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Holding Hands

Sponsor Your Spouse or Common-Law Partner

You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner if you are at least 18 years old and your relationship is genuine (real) and wasn’t entered into just to get permanent resident status in Canada.

When you agree to sponsor, you sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of the people you’re sponsoring, and any of their dependent children. Some of the basic needs include food, clothing, shelter, and other needs for everyday living. Dental care, eye care and other health needs are not covered by public health services.

Before signing the undertaking agreement, you should make sure that those you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll need to pay back what they received. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid the amount.

As sponsor, you must be:

  • at least 18 years old

  • a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident living in Canada:

    • If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative(s) become(s) a permanent resident

    • You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada

  • able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and

  • able to provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring (and in some limited situations, that you meet the low-income cut-off)

You can’t sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner if one or more of the situations below applies to you:

  • You failed to pay

  • You have failed to provide for the basic needs of a previously sponsored relative who received social assistance

  • You are under a removal order

  • You are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory, or prison

  • You receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability

  • You are still going through the process of bankruptcy (undischarged bankruptcy)

  • You have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application hasn’t been made yet

  • You were convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences

It is also important to know that you can’t sponsor a spouse or partner if you were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago or you sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident.

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