Who is it for?
Spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, where the couple wishes to settle in Canada permanently. A common-law relationship is when a couple has cohabited for at least 12 months in a relationship that can be proven as co-dependent. As is the case across all Canadian immigration programs, same-sex relationships are assessed according to the same eligibility criteria as opposite-sex relationships.

How does it work?
In situations where the sponsored person resides outside Canada, the Outland sponsorship route is the one to take. This means that the sponsorship application is submitted to a visa office located outside Canada, typically in the sponsored person’s home country or country of residence, though the application may ultimately be processed in a third country.

If the sponsored person is currently in Canada – for example as a worker, student, or visitor – the Inland sponsorship route may then be an option. Under Inland sponsorship, the sponsored person may obtain an open work permit, allowing the sponsored person to work in Canada, until a decision is reached on the application.

What’s the advantage?
Family Class immigration to Canada allows families to be united with their loved ones in Canada. Sponsored persons in Canada may work while the application is being processed.

How much does it cost?
Fees amount to $1,050, divided into a sponsorship fee ($75), principal applicant processing fee ($475) and right of permanent residence fee ($500).

How long does it take?
The government of Canada aims to process applications to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner within 12 months. This target has been achieved in the vast majority of cases.

Other considerations
In order to be accepted, the application must prove that a legitimate relationship exists. If sufficient proof of such a relationship is not forthcoming, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) exercises the right to refuse the application.

Where can I learn more?
See our page on Spousal and Common-law Sponsorship.

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