How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent child living outside of Canada?
You may be eligible to sponsor a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner or dependent children living outside of Canada if:
- the person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class; if he or she is not, you will be found not to be a sponsor,
- you are 18 years of age or older,
- you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
- you reside in Canada,
Note: Canadian citizens not residing in Canada may sponsor their spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or dependent children who have no dependent children of their own. They must satisfy immigration officials that they will reside in Canada at the time their sponsored spouse, common law or conjugal partner and/or children become permanent residents of Canada. Canadians traveling abroad as tourists are not considered to be residing outside Canada.
Sponsors must provide evidence that they will reside in Canada at the time their sponsored spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or children become permanent residents of Canada. Evidence that they will reside in Canada may include one or more of the following:
- letter from an employer;
- letter of acceptance to a Canadian educational institution;
- proof of having rented/bought a dwelling in Canada;
- reasonable plans for re-establishing in Canada or severing ties to the other country.
- you sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored and, if applicable, his or her dependent children, and
- you and the person being sponsored sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities.
You must agree to sign an “Undertaking to Assist a Member of the Family Class” with the Government of Canada. The purpose of this agreement is to ensure that the sponsored family members do not become dependent on financial assistance from the government.
You must provide financial support for the relatives or family members you are sponsoring depending on their age and relationship to you. If you are sponsoring:
- your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner: you must provide financial support for three years from the date that person became a permanent resident;
- your, or your spouse’s, common-law or conjugal partner’s dependent child who is less than 22 years of age: you must provide financial support for 10 years from the date that person became a permanent resident or until the child turns 25 years of age, whichever comes first;
- your, or your spouse’s, common-law or conjugal partner’s dependent child who is 22 years of age or older: you must provide financial support for three years from the date that person became a permanent resident.
What is a Common-Law and Conjugal Partner?
You can sponsor a person as your common-law partner if:
- that person is of the opposite or same sex,
- you and that other person have cohabited in a conjugal relationship for a period of at least one year, and
- your relationship with that person is continuing, even though you are temporarily living apart.
According to the application, the Conjugal category is intended for partners of Canadian sponsors who would ordinarily apply as:
- common-law partners but cannot meet the definition, that is were not able to live together continuously for one year with their sponsor, or
- spouses, but marriage to their sponsor is usually not an available option to them, usually because of marital status or sexual orientation, combined with an immigration barrier (for example, rules preventing partner and sponsor of long stays in one another’s countries).
There is no provision for fiancé(e)s in Canada’s immigration legislation. If you are the fiancé(e) of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you must marry before the immigration process takes place. Conjugal partners are not fiancé(e)s and are not fiancé(e)-like (that is, intending to live together and begin a conjugal relationship).
If this process is successful an immigrant visa will be approved. A Right of Permanent Residence Fee must be paid for every person 19 years of age or older for the visa to be issued. The sponsored person must come to Canada before the visa expires.
If a family class application is refused, you have the right to appeal. All immigration appeals are handled by the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
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