Spousal sponsorships are a frequently accessed program of the family class of permanent residency applications. Both Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents can sponsor a spouse to come to Canada. Spouses, under the spousal sponsorship program include married couples, common law partners and conjugal partners. Same sex relationships that fall under these three categories also apply for spousal sponsorship to Canada. In addition, engaged people (people planning to marry but not legally married) cannot apply under the spousal sponsorship program until after their marriage.
What Relationships Are Recognized For Spousal Sponsorship?
Legal marriages indicate that someone is your spouse. For a marriage to be legal, you must have a marriage certificate issued by the province (or territory) where you were married if the marriage was in Canada. If the marriage was outside of Canada, then the marriage must be legal according to the country where the marriage took place. Marriages held in embassies or consulates, must follow the laws of the country that houses the embassy or consulate.
Common law partnerships are defined as people who have been living with one another in a conjugal relationship. The conjugal relationship must have been for at least one year in an ongoing 12-month period. Short absences because one partner was on travel for business or family reasons do not reset the time.
To show common law status for your spousal sponsorship application in Canada, you have to prove, with a common law union statutory declaration, that you and your common law partner have a home together. Some of the factors that demonstrate this include:
- joint bank accounts;
- credit cards;
- joint owners of a home;
- rental agreements in joint names for your house;
- joint receipts from your rental home;
- registration and/or payment of household utilities in joint names;
- joint management of your household expenses;
- jointly buying household furnishings together; and/or
- mail received as individuals or as a couple to the same address.
Sometimes people, by necessity, live separately but are still in a conjugal relationship. Canadian law includes these relationships in the spousal sponsorship class of permanent residency applications.
These relationships are more than physical or sexual in nature. The key factors is a dependence on one another. The relationship must also be long term or permanent in nature. Essentially the commitment to each other is the same as people who live together as a couple or who went through a legal marriage.
Allowances exist for conjugal relationships lasting more than a year under the Spousal sponsorship rules. Further, legitimate reasons must exist as to why something prevented you from a legal marriage ceremony or living together. These reasons may be legal, such a living in a place that does not allow same sex marriages, or divorces to allow for a new marriage, or related to citizenship in that one party cannot move to the country of the other party.
It is important to note that spousal sponsorships are subject to a two year “probationary” or “conditional” period. In order to deter marriage of convenience, the Canadian government has legislated that a permanent resident status may be revoked if the relationship under the spousal sponsorship does not last for two years from the time of the issuance of the permanent residency. Most importantly, some exemptions exist, so call us for more information.
Eligibility Requirements for Spousal Sponsorship
Spousal Sponsorship Checks
One of the requirements under the program is for medical, background and criminal checks. These checks prevent people who create a risk to Canadians or a drain on Canadians from moving to Canada.
Minimum Age to sponsor someone
A person who sponsors a spouse must be at least 18 years old.
Spousal Sponsorship means Financial Support
Requirements exist for you to have financial responsibility for the spouse that you sponsor. You must show that you are able to do this. There is a three year period where you must have this responsibility. Spousal sponsorships that result in the sponsored spouse seeking financial support from the Canadian government may result in the person who sponsored the spouse being barred from sponsoring anyone else.
Other Spousal Sponsorship Limits
There are other limits on Spousal Sponsorship. You cannot sponsor a spouse who is under 16 years old. In addition, if someone sponsors you into Canada under this program, then you do not have the ability to sponsor a new spouse into Canada within 5 years of becoming a permanent resident. Other restrictions exist under this program, so make sure you call us for details.
Lawyers Who Can Help You With Spousal Sponsorship
The process to apply for spousal sponsorship overwhelming. You want to make sure that you do it right. A failed application can limit your ability for your spouse to get permanent resident status. Our experienced team can help you make sure that your application is in order prior to submitting it. It is important to remember that misstating anything on your application can have serious consequences. Our team understands this. Therefore, we ensure the proper drafting, completion and filing of your application, giving you the best chance of a successful outcome.
In addition, you may download our PDF brochure for more information & pricing on our Spousal Sponsorship legal services: Kahane Law – Spousal Sponsorship.pdf