Requirements for the sponsor are:

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

Requirements for the sponsored person (spouse or common-law partner) are:

  • The sponsored person must be at least 18 years of age and must not be too closely related by blood to the sponsor.

Requirements for the nature of the relationship include:

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

  • Spouse: The Sponsor and the Sponsored Person are legally married. For those married within Canada, a Certificate of Marriage from the province or territory where the marriage took place will show that the marriage is valid. Note that same-sex marriages performed within Canada are valid for spousal sponsorship. If the marriage took place outside of Canada, it must be valid under the law of the country where it took place as well as under Canadian federal law. Same-sex marriages that took place outside of Canada are not valid for spousal sponsorship, but an application can be made under either the common-law partner or conjugal partner categories if such a relationship can be proven.
  • Common-law partner: In order to establish a common-law relationship, the Sponsor and the Sponsored Person must cohabit continuously for at least one year, excluding 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, such as 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 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.

There are things that will prevent someone from sponsoring an individual from coming to Canada. These include 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, which resulted in the sponsored individual seeking social assistance to meet his or her basic needs.
  • Is under a removal order.
  • Is in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison.
  • Receives social assistance for reasons other than a disability.
  • Have filed for bankruptcy and have not received an ‘order of discharge’ by the court (he or she is still going through the process of bankruptcy).
  • 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 on his or her submitted application.
  • Were convicted of a violent or sexual offense or an offense that caused, attempted to cause or threatened to cause bodily harm to a relative.