If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and your spouse is a foreign national without legal status, you may be able to sponsor them. A successful sponsorship application will grant your spouse a permanent resident card in Canada. The application process is a combination of filling out the proper forms, and providing supporting documentation. Some of the forms are completed by the prospective sponsor, who must gain the approval of Canadian immigration authorities. The rest of the forms and supporting documentation must be provided by the principal applicant (the person who is being sponsored). The process often involves obtaining police certificates and other civil status documents from the country where the principal applicant has citizenship.
DUVADIE Law has experience with preparing sponsorship applications for individuals from all around the world. The expertise in Canadian immigration, family, and criminal law that the firm possesses allows us to assist with even the most complicated sponsorship applications. If you are considering sponsoring your spouse’s immigration to Canada, please get in contact with us at your earliest opportunity, so we may begin to work to unite you with your loved one.
Who can be sponsored?
There are three major types of relationships that can form the basis of a sponsorship application in Canada: married spouse, common-law partner, and conjugal partner sponsorships. In Canada, spousal sponsorship applications can be brought by both opposite and same-sex partners. Canadian Immigration officials closely scrutinize the documentation submitted by the parties involved in a spousal application, because of the possibility that the relationship is not genuine. As outlined below, each type of relationship has its own evidentiary subtleties.
The regulations produced under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada stipulate that a marriage must be valid under both the laws of the jurisdiction where the marriage took place and the laws of Canada. If you married your spouse in another country, and received a valid marriage certificate, you may apply to sponsor your spouse. This type of sponsorship application is typically the most straight forward. The relationship can be reliably substantiated by the marriage certificate, and little other documentation is required.
Two people who have lived in the same dwelling together for at least one year, and are in a marriage-like relationship, qualify as common-law partners. Canadian Immigration officials will need to see evidence that the partners have been living together for the required time period. This could be demonstrated using a lease agreement that includes both person’s names. Your application would also be aided by evidence demonstrating the marriage-like nature of your relationship, such as evidence of a jointly held bank account.
Conjugal partners are people in a marriage-like relationship, but who have been prevented from living with one another for the required time to qualify as common-law partners. This may occur if two people are unable to live with one another because of visa or citizenship issues. This type of relationship can only form the basis of a sponsorship application in the most severe circumstances, and cannot be relied upon by partners who choose not to live together because it would be inconvenient to do so. Applications for conjugal partners are fiercely scrutinized by the immigration authorities, and are often very difficult to substantiate.
Who can act as a Sponsor?
To act as a sponsor, you must be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident, and be over the age of 18. You must not be currently subject to any removal order, or be serving time in prison. Your criminal record can also affect your ability to act as a sponsor. If you have been convicted of a sexual offence, a crime involving harming a partner, or a violent crime with a punishment of more than 10 years, you may not act as a sponsor.
To sponsor your spouse, you must sign an undertaking that promises you will be financially responsible for your partner for the next 3 years. Although there is no minimum income requirement to act as a sponsor, your financial situation can affect your eligibility. If you have defaulted on loans or family support payments, or declared bankruptcy, you may not act as a sponsor. If you have been sponsored and received a permanent resident’s card in the last 5 years, you are not yet able to act as a sponsor.
If you are considering sponsoring your spouse, please contact DUVADIE Law at 613-422-1155 or Toll-Free at 1-855-422-1155.
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