Canada spousal sponsorship after coronavirus pandemic

How to sponsor your spouse or partner to Canada after corononavirus pandemic


Canada spousal sponsorship after corononavirus

Canada spousal sponsorship after corononavirus. Canadian permanent residents and citizens are gearing up to bring their spouses and partners to Canada as immigration processing speeds up after COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s processing of spousal sponsorship applications experienced major delays during the pandemic. See Is Canada spousal sponsorship in crisis due to COVID-19?.

The Canadian government is committed, and has always made consistent efforts, to ensure that immigrant families are able to stay together. The standard processing time for most family sponsorship applications already streamlined to 12 months prior to the coronavirus pandemic.


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Unfortunately the coronavirus pandemic upended Canada Spousal Sponsorship stream processes, processing and support services. Just like the pandemic did for other immigration programs including students visa, work permit and visiting visa processes.

However, IRCC is frantically trying to bring spousal sponsorshiop processing standards back on track once COVID-19 is effectively contained.

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

The Toronto Star reported that Canadians and their foreign spouses who were separated due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are now being reunited by the thousands.


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“IRCC will continue to pioneer innovative and compassionate ways to reunite families” according to a department spokesperson quoted by the Toronto Star.

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 aims to land over 105,000 new immigrants per year through its Spousal, Partner, and Children category. The vast majority of these immigrants are spouses and partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Immigration Class202220232024
Economic241,850253,000267,750
Family105,000109,500113,000
Refugee76,54574,05562,500
Humanitarian8,25010,5007,750
Total431,645447,055451,000

See also Quebec announces plans to raise immigration target levels.

How to sponsor your spouse or partner

There are many options for a Canadian permanent resident or citizen to bring a spouse or partner to Canada. Whichever option you take, it is important to satisfy the following primary eligibility requirements.

Requirements for the spousal sponsor

To be eligible as a spousal sponsor, you

  • must be at least 18 years of age;
  • must be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen;
  • cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence; and also
  • cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.

Find out who can apply to become a sponsor. Use IRCC’s basic guide (IMM 5525) to help you with the application steps, including:

Requirements for the sponsored spouse

  • The sponsored person must be at least 16 years of age and
  • The sponsored person must not be too closely related by blood to the sponsor.

Proof of spousal relationship


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The relationship between the sponsor and sponsored person must qualify under one of three categories:

  • Spouse: This means that the sponsor and sponsored person are legally married. For those married within Canada, a provincial or territorial certificate of marriage is sufficient proof. Note that same-sex marriages performed within Canada are valid for spousal sponsorship. A marriage from outside of Canada must be valid under the law of the country where it took place. It must also be valid under Canadian federal law. Same-sex marriages that took place outside of Canada are not valid for spousal sponsorship. However, you can apply under either the common-law partner or conjugal partner categories if such a relationship can be proven.
  • Common-law partner: The sponsor and sponsored person must cohabit continuously for at least one year. The timeline excludes brief absences for business or family reasons.
  • Conjugal partner: Conjugal partners can be of either opposite-sex or same-sex. A sponsored person is defined as a conjugal partner if:
    • Exceptional circumstances beyond their control have prevented the applicants from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses. For example, immigration barriers or legal restrictions limiting divorce or same-sex relationships; and
    • The applicants have had a mutually dependent relationship for at least one year. The relationship must be with the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law union. This can require:
      • a demonstration of emotional ties and intimacy
      • financial closeness, such as joint ownership of assets or mutual financial support, and
      • efforts to spend time together and reunite.

Ineligibility for spousal sponsorship

An individual cannot apply to become a sponsor if he or she:

  • did not pay an immigration loan, a performance bond and/or family support payments;
  • failed to support a previously-sponsored relative, resulting in the sponsored individual seeking social assistance;
  • is under a removal order;
  • is in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison;
  • receives social assistance for reasons other than a disability;
  • filed for bankruptcy and have not received an ‘order of discharge’ by the court;
  • were sponsored and held permanent resident status for less than five years;
  • sponsored another spouse/partner previously and three years have not passed since the sponsored spouse/partner became a Canadian permanent resident;
  • have already submitted an application to sponsor his or her current spouse/partner/child and a decision was not yet made;
  • were convicted of a violent or sexual offence or an offence involving bodily harm to a relative. 

Working in Canada while processing sponsorship application

If you’re sponsoring your spouse or partner they may be eligible for an open work permit. Find out how to apply.


You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.