One of the objectives of the IRPA “Immigration and Refugee Protection Act” of Canada is “to see that families are reunited in Canada” (s.3(1)(d) of IRPA). The Act further explains who could be considered a family member.
IRPA s.12(1) Family Reunification “A foreign national may be selected as a member of the family class on the basis of their relationship as the spouse, common-law partner, child, parent or other prescribed family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.”
As you can see spouse (husband or wife) and/or common-law partner is considered to be a family member under the immigration law. Therefore if you are a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident who qualifies to sponsor a family member then you may sponsor your spouse in order to immigrate to Canada and become a permanent resident.
Who is a Spouse or Common-law Partner?
The simple definition for spouse is somebody whom you are married to under the foreign country and/or Canadian laws. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website for more information about the definition of spouse.
Common-law partner is somebody whom you have entered a conjugal relationship for at least 12 uninterrupted months. CIC further explains this term.
Conjugal partner is somebody who has been in a spouse-like relationship with you both physically and emotionally. Click here for more information.
According to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations certain relationships are excluded from the definition of spouse. Consult with a lawyer or an Immigration Consultant to make sure your case does not fall under any of those circumstances.
Who Can Sponsor Their Spouse?
In order to qualify as a sponsor you need to meet certain criteria. The “Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations” (Part 7 Division 3) outlines such criteria. For example you must…
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- be at least 18 years old
- reside in Canada (under certain conditions you may not reside in Canada at the time of application)
- file the sponsorship application according to the guidelines
- do not owe the government of Canada or your provincial government money or other obligations due to previous sponsorships
- not be in another marital relationship at the time of marrying to your spouse and/or applying for your spouse
There are many other conditions that apply. For example you need to show that your application is genuine and you intend to reunite with your spouse. If the sponsor is in jail they will be denied. If the sponsor has committed a crime then there is very likely that they are not eligible to apply (certain conditions exist).
There are cases that the province of your residence may have entered some agreements with the federal government to govern the sponsorship program. I strongly suggest consulting with an immigration consultant or a lawyer in order to make sure you qualify to sponsor your spouse.
You may also visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for further information and downloading necessary documents.
I wish you good luck with your application. I hope you reunite with your spouse very soon.
- Immigration to Canada: Spouse, Conjugal and Common-law Partner definition
- Can I sponsor my brothers or sisters (siblings) to immigrate to Canada
“This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer.”