Effective October 25, 2012, sponsored spouses or partners must now live together in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years from the day they receive permanent residence status in Canada.
If you are a spouse or partner being sponsored to come to Canada, this applies to you if:
- You are being sponsored by a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
- You have been in a relationship for two years or less with your sponsor
- You have no children in common
- Your application was received on or after October 25, 2012
Learn more about the new conditional permanent residence measure for spouses and partners.
There are two steps to the application process for your spouse, partner or children to become permanent residents.
- As a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you must apply to sponsor your family member.
- Your sponsorship application is processed by a Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Canada.
- You will be notified in writing by the CPC about the decision on your sponsorship application.
- Your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children must apply for permanent residence.
The applications for both sponsorship and permanent residence should be filled out and sent at the same time.
How to apply
There are three steps to apply to sponsor your spouse, partner or children:
1. Get the application package
The application for permanent residence packages are different depending on whether your relatives live inside or outside Canada. Be sure to choose the correct application package.
- If your spouse, partner or accompanying dependent child lives with you in Canada, use the Application for Permanent Residence in Canada—Spouse or Common-law Partner.
- If your spouse, partner or dependent child lives outside Canada, use the Application to Sponsor a Member of the Family Class (FC).
- If you are approved as a sponsor, the CPC will forward your family member’s application for permanent residence to the appropriate Canadian visa office to continue its processing.
Read the guides for both the sponsorship and the permanent residence applications carefully before you complete the application forms. The fee for processing your forms is not refundable, so make sure you are eligible before you apply.
Use the instructions in the guide to help you fill out the application form. Be sure to provide all the documents listed in the Document Checklist. If information or documents are missing, your entire application will be returned to you and you will need to re-submit a new application with the missing information or documents.
- As the sponsor, you will sign an agreement that commits you to supporting your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years. If you sponsor a dependent child, you will commit to supporting the child for 3–10 years, depending on the age of the child.
- Your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and older dependent children must promise to make every effort to become self-supporting.
- If you sponsor your dependent children who are not accompanying your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, you will have to complete a separate application.
- You will need to have the person(s) you are sponsoring complete the application for permanent residence.
There are some extra steps to follow if the person(s) you want to sponsor lives outside Canada:
- Have the person(s) you want to sponsor complete the medical examination requirements. Instructions are in the application package. Assemble the final application for permanent residence, including applications, supporting documents and proof that the medical examination has been done.
Note: You cannot misrepresent any relevant facts in your application. You cannot misrepresent your family members and marital status, and you must inform Citizenship and Immigration Canada of any change in circumstances. You must identify all of your family members in the application. The person you are sponsoring must also disclose and have each of their close family members examined for security checks, criminality checks and medical exam by CIC or the sponsored person will be barred from sponsoring those members in the future.
2. Pay your application fees
The application processing fee is payable in Canadian funds only. Payment of fees online is the preferred method of payment.
Pay your fees online
To pay your fees on the CIC website, you must:
- have a PDF Reader;
- have a printer;
- have a valid email address;
- have a Visa®, MasterCard® or American Express® credit card;
- print the “receipt of payment” page and include it with your application; and
- pay your fees online when you are ready.
Pay your fees at a financial institution in Canada
To pay your fees at a financial institution in Canada, you must do the following:
- Get an original payment receipt form (IMM 5401). Order it online or contact the Call Centre.
- Fill the receipt form and bring it with you when you go to pay your fees.
- Include the completed payment receipt form (IMM 5401) with your application.
Pay your fees from outside Canada
If you live outside Canada, you must do the following:
- Pay your fees online on the CIC website.
- Obtain an international money order or bank draft, in Canadian funds, made payable to the Receiver General for Canada. On the front of the money order or draft, write the financial institutions’ name, its complete address (not a post office box number) and the account number(s). Submit the money order or draft with your application.
For more detailed instructions, read the Pay the fees section of the application guide.
3. Submit your application
The application package has the address you need for mailing your application to the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Mississauga, Ontario.
If information or documents are missing, your entire application will be returned to you and you will need to re-submit a new application with the missing information or documents.
Find out how long it will take CIC to process your application.
You can also read the service standards for sponsoring your family from overseas. These standards provide details about the specific level of service you can expect to receive under normal circumstances after submitting a complete application.