Canadian marriage and partner visas: general eligibility requirements

Each of the three categories of Canadian family visas has its own specific eligibility requirements that must be met in order to file a successful application for a permanent resident visa. However, if you wish to obtain a wife, husband, partner, or same sex partner visa to immigrate to Canada, you must also meet the following general eligibility requirements:

  • As a sponsor, you are responsible to financially support your foreign wife, husband, de facto partner, or same sex partner for the time period specified by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. This undertaking stipulates that you must provide basic needs, which includes food, clothing, shelter, dental care, and eye care. You are legally bound to provide this support for a period of three years after your partner or spouse becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
  • As a sponsor, you are responsible to financially support any dependent children who immigrate to Canada with your partner or spouse. You are legally bound to provide food, clothing, shelter, dental care, and eye care for the time period specified by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Your obligations to dependent children under the age of 22 will last 10 years after they obtain permanent resident status, or until they turn 25. For dependent children over the age of 22, you are obligated to support them financially for a period of three years after they become lawful permanent residents of Canada.
  • All spouse, partner, or same sex partner visa beneficiaries must be at least 16 years of age.
  • As a sponsor, if you previously sponsored another individual for a spouse or partner visa, at least three years must have passed before you can submit an application to sponsor another individual.
  • As a sponsor, you must be at least 18 years of age.
  • As a sponsor, you must be a Canadian citizen or have permanent residence status in Canada.
  • The sponsor must meet minimum income requirements to be considered eligible. This figure is determined by the Government of Canada, and is updated on a yearly basis. The income of your spouse or partner may also be considered when determining whether this requirement has been met.
  • As a sponsor, if you previously sponsored a visa beneficiary, and they sought government assistance, you will be considered in violation of your undertaking and will not be eligible to sponsor another visa applicant unless all disbursed funds have been repaid to the relevant government authority.
  • As a sponsor, if you secured a transportation, assistance, or right of permanent residency fee loan in the past, and have since defaulted, you will not be eligible to sponsor a visa applicant unless the loan has been repaid to the relevant authority.
  • As a sponsor, if you were ordered by a court to make support payments to a partner, spouse, and/or dependent children, and have defaulted on those payments, you will not be eligible to sponsor a visa applicant. You must settle the matter with the relevant legal institution before you can submit a sponsorship application.
  • Individuals who are currently incarcerated are not eligible to sponsor husband, wife, unmarried partner, or same sex partner to immigrate to Canada.
  • Individuals with undischarged bankruptcies are not eligible sponsors.
  • Individuals who have been charged or convicted of any sexual offenses, or criminal offenses involving their spouse, partner, or other relatives are not eligible to sponsor foreign nationals for a permanent residency visa. This stipulation does not apply if a pardon was granted, or if more than five years have passed since the conviction.
  • A prospective sponsor who is in receipt of social assistance is considered ineligible. This provision does not apply to those who are receiving social assistance under the disability category.
  • The visa beneficiary and any dependent children must meet certain health requirements. Individuals may be considered excludable from Canada or inadmissible to Canada if they have conditions that would likely pose a threat to Canadian public health.
  • The visa beneficiary must undergo criminal background checks. Certain criminal activities, including those that are considered likely to pose a potential security threat to Canada may result in the applicant being found ineligible to obtain a permanent resident visa to Canada.
  • The relationship must be bona fide, ongoing, and both parties must intend to continue the relationship after permanent resident status has been granted to the applicant.

Read next:

Spouse, partner and interdependency visas: application process

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