Spouse PR sponsorship Canada – Visa Rules, Eligibility, Requirements

(Last Updated On: October 17, 2019)

Once someones arrives in Canada as a PR, the first question in their mind is how to sponsor their spouse / common in-law partner and dependants as a PR into Canada. In this post, we will cover spousal/partner visa rules, checklist, eligibility and requirements.

Under Family Class immigration category, a permanent resident (PR) or Canadian citizen may sponsor a spouse or common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence. Sponsorship works in two way:

1.Outland sponsorship

If sponsored person (spouse or common law partner in our context) is living outside Canada then it falls under Outland sponsorship category. Spouse or common law partner living in Canada with valid temporary status can also apply through Outland program. Although this option permits spouse or common law partner to travel freely throughout application process but it is entirely at the discretion of CIC to whether allow individual to re-enter Canada or not.

2.Inland sponsorship

Under the Inland sponsorship category, the foreign spouse/common-law partner must have valid temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. If the sponsored person already has a work or study permit, he or she may continue to work or study as long as the permit is valid, however it is important to note that working and studying in Canada without valid status are illegal and may result in serious consequences for the sponsored person.

When a person is being sponsored through Inland application then he or she is eligible for Open Work Permit (OWP) while his or her application is under processing. This is because of long Inland application processing time compared to Outland sponsorship.


Application for OWP (Open Work Permit) can either be applied during Permanent Residency (PR) application or even at later stage.


You are eligible to sponsor your spouse, common law partner or dependent child if:

  • Your age is atleast 18 years
  • You’re one of following:
    • Permanent Resident (PR) residing inside Canada. As you cannot sponsor someone if you’re loving outside Canada.
    • Canadian citizen. If youre living outside Canada then you need to show your intentions to love in Canada when person you’re sponsoring becomes permanent resident of Canada.
    • Person registered as Indian in Canada under the Canadian Indian Act.

If you’re Canadian citizen living outside Canada you can sponsor your spouse or common law partner, if you can prove that you’ll live in Canada when sponsored person is approved as PR. Canadian citizens travelling as a tourist to another country is not considered to be living abroad.
If you’re Permanent resident living outside Canada then you can not sponsor anyone to Canada.

If you are eligible to sponsor your partner then you have to prove that your relationship is legit and falls under one of the following:

  • Spouse: This means sponsor and sponsee are legally married. A valid certificate of marriage is required from country where marriage took place. Note: Same sex marriages are only valid if it is valid under law of that country where marriage took place. Same-sex marriages performed within Canada are valid for spousal sponsorship.
  • Common-law partner: Common law relationship means continuous cohabitation (having common affairs and living under one dwelling) for atleast one year. No intermittent cohabitation which adds up to one year is entertained, unless there is brief absences for business or family reasons.
  • Conjugal partner: Relationship between partners is considered conjugal if they share mutual dependent relationship with same level of commitment as common law or spouse but exceptional circumstances, beyond their control have prevented them from being qualified as one. This type of relationship requires:
    • proof of intimacy
    • emotional ties
    • mutual financial support, and
    • proof of efforts to spend time together and reunite


Requirements for sponsor

Being a sponsor, you must meet all the following requirements:

  • You’re not receiving any social assistance for reasons other than a disability.
  • You can and are willing to provide for the basic needs of your spouse and any dependant child.
  • You should not have declared bankruptcy which has not been discharged.
  • You are not in jail, prison, or a penitentiary for threating, attempt or commiting an criminal offence.
  • You were not sponsored by your common law partner or spouse within last 5 years.
  • You are not bound by any undertaking which you signed for your previous spouse or common law partner to take care of them financially.
  • You do not have to pay back any outstanding social assistance, which your previously sponsored person received while undertaking was in place.

If you’re sponsoring your spouse you don’t necessarily show your financial status but if you’re sponsoring a dependant then you certainly have to follow LICO (Low Income Cut Off) and meet the requirements.

Size of family
Minimum income (in CAD)
For more than 7,
Add additional

Requirements for sponsored person / sponsee

Sponsored person must:

  • be at least 16 years of age and
  • must not be related by blood to the sponsor.


As a sponsor you must ensure that your information is complete and accurate and all requested documents are attached with your application, else your application will be returned back to you and this will delay in processing as well. Make sure you are on top of everything mentioned under:

  • Passport or travel documents are most important requirement for person you are sponsoring and their accompanying family members. While applying you have to make sure that sponsored person’s passport is valid for at least another 12 months or send copies of the new travel document or passport to the application processing office.
  • Police Certificate is another essential requirement and needs to be submitted by sponsored person and any family members who is 18 or older and is not Permanent Residents or Canadian Citizen. Multiple police certificate might be required from if candidate has lived in another country for six months or more.
  • English or French translation must be submitted for any document that is not in English or French, unless otherwise stated on personalized document checklist. Make sure to submit:
    • certified copy of the original document
    • the English or French translation of that document, and
    • an affidavit from the person who completed the translation
  • Employment / Source of Income. Provide documentation showing that you can support the person you are sponsoring. If you are working in Canada then provide:
    • an original letter from your current employer stating your period of employment, salat and hours per week
    • Proof of income statement (Option C)
    • most recent Notice of Assessment
  • You must provide evidence that relationship between you and your spouse is genuine. If you are:
    • Living away from your spouse
      • Proof of contact like emails, social media conversations and other documented proof of contact.
      • Proof of visits to meet each other.
    • Living with your spouse
      • Proof of joint ownership or rent agreement.
      • Insurance showing either one of you as spouse
  • Complete and accurate information must be filled in all applications. Make sure you fill out all sections and if a section doesn’t apply to you, write “not applicable” or “N/A” next to the appropriate section.

This entire process involves a lot of application work and supporting documents. Make sure you are entering correct information in every application field as CIC will return your complete application package if anything is missing or not correct. Wish you luck !



You can post comments in this post.

  • Ali, Income proof is not required to sponsor a spouse. However you might need to prove your residency in Canada which you dont seem to have.

    Jot SIngh 2 years ago Reply

  • Hi,

    I live and work in the US. I am a Canadian and my wife is American. I want to sponsor her so we can both move to Canada. How do i show proof of income? I work in US so I dont have CRA Notice of Assessment. Please advise.

    Ali 2 years ago Reply

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