Many foreign nationals have the assumption that if they marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada they automatically gain citizenship or permanent residency as well. This is unfortunately not the case. If you are married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you both must first go through the process of applying for a spousal sponsorship in the family class category of Immigration in Canada. Additionally, when applying to sponsor your spouse, there are many conditions and requirements that must be met in order for them to successfully gain permanent residency. Therefore, in this article, I will address what the responsibilities and obligations are of the sponsor in spousal sponsorship and other very important information to consider before applying for a spousal sponsorship.
Who is Eligible to Sponsor
First and foremost, before applying for a spousal sponsorship application, it is essential that you determine whether or not you are eligible to sponsor your spouse to Canada. The Canadian government examines whether the sponsor has the ability to financially sponsor their spouse to Canada. The reasoning behind this is because the Canadian government wants to ensure that the sponsored spouse does not rely on social assistance while in Canada. Furthermore, there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met prior to applying to sponsor your spouse.
The eligibility requirements for the sponsor are:
- The sponsor must be at least 18 years old
- The sponsor must either be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
- The sponsor must provide evidence that they have not received any social assistance from the Canadian government in the past (with the exception of disability)
- The sponsor must prove that they have sufficient funds to provide the basic necessities for their spouse
- The sponsor must ultimately sign an undertaking
Please note that if you are a permanent resident of Canada that is currently residing outside of Canada, you will, unfortunately, not be eligible to sponsor your spouse to Canada. You are required to live in Canada as a permanent resident in order to proceed with sponsoring your spouse. Another important factor of spousal sponsorships is that you must intend on living in Canada should the spousal sponsorship application be approved.
Undertaking Signed by Sponsor
In order to take responsibility over the sponsored spouse, the sponsor must sign a contract called an undertaking. The undertaking is ultimately a binding commitment and contract that is signed by the sponsor and sponsored applicant indicating that the sponsor will take responsibility over the sponsored applicant for a period of three years from the moment they enter Canada with permanent residency status. The responsibility and obligations of the sponsor entails financial responsibility and support for the sponsored applicant for the entire duration of the undertaking.
It is important to note that this undertaking contract will remain in effect and cannot be modified or cancelled by the sponsor even if their life circumstances change. For instance, if the couple becomes divorced or separated; if the sponsored applicant becomes a Canadian citizen; if the sponsored applicant moves to another country; or even if the sponsor has run into financial difficulties, the undertaking will remain in effect.
The moment the sponsored applicant successfully arrives in Canada and thus gains permanent residency is the exact moment that the undertaking begins. From that day until three years pass, the undertaking will be active.
Certain Circumstances that make a Sponsor Ineligible to Sponsor
There are several different financial circumstances that can prevent a sponsor from being able and eligible to sponsor in the future. For instance, if the Sponsor has sponsored another person in the past that has received social assistance or welfare while the undertaking was valid, unfortunately, the Sponsor will not be able to sponsor in the future. They will only be able to sponsor until they completely repay the Canadian government the entire amount of the social assistance that the sponsored applicant had received. Additionally, if you, the sponsor, had received an Immigration loan, such as transportation or right of permanent residence fee loan, and had missed any payments, unfortunately, you will not be able to sponsor in the future. In other words, you will be in default of your loan, and thus cannot sponsor.
On the other hand, with regards to any previous spousal sponsorship, there are other circumstances that may present themselves and make the sponsor ineligible. For example, if you have had a previous marriage, and have an outstanding balance on child or spousal support, then you cannot sponsor anyone else until the family support balance has been paid in full. On the other hand, if you were sponsored in the past, there are certain time frames that must be met before you are eligible to sponsor in the future. For instance, you may not sponsor another individual within five years of becoming a permanent resident in Canada, if you were sponsored in the past.
It is important to note that if your sponsored spouse has a criminal record, unfortunately, you will not be able to sponsor them to Canada, until they successfully overcome their inadmissibility issues.
Contact Akrami & Associates
It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned factors and information into consideration, if you desire to sponsor your spouse to Canada. If you would like to apply for a spousal sponsorship, it is extremely important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help prior to submitting your application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration matters. We have helped many of our clients unite with their spouses in Canada. If you believe that you may be eligible to apply, 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!