Applying For Spousal Sponsorship

applying for spousal sponsorship

Can I Begin Applying for Spousal Sponsorship?

Are you wondering how about applying for spousal sponsorship to help you and your significant other reunite in Canada and begin living a life together? This is the wish of many partnerships in which one individual is happily living as a permanent resident in Canada, or is a Canadian citizen, and the other is a foreign national who is only permitted to come to Canada on a temporary basis. If your significant other can be legally defined as a spouse, common law partner or conjugal partner, you may be eligible to sponsor them to become a permanent resident of Canada as well. In this article, we will help you understand if your partnership meets the legal requirements which make you eligible for spousal sponsorship, and how to go about applying for spousal sponsorship, so that you and your significant other can reunite in Canada.

What Types of Partnerships Can Apply for Spousal Sponsorship?

There are three different types of partnerships the Canadian government recognizes and considers eligible for spousal sponsorship. These are legally recognized marriages, common-law relationships, and conjugal partnerships. Please note, in recognizing any of the following partnerships the Canadian government gives no requirement regarding the sex of either partners. The important requirement is that by the time the application is received by Canadian immigration services, both partners are over the age of 18. If both partners meet these requirements, the couple can begin applying for spousal sponsorship.

What is a Legally Recognized Marriage in Canada?

For your marriage to be considered legal in Canada you must have a marriage certificate for proof. It is important to understand that for your marriage to be considered legal by Canadian immigration services, the marriage must be conducted in such a way that it is legally recognized by both the country in which the marriage took place, and would also pass the legal qualifications of a Canadian marriage. In Canada, you must be over the age of 18 to get married. Regardless of the laws in the country which you got married, being under the age of 18 will stop the Canadian government from legally recognizing your marriage. Also, the Canadian government does not recognize marriages which are conducted by proxy, telephone, internet or fax. Unless both partners are physically present for the ceremony, the marriage is invalid under Canadian law. The only exemption to this rule exists for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, if your involvement with the Canadian Armed Forces was the reason you could not be physically present at the marriage ceremony.

What is a Common Law Partnership in Canada?

Under Canadian law, legal common law partners are essentially spouses, except it does not require a divorce to end the partnership. Under Canadian law, when one partner seeks to end the relationship, the relationship is considered to be over. To be legally considered a common law partnership individuals must have lived together and be engaged in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 consecutive months, or 1 full year. During these 12 months, both partners must be living at home together the entire time. Any periods spent apart must be short and either related to business travel or family obligations. Obviously, to apply as common law partners, the two of you cannot be married. Also, the same requirements stand for common law partners as a marriage which can be considered legal in Canada. This means both partners must be over the age of 18.

How Can I Prove My Common-Law Partnership

There are a variety of documents the Canadian government is willing to accept as proof that you and your partner have been living together. This includes but is not limited to the following:

· Proof of shared ownership of residence/ proof of shared rental agreements,

· Bills for shared utilities such as gas, electricity, telephone, or other utilities you may use,

· Official documents showing you live at the same address such as a driver’s license, insurance policies, a health card or other identification documents which give proof of address.

Please remember – these documents, such as utility bills and rental agreements, must be at least 1 year old to prove you have been living together for at least a year.

What is a Conjugal Relationship in Canada?

The Canadian government recognizes it is not always possible to meet the above requirements, so they have provided a third scenario in which they are willing to recognize a partnership as legally valid. In the case you and your significant other have been in a conjugal, binding relationship for at least 12 consecutive months, but are unable to live together because one of the partners resides outside of Canada, you may be considered to be common-law partners even though you cannot meet the requirement of having lived together for 12 consecutive months. It is important to understand that if both partners are currently living in Canada, you cannot begin applying for spousal sponsorship as conjugal partners. This option is only available if one of the two partners cannot live in Canada for some reason, or you two cannot get married.

Understand Applying for Spousal Sponsorship

To apply to sponsor your spouse, it is important to understand the application process, as it is extensive. First, there are two parties involved in the sponsorship; the sponsor and the principal applicant. The sponsor is the individual currently living in Canada, who is inviting their significant other to live with them. The principal applicant is the foreign national seeking permanent residency in Canada.

Requirements of the Individual Sponsoring Their Significant Other

First, the sponsor must ensure they are eligible to sponsor their spouse. To be considered eligible to sponsor another individual you must be at least 18 year old, be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, you can be living outside of Canada as long as you can prove you have the intention to move back to Canada permanently when your spouse is successfully sponsored and become permanent residents. If you are a permanent resident, you must be living in Canada to be eligible to sponsor your spouse. At the same time, you must be able to prove you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability and that you can provide the basic needs for you and the individual you are sponsoring. If you meet these requirements, you can send in your application to become a sponsor.

Requirements of the Individual Seeking Permanent Residency

Then, the principal applicant must evaluate whether or not they meet the requirements of an individual who is applying for permanent residency in Canada. This includes being considered an admissible traveler to Canada. At the same time, together you must qualify as one of the above partnerships to begin applying for spousal sponsorship.

Please note, you must send in both the application to sponsor and the application to become a permanent resident at the same time, together.

Most Important Things to Consider Before Applying for Spousal Sponsorship

There are various documents individuals will need to submit to complete their application for spousal sponsorship. Among the many documents needed, it is most important to keep in mind you will need to complete a police background check and submit it with your initial application. In previous years, immigration officers would request this be done after the initial application was submitted, but in an effort to reduce processing time, they now ask that you submit it right away. Additionally, it is most important that your application convince an immigration officer that the relationship between you and your significant other is genuine, and is not simply a method to get the principal applicant permanent residency in Canada. Spousal sponsorship is often taken advantage of in this way; therefore, this is arguably the most important element of your application.

What Do I Need to Include in my Application?

Along with these elements, your application will require the sponsor to show proof of income, and state that they agree in writing to support the principal applicant financially for a minimum of 3 years. At the same time, the principal applicant must state in writing that they will make every attempt to support themselves. You will also need to provide information about the principal applicant’s dependents (children) and close family members, as well as your close family members and dependents. Each of the principal applicant’s close family members who are not already Canadian citizens will need to complete a police records check as well as a medical exam to ensure the principal applicant is not inadmissible to Canada as the result of having an inadmissible family member. You will receive a request for you an each of your family members must complete a medical exam. This request will have instructions on the form which must be completed by the medical examiner, and a time period within which the medical exam must be returned. Generally, you will have 30 days to complete the exam and return it to Canadian immigration services.

Please note, based on your country of origin, you may be required to submit additional documents.

What If I Am Refused As A Sponsor?

If you are refused as a sponsor, it is not the end of the road for you and your partner even though you have been unsuccessful in applying for spousal sponsorship. Though, your partners next option is to apply for permanent residency the same way any other individual wanting to live in Canada, would.

What Do I Need To Know For Arriving at the Border?

Once you arrive at the border as a principal applicant who has successfully been sponsored by your spouse for permanent residency, there are a few things you’ll need to know, to avoid any unwanted surprises. First, you’ll need to show your confirmation of permanent residency (COPR) and your permanent resident visa to a border officer. You will also need a valid passport. It is incredibly likely you will also need to answer questions similar to those which were required in your application, to ensure the information you provided in the application is genuine. Finally, you will need to declare any money in any form you are bringing with you to Canada. If the border officer has any suspicions about you entering Canada, they have complete authority to deny you entry at the border. Therefore, it is incredibly important to be prepared at the border, and expect to be questioned to ensure your attempt to enter Canada is genuine.

Contact Akrami and Associates

We understand that applying for spousal sponsorship can be very confusing, and overall, a very stressful process. It is essential that you have met all of the aforementioned requirements before you attempt to apply for a spousal sponsorship, to avoid any unnecessary delays. Most of all, it is important that you do not overlook any aspect of the application, especially the parts involving close family members, as your misunderstanding could lead an immigration officer to believe you intentionally left information out. This is a disastrous mistake to make, as you will likely be accused of misrepresentation, and ultimately this will make you ineligible to sponsor any individual in the future, or make you inadmissible to Canada if you are the principle applicant. Spousal Sponsorship applications are difficult applications to pursue on your own. Therefore, if you have any questions about the process, it is highly recommended you contact an immigration professional. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients obtain permanent residency in Canada through the spousal sponsorship. If you believe that you may be eligible to sponsor your spouse, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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