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There are multiple pathways that an individual can consider when pursuing a permanent residency in Canada. In previous blogs, we have discussed Express Entry streams to permanent residency. Another stream to permanent residency is through Spousal Sponsorship. 

In 2022, the Canadian government has an admission target of 80,000 people under the Spouses, Partners, and Children Program to support families in Canada. This is an increase from approximately 38,607  individuals who obtained permanent residency through Spousal Sponsorship in 2020. 

This blog will outline the requirements and procedure for Spousal Sponsorship applications.


Spousal Sponsorship is an immigration stream in which Canadian citizens and permanent residents may apply to sponsor their spouse or family members to become permanent residents in Canada. 

In this post, we focus on the sponsorship of spouses, common-law partners, or conjugal partners. 


There are two avenues for making a Spousal Sponsorship application. One avenue is through Inland Spousal Sponsorship (“In-Canada Application”). The In-Canada application is for those who are in Canada with valid status at the time of the application and who plan on remaining in Canada for the length of the application and while the application is processing.   

One significant advantage of this category is that the sponsored individual/applicant is eligible to secure an open work permit pending processing of the file. 

One disadvantage to this category is that applicants are generally expected to remain in Canada throughout the full process. This means that applicants face a risk that if they leave Canada and are unsuccessful in re-entering, then the application could be cancelled and the applicant would have to start the process again. 


The “out-of-Canada” application, by contrast, is processed outside of Canada and the applicant comes to Canada (and secures permanent residency following approval of the application at the relevant consulate/embassy outside of Canada.

The processing times for out-of-Canada applications vary depending on the location of the sponsored individual. 


To determine eligibility for Spousal Sponsorship, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will assess both the Sponsor as well as the Sponsored Individual/Applicant. 

Am I Eligible to be a Sponsor?

In order to be eligible to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, you must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Must be over 18 years of age; 
  2. Must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident; and
  3. The Sponsor must be able to support the financial and basic needs of the person that they would like to sponsor. 

There is technically no minimum income requirement to sponsor a spouse/common-law partner/conjugal partner. However, it will be important to ensure that you can demonstrate that you have the income necessary to support yourself and your family in Canada. 

Who can I Sponsor?

Under the Spousal Sponsorship stream, you can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.  It is important to first understand Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s definitions of the qualifying relationships prior to proceeding with an application. 

  1. Spouse: An individual who is legally married to the sponsor and at least 18 years old.
  1. Common Law Partner: An individual who is at least 18 years old, is not legally married to the sponsor, and has been living with the sponsor for at least 12 consecutive months without long periods apart. 
  1. Conjugal Partner: An individual who is at least 18 years old and has been in a relationship with the sponsor for at least one (1) year. A conjugal partner is an individual that cannot live with the sponsor in the same country due to their marital status, sexual orientation, or risk of persecution. 


To prepare for the application, you can begin collecting documentation that will help demonstrate that your relationship is genuine. Some examples may include: 

  1. A marriage licence
  2. A co-signed purchase agreement for your residence or other property
  3. A life insurance policy listing one another as a beneficiary
  4. Copies of income tax returns filed as married spouses
  5. Copies of wedding photos/invitations, photos of you and your partner together during major milestones, etc. 


Whether an employer or an employee, we encourage you to contact your Toronto Employment and immigration lawyers at Sultan Lawyers for advice on applying for permanent residency in Canada. At Sultan Lawyers, our workplace immigration lawyers regularly provide fast and effective assistance to foreign workers and permanent residents to ensure a smooth transition from permanent residency to Canadian citizenship. We provide high-level guidance and provide our clients with the information needed to make informed decisions in relation to their immigration status in Canada. 

Contact us by telephone at (416) 214-5111 or here. for a flat-rate consultation.

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