Under the family class sponsorship program, Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor foreign nations whom they’re married to, or common-law partner, conjugal partner or same-sex partner, to join them in Canada.
Spousal sponsorship refers to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident being allowed to sponsor a person, who is eligible under the requirements of the program, to live in Canada with them.
These programs are designed to ensure the comfort, safety and happiness of the family, which can contribute jointly to the country’s growth and prosperity. Successful sponsorships result in the person being able to live and work in Canada and become a permanent citizen of the country.
Defining The Term “Spouse”
One of the criteria for being termed a spouse is that there should be evidence of a legal marriage between the two. This includes marriage-like relationships.
Immigration legislation admits three types of relationships as being spousal in nature:
Legal: Proof of valid marriage anywhere in the world between two people of same or opposite sex.
Common-law: Proof of having a marriage-like relationship for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the application.
Conjugal: Proof that though people have had a conjugal relationship for at least 12 consecutive months, they have not been able to live together for valid reasons.
The term “conjugal” means a relationship that encompasses sexual, financial and cohabitation aspects.
If the legal marriage took place in a foreign country, it must be considered valid there and also in Canada. If the couple was married in Canada, documentary proof in the form of the marriage certificate issued by the province or territory where the marriage took place, has to be provided.
Same-sex spouses can be sponsored if the couple was legally married in Canada. They can also be sponsored if the marriage was legally recognized in their own country as well as under Canadian law.
Common-law partners can also be same-sex partners who have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.
Conjugal partners should have valid proof that they have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year and that they could not live together because of certain valid circumstances. Marital status, sexual orientation etc are some of these reasons. However, if the couple could have lived together but chose not to, their application may be rejected as showing lack of commitment. Engaged couples cannot apply for spousal sponsorship unless they have been in a conjugal relationship and living together for more than 12 months.
Once the sponsorship is successful, the spousal partner must continue to fulfill the conditions that existed originally. Otherwise, they can risk losing their permanent residency status.
For instance, if you entered Canada as a sponsored spouse or partner, you are not entitled to sponsor a new spouse or partner for at least 5 years.
You may be subject to Conditional permanent-resident status for two years in certain cases.
Applications May Be Termed Invalid
It’s possible that your application could be rejected. Being knowledgeable, experienced immigration lawyers, we come across hundreds of cases where the applications were not presented in the right format, accompanying documentation was incomplete or the applicant was not aware of the eligibility conditions.
There are many unscrupulous consultants and lawyers who may not give you the whole picture when you consult them. They may give the impression that many of these things are minor issues that can be handled.
However, we believe in complete frankness and honesty. In our initial evaluation, we provide a genuine assessment of your circumstances and advise you on the right approach to take.
Applications for spousal sponsorship may be refused because:
- The visa officer deems that this is primarily for the purpose of immigration to Canada
- The information provided is not genuine
- The foreign citizen (spouse) was less than 18 at the time of marriage
- Either of the spouses had another spouse at the time of marriage
- At the time of application, the spouses had been separated for at least one year
- One of the spouses was not present at the marriage ceremony
From our years of experience, we help you to provide the correct information and advise you if your eligibility is in question.
How We Can Assist
The regulations and policies regarding spousal sponsorship are constantly under review. As social norms undergo changes, government policies may reflect these changes. As experienced, professional immigration lawyers, we keep abreast of all the amendments, additions, revocations etc in the immigration laws. This makes us better able to serve you.
Many applications are rejected for minor reasons. Mistakes, omissions, inaccuracies, inconsistencies etc are deliberately or unknowingly made. People unfamiliar with the process may choose to misrepresent or embellish certain facts.
We help you pick the right application class so that your information tallies with the requirements. The most common problem faced by spousal sponsorship applicants is that the visa officer may have doubts about the genuineness of your application and your marital status. To this end, you may have to produce personal emails, chat logs, phone records etc.
Another issue may be that the sponsor may not be eligible to be one. If they are on social security assistance, bankrupt, in jail, or have a criminal record in Canada, they are ineligible to sponsor a spouse.
The spouse may have dependent children. Even if they have no plans to come to Canada, they have to be mentioned in the application.
Keeping these aspects in mind, a qualified, experienced immigration lawyer can help you with all aspects of the sponsorship application so you stand the best possible chance of success.