How to Get a Spouse Visa for Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

Canada is renowned for its welcoming stance towards immigrants and its commitment to family reunification. If you’re married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and looking to join your spouse in Canada, you will need a spouse visa. This guide will walk you through the process, eligibility criteria, and necessary steps to successfully obtain a spouse visa for Canada.

How to Get a Spouse Visa for Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

1. Understanding the Spouse Visa

The spouse visa, officially known as the Family Class Sponsorship, allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouses, common-law partners, or conjugal partners for permanent residency in Canada. This visa aims to keep families together and offers a pathway to Canadian citizenship.

2. Eligibility Criteria

For the Sponsor:

  • Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be living in Canada or planning to return to Canada when your spouse becomes a permanent resident.
  • Must not be receiving social assistance for reasons other than disability.
  • Must be able to provide for the basic needs of your spouse.

For the Applicant (Spouse):

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must pass background, security, and medical checks.
  • Must prove the genuineness of the relationship with the sponsor.

3. Types of Sponsorship

Inland Sponsorship:

  • For couples already living together in Canada.
  • Allows the spouse to apply for an open work permit.

Outland Sponsorship:

  • For couples where the sponsored spouse is living outside Canada.
  • Can still be used if the spouse is in Canada but intends to travel outside Canada during the application process.

4. Step-by-Step Application Process

Step 1: Gather Required Documents

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residency for the sponsor.
  • Marriage certificate or proof of common-law relationship.
  • Passport and other identification documents.
  • Police certificates from countries where the applicant has lived for six months or longer since the age of 18.
  • Medical examination results from an approved panel physician.
  • Photos of the applicant and sponsor.
  • Proof of relationship (e.g., photos together, communication records, joint financial documents).

Step 2: Complete the Application Forms

  • Use the checklist provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure all forms are completed correctly.
  • Forms include the Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement, and Undertaking, as well as the permanent residence application forms.

Step 3: Pay the Application Fees

  • Fees include the sponsorship fee, processing fee for the principal applicant, and the right of permanent residence fee.
  • Optional fees include the open work permit fee if applying for inland sponsorship.

Step 4: Submit the Application

  • Double-check all forms and documents for completeness and accuracy.
  • Mail the application package to the appropriate IRCC office as indicated in the instruction guide.

Step 5: Await Processing and Additional Requests

  • IRCC will review the application and may request additional documents or information.
  • Applicants may be called for an interview to verify the authenticity of the relationship.

Step 6: Receive a Decision

  • If approved, the sponsored spouse will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if applicable, a permanent resident visa.
  • The spouse must present these documents at a Canadian port of entry or an inland IRCC office to complete the landing process and officially become a permanent resident.

5. Tips for a Successful Application

  • Be Honest and Thorough: Ensure all information is accurate and truthful. Any discrepancies can lead to delays or rejection.
  • Proof of Relationship: Provide ample evidence to demonstrate the authenticity of your relationship. This can include photos, communication logs, joint financial statements, and affidavits from friends and family.
  • Follow Guidelines: Carefully follow the guidelines and instructions provided by IRCC. Missing documents or incomplete forms can lead to delays.
  • Seek Professional Help: Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or consultant if you find the process overwhelming.

6. Processing Times and After Approval

Processing times for spouse visas can vary. Generally, inland applications take longer than outland applications. IRCC provides estimated processing times on their website, so it’s wise to check there for the most current information.

After approval, the sponsored spouse can enjoy the benefits of permanent residency in Canada, including access to healthcare, the right to work and study, and eventually, the possibility of applying for Canadian citizenship.

How much money do I need to show for spouse visa in Canada?

There isn’t a set amount of money you need to show for a spouse visa in Canada. Instead, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) focuses on the sponsor’s ability to financially support their spouse. This is to make sure the sponsored person won’t rely on social assistance programs.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There’s no minimum income requirement.
  • You do need to sign an undertaking agreement, promising to financially support your spouse.
  • This means you’ll need to provide proof of funds to cover your spouse’s basic needs.

The amount you need to show will depend on your family size. IRCC considers the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) after taxes to determine the minimum amount needed.


Obtaining a spouse visa for Canada is a detailed process, but with the right preparation and understanding, it is achievable. Ensuring that all documents are in order, proving the genuineness of your relationship, and following the outlined steps will significantly increase your chances of a successful application. By bringing families together, Canada continues to uphold its values of inclusivity and support for immigrants.

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