Who is your family? A spouse or common law partner you met online? An orphan you adopted overseas? The parents who supported you for years? Family reunification is a key goal of Canada’s immigration policy. Under current immigration laws, you can sponsor your spouse, common law or conjugal partnerdependent childrenparents and grandparents to become permanent residents.

There are 2 kinds of sponsorship applications: Overseas and In-Canada (spouse or common law partner only). While they both have 2 steps, there are key differences in processing times and procedures and appeal rights.

Family is important to Lowe & Company and so we understand your concerns. We can help you bring your family home.

Spousal, Common-Law or Conjugal Partner Sponsorship: Step 1: Sponsor Approval

Step 1 of the sponsorship process requires the Canadian permanent resident or citizen to be approved as a Sponsor. There is no minimum income threshold requirement, but you cannot currently be bankrupt. The Sponsor must also undertake to provide basic life necessities for your spouse or partner for at least 3 years and your children for 10 years or more. This becomes a legal responsibility to continue regardless of whether a divorce ensues.

Other factors are considered, as well, including whether you obtained permanent resident status through sponsorship as a spouse, common law or conjugal partner in the past 5 years, as this would bar your eligibility to sponsor at this time.

Spousal, Common-Law or Conjugal Partner Sponsorship: Step 2: Applicant Approval

Step 2 of the sponsorship process requires the spouse, common law partner or conjugal partner to be approved as an Applicant for permanent residence. If married overseas, the marriage must be valid under both foreign and Canadian laws. A common law partner is someone whom you have a conjugal relationship with and have cohabited with for at least 1 year. A conjugal partner is someone whom you have a conjugal relationship with for at least 1 year but are not able to cohabit due to exceptional circumstances that are usually outside of a person’s control.

The relationship is evaluated on whether it is genuine and must not be entered primarily for immigration purposes. Besides a marriage certificate or evidence of cohabitation for at least 1 year, you may be required to provide pictures, letters, telephone bills, e-mails, and other evidence. As we regularly prepare such applications, we can advise you on the supporting evidence that needs to be submitted.

The Applicant also must not be criminally or medically inadmissible. Where there is an issue of inadmissibility, these can sometimes be overcome on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Spousal, Common-Law or Conjugal Partner Sponsorship: Overseas vs. In-Canada

There are 2 options for spousal sponsorship: an “overseas” sponsorship or an “in-Canada” sponsorship. Even if the sponsored spouse or partner is physically in Canada, one can still file an “overseas” sponsorship, and processing is often much faster. Each process has its pros and cons, and every case must be carefully analyzed to determine which procedure is best for your situation.

Dependent Children

You may also sponsor your natural or adopted dependent children. Dependent children are those under age 19 at the time of application. If they are 19 or over, they may still be considered your dependents. To qualify, they must be financially supported by you since before age 19 and have some physical or mental disability that restricts them from being financially self-supporting.

In certain circumstances where you are a Canadian citizen, your natural or adopted children may already be entitled to citizenship. The next step to take for your children depends on your unique set of circumstances. Discover more information on our Citizenship page or contact us to discuss your options.

Parents and Grandparents

Immigration laws for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents have gone under repeated changes. While Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their parents or grandparents, the only constants in this type of sponsorship are frequent changes in policy, tough competition and long processing times.

In the interim, it is also possible to bring parents and grandparents here for long term visits under the Super Visa program which provides 10-year multiple entry visas for parents and grandparents to stay in Canada for a maximum of 2 years for the initial visit. This includes parents or grandparents from visa-exempt countries, too.

How We Can Help

Long distance relationships are stressful enough, without the strain and uncertainty of the immigration process. An unjust refusal can be devastating! At Lowe & Company, we not only try to understand your concerns, but to anticipate your needs and questions. We care for our clients as individuals.

For Canadians sponsoring spouses from China, Russia, India, and some other countries, proving the genuineness of the relationship to Canada Immigration can be especially challenging. In some visa offices, the refusal rate can be up to 50 per cent or more.

While it is tempting to do everything yourself, successfully sponsoring your family involves far more than just filling out forms. There are often other issues to consider throughout the process: medical insurance, coming to Canada before or during your immigration processing, working during immigration processing, children from previous relationships, and more. Lowe & Company can advise you on building a proper immigration plan, prepare a convincing case with supporting documentation, prepare for interviews, search your file if things are going wrong, avoid common pitfalls that may delay your case, and be with you from start to finish.