Spouse/Partner and Dependent Child Sponsorship

Immigration Firm in Scarborough, Toronto  

Seeing families reunited in Canada is an important object of Canadian immigration program, especially for spouse/partner and dependent children. However the application is a highly complex legal process, regardless of whether it is overseas application or in-land sponsorship application. For married couple, you need to proof the relationship is genuine and not entered into primarily for acquiring immigration status. For common-law partner, you need not only proof the genuineness of the relationship, but also proof that you have co-habituated in a couple-like relationship for more than one year. 

General Spousal Sponsorship Canada Eligibility

The basic requirements for immigration to Canada as the partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsor are as follows.

Spousal Sponsorship Requirements:

  • The sponsor must be able to prove Canadian citizenship or legal permanent residence
  • The sponsor must be willing to file a sponsorship application on behalf of the partner
  • Both the sponsor and the partner must be at least 18 years old at the time of application (but not necessarily at the time of the marriage, if local law permits minors to marry)
  • The partner must fall within the appropriate family category: spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • The sponsor must prove his or her ability to support both parties financially and must sign a Sponsorship Agreement guaranteeing financial support to the partner for three years after permanent residence is approved

Spousal Sponsorship Canada Exclusions

Certain permanent residents and citizens of Canada are ineligible to serve as immigration sponsors under Canadian law.

You will be ineligible to sponsor a partner for immigration to Canada if:

  • You receive any type of social assistance excluding disability related
  • You were sponsored yourself, and you have become a Canadian permanent resident within the last five years. If you immigrated to Canada as a sponsored spouse or partner, you will have to wait until the five-year anniversary of your award of Canadian permanent residence status before you can sponsor a new spouse or partner to Canada.
  • You have previously sponsored a spouse to Canada and three years have not yet passed since they became a Canadian permanent resident.
  • You have ever failed to comply with a Sponsorship Agreement in the past. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have failed to provide financial support required on behalf of someone he or she previously sponsored to Canada are no longer eligible to sponsor a spouse to Canada.
  • You have ever violated a court order to pay alimony or child support, even if the intended recipient of these funds was a Canadian citizen
  • You were married to someone else at the time you submitted your Canada sponsorship application, regardless of whether or not plural marriage is legal in the country where the marriage took place or where the application was submitted.
  • You have ever been convicted of a crime of a violent or sexual nature. In some cases, even a conviction for threatening or attempting to commit such a crime will disqualify you from Canadian sponsorship.
  • You have ever failed to repay an immigration loan in strict accordance with the terms of the loan. Even a single late payment on an immigration assistance, transportation or Right of Permanent Residence Fee loan can disqualify a person from being able to sponsor a husband or wife to Canada.
  • You are in prison
  • You are under a Canada Removal Order
  • You have declared bankruptcy, unless the bankruptcy has already been fully discharged by the time you filed the spousal sponsorship Canada application

Financial Support

As sponsor, you must sign a three-year Sponsorship Agreement that obligates you to provide full financial support to your partner for three years beginning on the date that permanent residence is granted. This obligation remains valid even if you divorce or separate from your partner.

Unlike most other forms of family sponsorship, you typically do not need to prove a minimum income to sponsor a spouse to Canada. In some cases, however, a sponsor may need to show they have enough financial resources to provide financial support for themselves, their family, as well as their partner's family. This includes room, board, clothing, utilities, personal items such as shampoo and toothpaste, fuel, household goods, dental care, and any medical care not already provided by the public health system. For example: if a partner has a dependent child that has a dependent child, the sponsor must demonstrate they have enough income to provide for all their basic needs.

If you have a questionable credit history, high debts, or a low income, it may be more difficult for you to qualify to sponsor your partner and their family. It is not possible for your partner to co-sign the Sponsorship Agreement in order to pool resources for the purposes of meeting income requirements if he or she is the one getting sponsored. Consequently, pooling resources to meet the minimum necessary income (MNI) requirements is not an option for spousal sponsorship like it is for other types of family sponsorship to Canada.

Outland vs. Inland Spousal Sponsorship

Many couples are not eligible to apply for sponsorship inside Canada ("spouse or common-law partner in Canada class sponsorship," or "in Canada sponsorship" for short). If the partner being sponsored is not legally living in Canada at the time of application submission, outland spousal sponsorship ("family class" sponsorship) is the only option. Conjugal relationships are also not eligible for sponsorship inside Canada.

If both the sponsor and partner are legally residing in Canada, the couple may be eligible for either outland or inland spousal sponsorship. Despite being physically present in Canada when the application is submitted, if the spouse or common-law partner does not plan to remain in Canada the entire time the application is being processed, outland sponsorship may be the best route. The biggest advantage to inland spousal sponsorship is that the spouse or partner may be eligible for a highly coveted Open Work Permit, allowing him or her to be fully employed in Canada while awaiting approval for Permanent Residency. Consulting a qualified Canada sponsorship lawyer can help a couple choose between inland and outland by thoroughly evaluating the many pros and cons.

Bringing Partner's Children to Canada

A dependent child of the partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsor may accompany the partner to Canada for immigration if:

  • The dependent child is 18 or younger and has no spouse or common-law partner; or
  • The dependent child is 19 or older and has not been capable of financial self-sufficiency since before the age of 19 due to a physical or mental deficiency

Even if the partner has a child who is in the custody of an ex-spouse or a third party, the partner must list the child on his or her application or lose the right to sponsor them as an immigrant to Canada in the future if circumstances change.

If the child's mother or father is not the sponsor, and they are a minor, IRCC Form IMM 5604 "Declaration for Non-Accompanying Parent/Guardian for Minors Immigrating to Canada" must be completed by the non-accompanying parent or guardian and witnessed by a notary public. A copy of the non-accompanying parent's ID must also be included in the application.

What are its Requirements?

These are general requirements for both the Sponsor and Applicant.

SPONSOR APPLICANT (SPONSORED)
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Reside in Canada (exceptions)
  • Exceed Minimum Necessary Income (MNI)
  • Meet Low-Income-Cut-Off (LICO), if applicable
  • Not have previous unfulfilled undertaking
  • Not be in prison, bankrupt or under a removal order
  • Not be convicted of certain criminal offences

Spouse, Common-law, Conjugal Partner

  • Be at least 18 years of age (can be same sex)
  • Spouse must be legally married to the sponsor
  • Common-law must of cohabited with sponsor for at least 1 year
  • Conjugal partner must have a relationship with sponsor for at least 1 year but are not living together because of reasons beyond their control (social, legal, religious barriers)

Dependent Children

  • Be under 22 years old (exceptions)
  • Be unable to be substantially independent
  • Not have a spouse or common law partner

 

 

Inland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship Work Permit

Once the spouse or common-law partner arrives in Canada and is awaiting their Permanent Resident application, they can be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit in the meantime. The following below are the eligibility requirements.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS INELIGIBILITY FACTORS
  • Must have their Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse/common law partner submitted a sponsorship
  • Must have filed a permanent residence application
  • Must reside at the same address as their sponsor
  • Must have valid status in Canada
  • Must not have been refused of their spousal/common law sponsorship
  • Must not be out of status in Canada

Family sponsorship is a useful immigration program for those who do not qualify under the Express Entry - Federal Skilled Worker or the Canadian Experience Class. However, sponsorship application is an elaborate and complicated process where the applicant could easily be denied or rejected if there is a lack of crucial information or the detailed rules and procedures are not followed. Seeking assistance from licensed immigration professionals is the simplest and safest way to minimize chances of refusal or unnecessary delays of your sponsorship application. Contact Springwind Immigration today and we will help you with our professional consultation and documentation preparation.

 

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