Spousal Sponsorship in Canada 2022
Whether the application is completed domestically or at a Canadian embassy or consulate overseas, a foreign individual seeking spousal sponsorship to Canada confronts a lengthy legal process. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident must sponsor the foreign spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who wishes to immigrate to Canada.

Canada Spouse Visa

If the application for spousal sponsorship is approved, Immigration Canada will alter the partner’s immigration status to permanent resident of Canada. If the partner lives outside of Canada at the time the application is completed, Canadian immigration officials will grant the partner a Canada Spouse Visa (Confirmation of Permanent Residence), and he or she will become a permanent resident of Canada only after entering the country.


Canada Immigration Terminology for Spouse Sponsorship

Depending on the context, the term “partner” refers to someone seeking immigration to Canada as the spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.


A “sponsor” is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who applies for immigration benefits on behalf of his or her partner.


Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the federal government department in charge of all immigration proceedings in Canada, has recently been renamed Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). On this website, the phrases “Immigration Canada” and “Immigration Canada” are used interchangeably.


Relationships That Qualify

For the purposes of immigration to Canada, the following connections with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are deemed functionally similar under Canadian law.


Spouse: You must be lawfully married to the sponsor to qualify as a spouse. Regardless matter where you lived after you were married, the marriage must have been regarded lawful when it was entered into under the law of the place where you were married and under Canadian law. A marriage in which one of the parties was legally married to two or more partners at the same time under the law of a foreign country would be an example of a marriage that might be recognized abroad but not in Canada.


Common-Law Partner: If you have cohabited with your partner in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, you are considered a common-law partner under Canadian law (12 consecutive months, not necessarily an entire calendar year). Short absences for work or family reasons are permissible within this 12-month period. Because you won’t be able to produce a marriage certificate, Canadian immigration officials may ask for additional proof of your relationship’s legitimacy. Keep in mind that “cohabitation” entails more than just sharing a home; you must have integrated your affairs, including your finances.


Conjugal Partner: The conjugal partner category is for partners who would have qualified under the spouse or common-law partner categories but were unable to do so due to local law or other conditions beyond their control, such as immigration restrictions or marital status. For instance, if you were married to someone else and were unable to divorce due to local laws. Failure to cohabit due to one or both spouses’ unwillingness to leave school or a career to be with the other does not qualify as a valid cause for not living together. Furthermore, if you have been separated from your partner for a year or more and one of you is the conjugal partner or common-law partner of someone else, you cannot qualify as a conjugal partner.


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