Spousal Sponsorship

Who can be a sponsor: In Canada, only individuals who are either permanent residents or citizens are eligible to sponsor their spouses or partners. Temporary residents, including those with applications for permanent residency in process, are not eligible to sponsor their family members. Moreover, individuals who received their permanent residency through their spouse or partner sponsorship are only eligible to sponsor if they became permanent residents more than 5 years ago.

In cases where relationships end in separation or divorce following a spousal sponsorship, sponsors who wish to sponsor a new partner must wait for a period of 3 years from the date their previous spouse or partner became a permanent resident.

This waiting period is meant to ensure that the sponsored individual did not enter the country solely for immigration purposes, and to prevent fraudulent marriages or relationships solely for the purpose of obtaining permanent residency. It is important for individuals to thoroughly understand the requirements and eligibility criteria for sponsoring a spouse or partner before beginning the application process.

Spousal Sponsorship is a program offered by the Canadian government to reunite spouses or common-law partners with their partners who are living in Canada. The program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign spouse or partner for permanent residence in Canada.

What are the requirements to be a sponsor?

Sponsors have several specific requirements that must be met. These include:

Sponsored Person Eligibility

Types of Sponsorship

In-Canada Sponsorship

Outside Canada Sponsorship

Application Process

The spousal sponsorship application process includes the following steps:

  1. The sponsor completes an application package and submits it to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  2. The sponsored person completes their own application package and submits it to IRCC.
  3. IRCC conducts background checks on both the sponsor and the sponsored person.
  4. IRCC makes a decision on the sponsorship application.

Processing Times

Processing times for spousal sponsorship applications vary depending on the type of sponsorship and the volume of applications being processed. As of April 2023, the estimated processing times were as follows:

  • In-Canada sponsorship: 14 months
  • Outside Canada sponsorship: 16 months


Spousal Sponsorship is a valuable program that allows couples to reunite in Canada. If you are interested in sponsoring your spouse or partner for permanent residence in Canada, it is important to review the eligibility criteria, application process, processing times, and fees before applying.