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Family Class: Spousal Sponsorship

Family Class: Spousal Sponsorship
Spousal Sponsorship to Canada

Canada immigration places a high priority on family reunification and keeping families intact. Canada’s Family Class Sponsorship Program reunites families by allowing adult permanent residents or citizens to sponsor a relative for immigration to Canada. Family class immigration includes programs for spousal sponsorship, parents, grandparents and dependent children to immigrate to Canada.

Like so many other pathways to Canadian immigration, there are many requirements that must be met in order for the application to be accepted and permanent residence status granted. Chief among the requirements for spousal sponsors is their sponsorship eligibility according to federal standards, and if living in Quebec, to meet the specific Quebec conditions.

What Is Spousal Sponsorship?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) defines Spousal Sponsorship as someone who is eligible to sponsor a "spouse, common-law or conjugal partner (partner), or dependent children if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. To be a sponsor, you must be 18 or older."

You are eligible to become a spousal sponsor if you are:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a Canadian citizen, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident,
  • living in Canada:
    • if you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside of Canada.
  • able to prove that you can meet the basic financial needs of your spouse or dependent child and are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;

You must also be able to show that you can provide basic needs for:

  • yourself,
  • your spouse or partner,
  • your spouse or partner’s dependent child(ren) (if applicable)
  • your dependent child(ren) (if you’re sponsoring only your dependent child).

If you are eligible, you can then apply to serve as a sponsor. This is a two-stage process that begins with your application to the Case Processing Centre (CPC). They will review your application and let you know if/when the IRCC has approved the application. At the same time that you submit this application, your spouse or partner must also submit an application for permanent residence status.

There is a spousal sponsorship application for spouses already living in Canada as well as a separate application for spouses living outside of the country. For applicants who are applying from outside of Canada, CPC will send the application to the nearest Canadian visa office for processing.

Things to Know

  • The Canadian government allows any eligible spouses or partners in Canada who are applying through spousal sponsorship would be permitted to work while they wait for the processing to be completed. The IRCC issues open work permits to those who have applied for permanent residency from within Canadian borders.
  • In 2019, Canada launched a pilot project where some undeclared family members can be sponsored. Family members may be eligible if they were not declared or examined when their sponsor became a permanent resident. The IRCC Help Centre has detailed eligibility criteria.
  • Spousal Sponsorship immigration application packages are on the IRCC website for spouses in Canada and those outside of the country.


Canada immigration laws can be confusing, and a missed deadline or missing supporting documents can result in delays or even denial of your immigration application. A Family Class or Spousal Sponsorship application completed with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced immigration professional can prevent many mistakes, save time and reduce stress. An experienced Canada immigration lawyer or legal professional can help you to understand any points of confusion or overcome any issues that may pose a challenge to the application process.

Book A Consultation

Contact Ackah Law today at (403) 452‑9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

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