How Long Will It Take To Process My Spousal Sponsorship Application?

As a Canadian citizen, you can sponsor your spouse or conjugal partner to live, study and work in Canada and even become a permanent resident. 

Canada does not undermine the importance of families and as such treats spousal sponsorship applications as a top priority. 

Processing a spousal sponsorship application does not take as much time as it would take many other immigration programs. 

Follow us to learn everything you need to know about spousal sponsorship applications.

How Long Does It Take To Sponsor Your Spouse Or Partner In Canada?

Usually, spousal sponsorship applications take approximately 12 months to process but it may take an even shorter or longer period depending on the nature of your case. 

The processing of your application may be delayed if you have a complicated case or the visa office requires additional proof. 

To ensure that your sponsorship application is processed as quickly as possible, make sure you have all the required documents right from the beginning of the process. 

Who Is Eligible For Spousal Sponsorship?

You may be eligible to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner if;

  • You are at least 18 years old 
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • You are registered in Canada as an Indian under the Indian Act
  • You are able and willing to provide the basic financial needs of your spouse or partner 

In Canada Sponsorship Class

You can apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada sponsorship class if

  • Your spouse or common-law partner lives with you in Canada. 
  • Your spouse or common-law partner should hold a valid immigration status in Canada
  • Your spouse or common-law partner would like to apply for an open work permit to work in Canada while the application is in process

Your spouse or common-law partner may also be able to submit their application under this stream if they are out of status but they would not be allowed to travel outside Canada while the application is being processed. 

Family Class (Outland) Sponsorship Class

You can apply under the Family Class if 

  • Your spouse or common-law partner lives outside of Canada
  • Your spouse you wish to sponsor currently lives with you in Canada but does not plan to stay in Canada while the application is processed
  • You plan to appeal if the application is refused

The disadvantage of applying under stream is that until your application is approved, living with your spouse may be difficult. However, your spouse may be able to apply for a temporary visa to come to Canada while their outland sponsorship application is processed.

Cost Of Sponsoring Your Spouse, Conjugal Partner, Or Common-Law Partner To Canada

Listed below are the government processing fees to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner. An additional $150 is usually included for each dependent child in your application. 

  • Sponsorship fee – $75
  • Principal applicant processing fee – $475 
  • Right of permanent residence fee – $500
  • Biometrics – $85

Total – $1135

Note: as a sponsor living in Quebec or intending to live in Quebec upon the issuance of permanent residence, you will be charged an additional CAD 289 to the fees listed above.

What Is Common-Law Sponsorship?

Canadian immigration law views common-law relationships the same way as conventional marriages and for your relationship to be eligible for common-law sponsorship, you must prove that you and your common-law partner have lived together for a year or longer in a marriage-like relationship without any long periods apart. 

What Is Conjugal Sponsorship?

Individuals in a conjugal relationship may not be able to marry their partners because of certain reasons beyond their control like immigration barriers, religious reasons, or sexual orientation. However, Canadian immigration law allows a citizen to sponsor their conjugal partner as long as they and their partner have been in a conjugal relationship for at least a year. 

What Are The Obligations I Must Fulfill To Sponsor My Spouse, Conjugal partner, Or Common-Law Partner Under Spousal Sponsorship?

In your spousal sponsorship application, you will be assessed to know if you can fulfill certain obligations to your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. This assessment includes your ability to provide their basic financial and healthcare needs. 

You must ensure that your sponsored spouse does not require any form of social assistance from the government before signing the undertaking agreement.

If peradventure, your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner requires financial help from the government while you are legally responsible for them, you are expected to pay back the amount in full. 

If you fail to repay the amount in full, you would not be allowed to sponsor any other family member. 

You are responsible for your spouse’s financial needs even if;

  • You have financial difficulties
  • Your relationship ended
  • Your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner becomes a Canadian citizen
  • Your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner moves to another country or province

Do I Need A Job For A Spousal Sponsorship In Canada?

Unlike other sponsorship programs, there is no minimum income or job requirement to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner but you are required to sign an undertaking promising to provide financial support for the basic needs of your partner. 

As per protocol, the immigration officer will assess you to know if you have sufficient funds to sponsor thus, you would need to provide proof of how you will sponsor your spouse, common-law p[artner, or conjugal partner. 

The validity of the length of the undertaking depends on the category of the sponsorship. The size of undertaking for spousal sponsorship ( including spouses, common-law partners, or conjugal partners) is 3 years from the day the sponsor becomes a permanent resident. 

Does My Spouse, Conjugal Partner, Or Common-Law Partner Need A Job Offer To Be Sponsored Under The Spousal Sponsorship Program?

Under the Spousal Sponsorship program, a sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner does not require a job offer. 

Does My Spouse, Conjugal Partner, Or Common-Law Partner Need To Demonstrate English Or French Language Proficiency?

Your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common law partner does not need to demonstrate language proficiency in English or French but they may need to take a language proficiency exam when applying for Canadian citizenship. 

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If My Spouse, Conjugal Partner, Or Common-Law Partner Has A Serious Medical Condition, Can I Still Sponsor Them?

If your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner has a serious medical condition, your spousal sponsorship application will go through as long as their health condition is not a threat to public health and safety. 

Your spousal sponsorship application may  be refused only on these grounds:

  • If there is a danger to public health
  • If there is a danger to public safety

How Do I Submit A Spousal, Conjugal, Or Common-Law Sponsorship Application?

You can submit your spousal sponsorship application through mail or IRCC’s new permanent residence application portal. 

What Documents Do I Need To Submit A Spousal, Conjugal, Or Common-Law Sponsorship Application?

In your spousal sponsorship application, you may be asked to submit the following documents;

  • Marriage certificates (if applicable)
  • Documents of identification
  • Proof of status in Canada
  • Police clearance certificates from all the countries your spouse have lived in for 6 months or longer past the age of 18
  • Medical certificate for your spouse
  • Proof of payment for applicable government fees
  • Wedding invitations and photos
  • Relationship information and sponsorship evaluation questionnaire
  • Digital photo
  • Birth certificates or adoption records for any children you may have with your spouse

To prove that you are in a relationship, you may expect to provide at least two of the following;

  • Shared bank accounts
  • Government-issued IDs
  • Proof to show that you and your spouse own property together
  • Utility bills with both of your names
  • Car insurance
  • Tax forms or pay stubs that show that you live at the same address

If you are sponsoring your common-law partner, you would be expected to provide the following evidence;

  • Photos of you and your common-law partner that demonstrates that you are in a relationship
  • Proof that you have lived together for at least 12 months
  • Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire
  • Birth certificates or adoption records for any children you may have had together 
  • You would also be expected to provide at least two of the following;
  • Documents that prove that you are each other’s common-law partner, such as employment or insurance benefits
  • Evidence of financial support or shared expenses 
  • Proof that your relationship is recognized by family and friends through letters, emails, and social media.

In the case where you are not able to provide all the documents listed above, you can find alternative ways to demonstrate your relationship with your partner. 

You can provide sworn declarations or letters of explanation that attest to your common-law status. This can raise your chances of being accepted.

If you are in a conjugal relationship and applying for spousal sponsorship, you would be expected to provide the following; 

  • Shared residence
  • Economic support. This includes joint financial arrangements, shared bank accounts, etc.
  • Evidence that your friends and family recognize that the two of you are in a relationship

Is An Interview Required For Spousal Sponsorship?

Interviews for spousal sponsorship applications are not the standard they happen when there are

  •  insufficient documents supporting the relationship claim
  •  contradictions in the forms and documents
  • Age and religious differences
  • A short period between meeting your spouse and the marriage
  • Little or no cohabitation

Reasons A Sponsorship Application Is Refused

For your spousal sponsorship application to be approved, you need to prove that your relationship is legitimate. Immigration officers consider a range of factors to determine the genuineness of your relationship. 

While some factors considered are more traditional like photos of your wedding that shows members of your family in attendance, some other factors are more unique to the cultural practices in the region.

You should be able to provide additional evidence of the legitimacy of your relationship if it is unconventional like letters of explanation that can help the visa officer see reasons why your relationship may not have the same indicators as a traditional marriage. 

Note: if you conduct a marriage ceremony over the Internet, it will not be accepted and you stand a risk of your application being refused. 

Can I Re-apply If My Spousal Sponsorship Application Is Refused?

You can re-apply if your spousal sponsorship application was refused. But ensure that you resolve any issues and provide any necessary documents that were missing in your first application that caused it to be refused. 

Can I Cancel My Spousal Sponsorship Application?

You have the right to cancel or withdraw your spousal sponsorship application. However, you can only do this before the person you are sponsoring becomes a Canadian permanent resident. 

Is There A Limit To The Number Of Spousal Sponsorship Applications Accepted By Canada?

There is no limit to the number of spousal sponsorship applications in Canada. Unlike parent and grandparent sponsorship, Canada accepts spousal sponsorship throughout the year. 

Do I Get Permanent Residence If I Marry A Canadian?

Marriage to a Canadian does not automatically give a spouse Canadian permanent residence. To become a permanent resident, you have to apply for spousal sponsorship after your marriage and if the spousal sponsorship is approved then you can receive permanent resident status. 

Can My Spouse, Common-Law Partner, Or Conjugal Partner Come To Canada While Waiting For Approval?

Yes, a tour spouse or partner can come to Canada while waiting for approval but there is no special visa for applicants waiting for a decision from immigration officers on their sponsorship programs. Some applicants may have issues applying for a temporary visa when they have a permanent residence application already in process. 

Can I Sponsor My Conjugal Or Common-Law Partner If I Am Legally Married To Someone Else?

The only way you can sponsor your common-law partner or conjugal partner when you are legally married to someone else is if you can provide proof that your marriage is broken and you have been separated from your spouse for at least a year. 

To prove this, you may expect to provide the following documents; 

  • An official agreement of separation
  • A formal declaration of the end of the marriage and the beginning of a common-law or conjugal relationship
  • A court order in respect of custody of children
  • Documents showing the removal of the legally married spouse from insurance policies or wills.

Can I Sponsor My Common-Law Partner If We Are Not Currently Living Together?

There may be circumstances that may cause you to be separated from your spouse or common-law partner like a family emergency, hostile country conditions, education-related reasons, or employment. 

One of the conditions of spousal sponsorship is that you must have lived with your partner for at least 12 months in a marriage-like relationship. 

If you are not currently living with your partner at the time you submit your application, you must provide evidence that shows you have previously lived together or intend to live together after the application is processed. 

Can I Leave Canada While My Spousal Sponsorship Application Is Processing?

Your spouse or partner being sponsored may be able to leave Canada for short periods while waiting for a decision on the application but if you are a permanent resident, you must remain in Canada while your spousal application is processed.

Can My Spouse, Conjugal Partner, Or Common-Law Partner Include Their Family Members On Our Spousal Sponsorship Application?

Yes, your spouse or partner can include any accompanying dependent children or relatives on their application for permanent residence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Get AOR For Spousal Sponsorship 2022?

You can get an AOR (Acknowledge of Receipt) from the IRCC in 12 months for both in-Canada and outside-of-Canada applications. 

What Is First Stage Approval Spousal Sponsorship?

In the First Stage, the Citizen or Permanent Resident has to apply to a sponsor and the applications will be sent to the case processing center operated by the Government of Canada in Ontario.

What Are The Stages Of Spousal Sponsorship?

The stages of spousal sponsorship include;
Apply to sponsor. 
Apply to be sponsored 
Pay your application fees
Submit your online application
Get updates about your application online.

What Happens After You Apply For Spousal Sponsorship?

If your application is approved, the IRCC will forward your application for permanent residence to the appropriate processing office and then decide whether the person being sponsored is eligible for permanent residence.
On the other hand, if it is refused, IRCC will explain the reason in an email or letter.

What Happens After Your Sponsorship Approval?

After your sponsorship application has been approved, you can expect a NAT (Notice of Arrival Transmission) advising of the arrival date of the sponsor after the medical exam and security and criminality checks have been completed.

What Does Decision Made Mean For Spousal Sponsorship?

“Decision made” can mean two things. It’s either your application has been approved or refused. If it’s approved, you will be contacted and instructed on what to do next and if it is refused, you will receive a letter explaining why.

Who Is The Primary Applicant In Spousal Sponsorship?

The sponsor is the Canadian citizen or permanent resident that wants to bring their spouse or common-law partner into Canada while the applicant is the one that is applying to come to Canada and live as a permanent resident

How Long Are You Responsible For Someone You Sponsor In Canada?

You are responsible for your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner and the dependent children or children for 3 years. 

Can Spousal Sponsorship Be Done Online?

Yes, it can. But if you cannot apply online and you require accommodation, you can ask for the application in another format either paper, braille, or large print.

Can I Stay In Canada While Waiting For Spousal Sponsorship?

Yes, you can stay in Canada while waiting for your permanent residence as long as you maintain legal status.


A spousal sponsorship application will typically take approximately 12 months to process. However, this depends on the complexity of your case. It may take longer if you have complications like not providing sufficient documents to prove your relationship. 

To ensure you do not encounter any difficulties, ensure you get it right from the beginning of the application process. 

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