How do I sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent child living outside of Canada?

Sponsor Eligibility

You may be eligible to sponsor a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner or dependent children living outside of Canada if:

  • The person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class. If he or she is not, you will not to be able to sponsor them.
  • You are 18 years of age or older;
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • You reside in Canada.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen not residing in Canada, you may sponsor your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and/or dependent children who have no dependent children of their own. You must demonstrate that you will live in Canada once they become a permanent resident. Find out more.
  • You sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic requirements of the person being sponsored and, if applicable, their dependent children. Find out more.
  • You and the person being sponsored sign an agreement that confirms that each of you understands your mutual obligations and responsibilities.

Important Notes:

  • Since March 2, 2012, 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. Find out more information about this change from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (CIC).
  • 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.

You may need to provide financial support for the family members you are sponsoring depending on their age and relationship to you. You can read more in Part 1: The sponsor's guide (IMM 3900).

If you are sponsoring other family members, you will have to prove you have an income that is at least equal to the minimum necessary income. For more information, read How do I sponsor parents, grandparents, adopted children and other relatives living outside of Canada?

Who is a Common-Law and Conjugal Partner?

Common-Law Partner

You can sponsor a person as your common-law partner if:

  • That person is of the opposite or same sex; and
  • You and your partner have lived together in a conjugal relationship for a period of at least one year.

Conjugal Partner

According to the application, the conjugal category is intended for partners of Canadian sponsors who would ordinarily apply as:

  • Common-law partners but cannot meet the definition, that is were not able to live together continuously for one year with their sponsor; or
  • Spouses, but marriage to their sponsor is usually not an available option to them, usually because of marital status or sexual orientation, combined with an immigration barrier (for example, rules preventing partner and sponsor of long stays in one another's countries).

For more detailed information, read the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Overseas Processing Manual - OP 2 - Processing Members of the Family Class [PDF]. Read section "5.25 Characteristics of conjugal relationships."

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.

For sponsorship purposes, a dependent child may be your own child or those of the person you are sponsoring. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, they must:

  • Be under the age of 19 and not 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.

Sponsorship Process

You can learn more and print the information guides and applications you need for sponsorship and immigration from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

You must pay a processing fee when you submit your application. This fee is non-refundable.

If this process is successful, an immigrant visa will be approved. You must pay a Right of Permanent Residence Fee for every person 19 years old or older for the visa to be issued. The sponsored person must come to Canada before the visa expires.

Many settlement agencies can help you with your sponsorship application. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

For More Information

Last updated: May 9, 2017 4000444