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How to Sponsor Your Spouse or Common-Law Partner For Immigration to Canada

Written by CNN Team

From your application to your obligations as a sponsor, this is what you need to know about sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner for immigration to Canada.

Are you living in Canada? Both Canadian citizens and permanent residents are able to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for immigration, so the sponsored person can obtain a permanent resident status in Canada. This means that you and your spouse or common-law partner and family can begin building your lives in the same country. The Canadian spouse sponsorship program is within the Family Class category.

It is important to note that as of September 2020, there has been a 66% increase in the number of decision makers on spousal applications in Canada to process spousal applications faster and reduce those dreaded wait times. This is what you need to know about sponsoring a loved one:

Becoming a Sponsor

Both the sponsor and sponsored person have to be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). To become a sponsor, you must be:

  • 18-years-old or older
  • Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada
  • Not receiving social assistance for reasons other than disability
  • Able to provide for basic needs of the principal applicant and their dependent children

For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s complete guide for sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner for immigration to Canada. 

The Application Process

Putting Together Your Application Package

Firstly, research what needs to go into your spouse or common-law partner’s application package. Use this government web page to obtain your instructions, forms, and checklist. This checklist is necessary for the application. It needs to be printed, filled out, and a copy of this checklist must be submitted as the cover of your application. 

Filling Out Forms

Secondly, use your checklist as a guide for filling out forms. Submit all forms that are listed on your checklist. If your checklist tells you not to fill out specific forms, then do not fill out those forms. If there is a form on your list that does not apply to you, write “N/A” or “Not Applicable” on that section of your checklist. 

Additionally, if you need more writing space when you are answering a section, use a separate blank page to finish. 

Getting Your Documents Together

Thirdly, submit all documents included on your checklist that apply to your specific situation. Unless it is otherwise stated in your checklist, attach these documents if they are not in English or French: 

  • the English or French translation
  • An affidavit from the person who completed the translation
  • A certified copy of the original document

Applications will be returned if they include incomplete, missing, or unsigned documents and/or forms. Include a detailed explanation of why you are unable to submit an item that is listed on your checklist otherwise your application will be returned as incomplete. 

Country-Specific Requirements

Lastly, prior to submitting, check for any country-specific requirements. For example, you may have special instructions for submissions or you may be required to include additional forms. 

TIPS: Avoid common mistakes by putting together a proper application package. Check for any country specific requirements and whether you need to supply original documents. If you only send copies, they will mark your application as incomplete. Also, only use elastic bands for photos or paper clips for keeping documents together. Staples, plastic sleeves, albums, folders, and binders are not permitted. 


Before you put together an application package for your spouse or common-law partner for immigration to Canada, confirm that you are eligible to be a sponsor. Next, review your checklist as well as any country-specific requirements you may need to follow, so your spousal sponsorship is not denied. Good luck!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.