How Long Does Spousal Sponsorship Take in Canada?

by | Oct 13, 2023

spousal sponsorship canada

Eligible Canadian citizens can sponsor their spouse/partner to become permanent residents of Canada. In order to qualify as a sponsor, you must be able to support them financially. Becoming a Canadian citizen can be lengthy, and spousal sponsorship is no exception to this rule. Before applying for spousal sponsorship, it is important to understand who can be sponsored and who can be a sponsor. 


Who can become a sponsor?

If you are a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act,or a permanent resident of Canada who is over 18, you can become a sponsor. If you are currently not living in Canada, but are a Canadian citizen, you must show proof that you plan to live in Canada, when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident. You must be able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and you must be able to show that you can provide basic needs for yourself, your spouse or partner, and any dependent children you, or your partner has. 


Can I sponsor my Fiancee or boyfriend/girlfriend?

You cannot sponsor your fiancee or boyfriend or girlfriend, you can only sponsor your spouse, or common-law partner. However, if certain actions are followed, there may be a type of family sponsorship that your fiancee or boyfriend/girlfriend will qualify for. 


Sponsoring your spouse

A spousal relationship is a marital relationship-a Canadian can sponsor their husband or wife for permanent residence in Canada. The couple need to show that they are legally married. 


Sponsoring a common-law or conjugal partner

A common-law partner is a couple who have lived together for at least one year in a conjugal relationship. You may be able to sponsor a common-law partner if that person is at least 18 years of age, and has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months-one year. 


Conjugal partners are someone who is in a relationship for at least a year with someone and on whom they are dependent for all their financial, social, physical, and economic needs just like a common-law partner but they must be living apart, not by choice but rather due to situation beyond their control. You may be able to sponsor a conjugal partner if that person is at least 18 years old, is not legally married to you, or in a common-law relationship with you, but has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year. They must live outside of Canada, and cannot live with you in their country of residence, or marry you because of significant legal, or immigration reasons. 


Obligations of sponsorship

When someone agrees to be a sponsor, they must sign an undertaking. Before signing the undertaking agreement, the sponsor needs to ensure that the people they will be sponsoring will not have the need to ask the government for financial help. If your spouse receives social assistance, you, as the sponsor, will have to pack back what you received during the time you are legally responsible for them. You will not be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid that amount. 


At the start of the application process, the person becoming the sponsor must sign an undertaking, which promises to give financial support for the basic needs of your partner and their dependent children. 


What counts as basic needs:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Everyday living needs
  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Other health needs that are not covered by public health services


The undertaking is a legally binding promise of support. This means that it is your responsibility to support the applicants you sponsor for the length of the undertaking period, even if your situation changes. The undertaking will stay in effect for the length of the undertaking period, even if:

  • The person being sponsored becomes a Canadian citizen
  • You become divorced or separated, or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down
  • You or the person you sponsor move to another province or country
  • You have financial problems


For every province except Quebec, the length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident. 


How can I check the status of the spousal application

If you have applied for your sponsorship online, you can sign in to your Canada account online to check the status of your application. Click “check status and messages” under “View my submitted applications or profiles.


Can I obtain an open work permit while waiting for sponsorship approval?

No, unfortunately, you must wait until you have received approval in principle letter to be eligible to apply for an open work permit. You also cannot apply for an open work permit under another public policy or pilot program.


How long does it take to get sponsorship?

Sponsoring your spouse or partner in Canada can be a complex and time-consuming process. The processing time usually takes around 12 months, but it can vary depending on several factors. 


One of the most significant factors is the complexity of your case, which includes your previous immigration history, criminal convictions, or other issues. If your case is straightforward, it may be processed more quickly. However, if it’s complicated, it may take longer. 


Another factor that can affect the processing time is the visa office’s requirements for additional evidence to prove your relationship. It can delay the processing and extend the time if they need more proof. It’s important to note that the processing time is an estimate and may vary depending on your case’s circumstances. However, providing accurate information and following the immigration authorities’ instructions can help ensure a more efficient application process.


The best way to ensure your sponsorship application is processed as quickly and efficiently as possible is to make sure that everything is done correctly the first time. 


Volte Immigration helps Canadian citizens and residents with their spousal sponsorship applications to help with the smoothest process possible. 


Find out how Volte Immigration can help bring your loved ones to Canada by contacting us.