A spouse is the person you are legally married to. If you want to sponsor your spouse, you will have to show documentation showing you are married. This means you will need a marriage certificate or whatever legal document represents marriage in the country where you married your spouse.
Canada has the concept of ‘common-law partner’. A common law partner is a person who you have been living with for a year or more. A common law partner is legally recognized in Canada as a valid sponsorship candidate. You do not need to be married to your common law partner. To sponsor a common law partner, you will need to show that you have lived together with the person with proper evidence of the same.
A conjugal partner is a person who you have been in a relationship for a year or more but don’t live with. You will need to prove that the two of you have been together for a long time.
Note that in all three cases you may need to answer questions about your relationship. Do not be alarmed or offended by this, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. There have been cases where people have used these sponsorship routes strictly for immigration i.e. getting married just so the other person can immigrate. The immigration officers who ask you the questions will only be ensuring that you have a genuine relationship with the other person.
You can also sponsor dependent children. Note that ‘dependent’ does not mean they have to be very young. The child can be up to 22 years old at the time of application. They should also not have a spouse or a common law partner. The child can also be above 22 years, but only if they are financially dependent on the principal applicant. This also includes any child that cannot be financially dependent, no matter what the age, because of a physical or mental condition.
Note that you need to be able to show that you will be able to financially and otherwise support the person you are sponsoring. If you are applying for multiple children, you need to fill out a separate application for each dependent.
Who you can sponsor
You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner who is at least 18 years old, or your dependent child. The person sponsoring and their family members must pass background, security and medical checks.
Your obligations as a sponsor
When a sponsor agrees to sponsor their spouse , they are financially responsible to provide the basic needs of the sponsored spouse or partner and their dependent children. An undertaking will have to be signed to confirm the financial support of the Sponsor.
Basic needs are:
- food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living,
- dental care, eye care and other health needs that aren’t covered by public health services.
The undertaking is a binding promise of support, meaning that it is your responsibility to support the applicant(s) for the length of the undertaking period even if your situation changes. The undertaking will stay in effect for the length of the undertaking period, even if your situation changes. The undertaking won’t be cancelled, even if:
- the person you sponsor becomes a Canadian citizen
- you become divorced, separated or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down
- you or the person you sponsor move to another province or country
- you have financial problems