pardoned of the crime or at least five years has gone by since the completion of the sentence, they will be eligible to sponsor a spouse or partner.
- Minimum income requirements. While there is no minimum requirement for income in order to sponsor a spouse or partner, the Canadian immigration authorities will be diligent about checking into the financial status of both parties. They will refuse the application if sufficient evidence is not found to demonstrate that they can support themselves.
With rules and exceptions to the rules, knowing what’s exactly right for you can be difficult.
It’s a good idea to get the help of a seasoned immigration attorney for some sound guidance as you work through the process.