How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or dependent child from inside Canada?

Who can sponsor?

You may be eligible to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner or accompanying dependent child from inside Canada if:

  • You are 18 years of age or older;
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • The person you want to sponsor qualifies as a spouse or common-law partner or accompanying dependent child, in-Canada class;
  • You live in Canada and continue to live in Canada after the sponsored person gets permanent resident status;
  • You and your spouse or common-law partner both sign an agreement confirming that each of you understands your obligations and responsibilities;
  • You sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic needs of your spouse, common-law partner or accompanying dependent child; and
  • You prove that you have sufficient income to provide basic requirements for any dependent child. This requirement applies only when you apply to sponsor a dependent child who has dependent children of their own. To do this, you must provide documents that show your financial resources for the past 12 months.

Important Notes:

  • 5-year Sponsorship Bar - If you entered Canada as a sponsored spouse or partner you are not eligible to sponsor a new spouse or partner for a period of 5 years from the date you landed in Canada.
  • As of April 28, 2017, IRCC has eliminated the Conditional Permanent Residence rule for spousal and partner sponsorships. Read our news release on what has changed.
  • Work Permits - Your spouse or common-law partner may be able to work while their sponsorship application is being finalized.

Who is a spouse or common-law partner?

For sponsorship purposes, both spouses and common-law partners or accompanying dependent child must:

  • Live with you in Canada;
  • Have a valid passport or travel document;
  • Be 18 years old or older; and
  • Be your spouse or common-law partner for genuine reasons and not primarily for the purpose of getting permanent residence in Canada.

Spouse

For sponsorship purposes, a spouse is:

  • Married to you.
  • Opposite or same-sex.
  • If you were married in Canada, you must have a marriage certificate from the province or territory where you got married.
  • If you were married outside of Canada, the marriage must be legally valid in that place as well as under Canadian law.
  • If you were married in an embassy or consulate, the marriage must be legal according to the country where the embassy or consulate is located. (For example, Embassy A is located in Country B. The marriage must be valid according to the laws of Country B.)

Common-Law Partner

For sponsorship purposes, a common-law partner is:

  • Of opposite or same sex.
  • Living with you in a conjugal relationship. You must have lived together for 12 months continuously, with no interruptions (You may be apart for short periods for business travel or family reasons). You must provide proof that you have set up a household together.

Who is a dependent child?

Important Note: As of October 24, 2017, a dependent child must be under the age of 22, according to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

Dependent children may be your own child or those of the person you are sponsoring. To be sponsored, they must:

  • Be under the age of 19 and not have a spouse or common-law partner; or
  • Have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 19 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.

For more details about sponsoring your spouse, common-law spouse or an accompanying dependent child see the sponsor's guide (IMM 5289).

You can apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law, or an accompanying dependent child live with you in Canada, even if they do not have legal status in Canada. However, all the other requirements must be met.

What about conjugal partners?

The conjugal partner category is for partners who are living outside of Canada. You can find more information about sponsoring conjugal partners in How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner living outside of Canada?

The Sponsorship Process

The sponsorship application has 2 parts:

You can also get application kits by calling the IRCC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100.

For More Information

  • Sponsoring Your Family - Official information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • Do you want to sponsor your family to join you in Canada? [PDF] - This fact sheet has information about sponsorship and supporting sponsored family members. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
  • Immigration and Refugee Law - Clear language publications on legal topics relating to immigrants and refugees. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
  • IRCC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Last updated: May 9, 2017 4000443