How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent child living outside of Canada?
Who can sponsor?
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 not be able to sponsor that person.
- You are 18 years of age or older
- You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- You live in Canada:
- If you are a Canadian citizen not living in Canada, you may sponsor your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or dependent children who have no dependent children of their own.
- You must satisfy immigration officials that you will live in Canada at the time your sponsored spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or children become permanent residents of Canada. If you are travelling outside of Canada as a tourist, you are not considered to be living outside Canada.
Evidence that you will live in Canada may include 1 or more of the following:
- Letter from an employer
- Letter of acceptance to a Canadian educational institution (for example, college or university)
- Proof you are renting or own a home in Canada
- Reasonable plans for re-establishing in Canada or breaking 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 (if this applies), and
- You and the person being sponsored sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your obligations and responsibilities to each other.
You do not need to demonstrate a minimum income if you are sponsoring:
- Your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner who has no dependent children, or
- Your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner whose dependent children have no children of their own, or
- Your dependent child who has no children of his or her own.
In other cases, for example, if you are sponsoring other family members, you will have to prove you have an income that is at least equal to the minimum necessary income.
What is an undertaking?
When sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner, you must sign an agreement called, "Undertaking to Assist a Member of the Family Class," with the Government of Canada. This agreement makes sure that the sponsored family members do not become dependent on financial help from the government.
When you sign the undertaking, you agree to provide financial support for family members you are sponsoring.
If you are sponsoring:
- Your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner: you must provide financial support for 3 years. The 3 years start on the date that person becomes a permanent resident.
- Your child or your spouse's or your common-law or conjugal partner's dependent child who is less than 22 years old: you must provide financial support for 10 years or until the child turns 25 years old, whichever comes first.
- Your child or your spouse's or your common-law or conjugal partner's dependent child who is 22 years old or older: you must provide financial support for 3 years. The 3 years start from the date that person becomes a permanent resident.
For more information, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) (1) website or call the CIC Call Centre:
What is a common law or 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;
- Your relationship with that person is continuing, even though you are temporarily living apart.
This category is for partners—either of the opposite sex or same sex—in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses by living together.
You may apply as a conjugal partner if:
- you have maintained a conjugal relationship with your sponsor for at least one year and you have been prevented from living together or marrying because of:
- an immigration barrier (for example, rules preventing a partner and sponsor of long stays in one another's countries)
- your marital status (for example, you are married to someone else and living in a country where divorce is not possible) or
- your sexual orientation (for example, you are in a same-sex relationship and same-sex marriage is not permitted where you live)
- you can provide evidence there was a reason you could not live together (for example, you were refused long-term stays in each other's country).
There is no category for fiancé (e)s in Canada's immigration system.
Visit the CIC website for more information or call the CIC:
The sponsorship process
Fill out an application form and pay a non-refundable fee when you submit your application.
You can download a Sponsorship Application Kit (2) from the CIC website or get one by calling the CIC Call Centre.
CIC has a Joint Application Guide for you and the person you are sponsoring. This includes the application for sponsorship and the application for permanent residence. The person you are sponsoring must complete the forms and get the documents needed for the application. Once this is done, you will submit both the sponsorship and permanent residence applications together.
If your application is successful, an immigrant visa will be approved. You must pay a Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) for every person 19 years old or older for the visa to be issued. The sponsored person must come to Canada before the visa expires.
If your application is refused, you have the right to appeal. All immigration appeals are handled by the Immigration Appeals Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) (3). For more information, contact the IRB:
Many settlement agencies can help you with your sponsorship application. To find help in your area, call 2-1-1 to speak with a Community Information Centre (4) representative.
For more information:
(1) Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC):
(2) Sponsorship Application kit:
(3) Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB):
(4) Community Information Centres:
(5) CIC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters.