If you and your fiancé are hoping to start your married life together in Canada and only one of you is a citizen or a permanent resident, then you can pursue spousal sponsorship under the family class sponsorship program. Under this program, a citizen or a permanent resident can sponsor someone they are married to, their common-law partner, or conjugal partner as long as they are a foreigner. Same-sex spouses and partners are also eligible for the program and are recognized and protected by Canadian laws. Additionally, dependent children can enter Canada through this program.

However, if you are in Quebec and are interested in sponsoring someone for this program, you will have to apply through the Quebec Family Class Program. To understand the process better and enjoy a seamless experience, be sure to contact immigration consultants in Canada.

Here is what you need to know about spousal sponsorship in Canada:

The Definition of a Spouse

First, it is crucial to define who qualifies as a spouse under this program. A spouse is an individual who is legally married to another person. If the couple married in Canada, then the applicant must present a province or territory-issued marriage certificate to prove that the ceremony lawfully took place. 

However, if the couple married in a different country, then the marriage must be recognized as valid by that country’s government and Canadian law. On the other hand, if the marriage occurred at an embassy or consulate, it must abide by the country’s laws where the ceremony took place and not by the laws the embassy or consulate represents. Regardless, it must still be considered valid by Canadian law.

Same-sex spouses are also recognized under this definition, although with a few caveats. For instance, if the couple was married outside of Canada, the country must legally recognize it. 

The Definition of a Common-Law Partner

Common-law partners can also immigrate to Canada under spousal sponsorship. A common-law partner is defined as a couple that has cohabitated or lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least one straight year. The definition extends to same-sex common-law partners as well.

The 12-month period must be continuous and uninterrupted, save for short absences for valid reasons, such as business or family obligations.

The Definition of a Conjugal Partner

Conjugal partners cover couples who cannot qualify as spouses or common-law partners due to extraordinary circumstances outside of their control. Those in a conjugal relationship are deeply committed to each other, displaying the same level of commitment as a married couple or those in a common-law partnership.

To qualify under this category, conjugal partners must have maintained a conjugal relationship for at least one year. They must have been prevented from marrying or living together due to circumstances beyond their control, like immigration obstacles, marital status, and sexual orientation. However, couples that could have cohabitated but chose not to will not qualify as conjugal partners. 

The Conditional Permanent Resident Period

Individuals sponsored under this program must cohabitate in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for at least 24 months, starting when they receive their Canadian permanent residency. Otherwise, they will risk losing their status.

The conditional permanent resident period applies to couples who do not have common children. It also applies to those who are married for two years or less, dated for four years and have been married for two years or less, been in a conjugal relationship for two years or less, or who have cohabited in a common-law relationship for two years or less.


Spousal sponsorship is a great way to bring your long-term partner to Canada, especially if you have demonstrated your commitment to each other for several years. By using this guide and consulting a Canada immigration agency, you’ll find the easiest way to immigrate to the country.

If you’re looking for professional help from a trusted firm, please contact us at info@brightimmigration.com or call 1-888-404-8472.

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