The spousal sponsorship program falls under the Family class immigration category and enables Canadian Citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency in Canada. The government of Canada permits the sponsorship of family members but requires that the sponsored individual receive adequate support and care from their sponsor. This helps ensure the success of the immigration process.

To get a visa through this immigration program, both sponsor and sponsored must show their relationship and fit into one of three categories;


To receive a visa through this immigration program, the sponsor and sponsored must prove their legal relationship. They must be legally married and have documentation to support the claim. Failure to provide this proof may result in a denied visa application.

Common Law Partner:

To prove common-law relationship, live together continuously for at least 1 year with brief absences for business or family allowed.

Conjugal Partner:

A conjugal partner is a foreign national outside Canada in a relationship with a sponsor for at least 1 year, but unable to live together. To qualify as a conjugal partner, the relationship must meet specific criteria.

NOTE: Canada recognizes same-sex marriages and eligible partners may apply under any of the above three categories with meeting eligibility requirements.

Requirement of Spouse or Common Low partnership:
    Requirement for Sponsor
  • Minimum age: 18 years or above
  • Eligibility: Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residency required
  • Spousal sponsorship restriction: Cannot have sponsored a spouse in the past 5 years
  • Criminal record and bankruptcy status: Must have a clean criminal record and not be in bankruptcy
    Requirement for Sponsored person
  • Legal age for marriage: Must be of legal age to get married
  • Criminal record check: Must have a clean criminal record in home country
  • Medical fitness: Must be medically healthy Should be medically healthy

This sponsorship program enables a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency, regardless of the spouse's current location.

There are two parts to the spousal sponsorship application

1. The sponsor, a Canadian Citizen, or Permanent Resident, applies to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner. and
2. The sponsored spouse or common-law partner applies for permanent residency in Canada.

Outland Sponsorship Program

The Outland Sponsorship program is utilized when the sponsored individual resides outside Canada. It is also possible for a spouse or common-law partner living in Canada to use this program. The Outland program may allow the sponsored person to travel in and out of Canada during the application process, but it is ultimately up to the discretion of Canadian immigration officials to determine if re-entry to Canada is permitted. Note that the sponsored person may not be able to return to Canada if their application is still in progress.

The Outland visa application is handled by the visa office in the applicant's country of origin or where they lived legally for a year. IRCC aims to swiftly reunite families by promptly issuing visas for spousal and common-law partner sponsorships. The processing time is therefore prioritized to be as fast as possible.

Inland Sponsorship Program

For the Inland sponsorship category, the foreign spouse/partner must have legally entered Canada. They can continue to work or study if they hold a valid work or study permit. No disruption in their activities is expected during the sponsorship process.

The Inland sponsorship process typically takes longer than the Outland process. However, the person being sponsored through the Inland program may be eligible for an open work permit while their application is being processed. This allows them to work in Canada while they wait for the sponsorship decision. IRCC will send a written notification if an interview is required, including the date, time, and location of the interview. All necessary documents for the interview must also be provided.

Regardless of the program chosen, applicants must meet specific requirements to be considered eligible. The requirements must be fulfilled to move forward with the sponsorship process.

For further information about spousal sponsorship and assistance with the application process, reach out to Global Era Immigration. We are ready to help