Family reunification is a vital component of Canada’s immigration agenda. The Spousal visa allows applicants married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident the unique opportunity to be sponsored along with their dependent children. The applicant and their spouse must be married and show the genuine and continuing nature of the relationship and intend to live together in Canada, upon approval.
A Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident who is living in Canada may be eligible to sponsor their spouse (same or opposite sex) and any dependent children for permanent residence in Canada. An application for sponsorship can be made for a spouse or partner who is living either inside or outside Canada.
Spousal Visa Basic Requirements
A sponsor must be a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident living in Canada and be at least 18 years of age. A sponsor is also required to agree to provide financial support for their spouse for three (3) years and any dependent children for up to ten (10) years. Those who have previously sponsored relatives to come to Canada may need to satisfy additional requirements to be eligible to sponsor their spouse.
A spouse must be legally married to their sponsor, in either a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage, that is legally valid and recognized by both Canadian law and the law of the country where the marriage occurred. Both the sponsor and the spouse are required to meet additional requirements to apply for permanent residence and must undergo health and character checks. 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 they have been married for two years or less and have no children with their sponsor.
Spousal Visa Entitlements
A spouse, and any dependent children, who is granted permanent residence under the Family Class will have the right to live, work and study in Canada indefinitely. Permanent residents can access Canada’s unique government-funded health care, subsidized education, language training programs and assistance for finding employment. Additional benefits of Canadian permanent residence include eligibility for Canada Pension Plan Benefits, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement and the option to participate in retirement plans such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP). Together with the many freedoms associated with permanent residence is the ability to apply for Canadian citizenship.