How to Immigrate to Canada as a Couple

There are many ways to immigrate to Canada as a couple, from spousal sponsorship to more traditional paths with your spouse joining you as a dependent. Spousal relationships that are considered for Canadian immigration purposes include same-sex couples and common-law partners.

Starting a new life can be daunting, especially if you have to do it alone. Many immigration candidates struggle to bring their families over with them but in Canada, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are pathways that allow you to immigrate to Canada at the same time, even if you achieve permanent residence at different times. Find the right program for you and your partner below to get the process started.

Spousal Sponsorship

One of the quickest ways to get your partner over to Canada is through the Spousal Sponsorship Category (part of Family Class immigration). This is the best option for those who already have a spouse living in Canada or are married to a Canadian who is able to sponsor them for permanent residence.

If you are applying as a couple, the Sponsor will need to first establish permanent residence in Canada through one of the many immigration programs available. Only once the Sponsor has achieved permanent residence can an application be made for sponsorship of a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. Immigrating with your partner as a dependent means you can both apply for permanent residency together.

Relationship Requirements
SpouseIn this case, the Sponsor and the Sponsored person are legally married. For marriage in Canada, a Certificate of marriage is required from the province where the marriage took place. Marriage outside of Canada must be lawful in the country where it took place as well as Canada. A same-sex marriage that took place outside of Canada can not be considered under this category but an application can be made under the other two.
Common-Law PartnerIn this category, the Sponsor and Sponsored person must cohabit consistently for a minimum of one year.
Conjugal PartnerThis category is for applicants who do not qualify under the other two categories for exceptional circumstances such as same-sex marriage restrictions in their country of origin or other immigration barriers. The Sponsor and Sponsored person must demonstrate a level of commitment (financial ties/emotional ties/joint assets) that spans the period of at least one year.

Sponsor Applicant Requirements

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada/Canadian citizen
  • No criminal history
  • Cannot have been sponsored as a spouse within the last five years

Sponsored Applicant Requirements

    • Must be at least 16 years of age
    • Not be too closely related to the Sponsor

Express Entry

Express Entry is a system that controls the federal government’s three main immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.

Couples who want to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry system can follow one of two pathways: Either the main applicant lists the spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner as a dependent or they name them as a secondary-applicant. Take into account that of the three programs offered, couples who are listing dependents can only apply to the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades Programs because the Canadian Experience Class does not allow dependents and is more suited to single, young professionals.

Applying with a Main & Secondary Applicant

This method still requires applicants to provide proof of funds through the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades Programs but works differently in the sense that your partner is seen as a contributor to the program. This means that when you create your profile through one of these programs under Express Entry, you have a maximum of 1,200 points possible out of which, only 40 are then determined by your partner’s profile. This may not seem like a lot but if you consider that the average successful CRS score is between 430 and 460, it can make a real difference.

CRS Factors Your Spouse Adds/Subtracts
Language ProficiencyThis is determined by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) that measures your reading, speaking, listening, and writing ability in French and English.
Level of EducationThis measures post-secondary education in or outside of Canada. Maximum points are awarded for Canadian education and degrees equivalent to a Master’s or higher.
AgeThe highest points are awarded for individuals between the ages of 20 and 29 while no points are awarded for individuals past the age of 47.
Canadian Work ExperienceThis accounts for work experience obtained in Canada, preferably a minimum of two years to score higher.

It’s important to consider which partner has the strongest profile before applying in order to name that person as the main applicant. If your partner would score highly in the above categories, it’s worth listing them as a secondary-applicant but if they would score poorly, consider listing them as a dependent instead.

Applying with Dependents

Listing a partner as a dependent requires the main applicant to provide proof of sufficient funds to settle in Canada if you have dependents but does not take your partner’s profile into account when calculating the CRS score.

Financial Requirements
Number of DependentsFunds Required (CAD)
Each Additional Member$3,492

Other Immigration Programs

Other ways to immigrate to Canada as a couple include applying for Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) with the partner that has the strongest skill set/education etc. applying as the main candidate for immigration. The spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner will then be listed as a dependent on the application. The main applicant will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to settle in Canada with the figure being determined by the number of dependents listed.

Another option (if both applicants are eligible) is to apply separately for respective immigration programs, withdrawing the one when there is a successful Invitation to Apply (ITA) issued. However, this can be expensive if both applications are processed successfully as there are double the fees attached.

Provinces Offering PNPs

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Northwest Territories
  • Yukon

How We Can Help You Immigrate to Canada as a Couple

Immigration can be stressful, especially when you have a partner that needs spousal sponsorship or another pathway to move to Canada. Our service makes use of three Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who have all been through the immigration process before.

These professionals are well-acquainted with the over 100 immigration programs and streams on offer and keep up to date with the ever-changing immigration policies stipulated by the federal government. Having guidance about your profile, how to improve your background, and which documents to gather according to deadlines gives you that much more chance of success in receiving your ITA for permanent residence.

Sign up with our service today to start your journey to Canada as a couple. There are plenty of ways to immigrate to Canada that will suit your needs and take into account the specific nature of your relationship. Canada is certainly the best place to start a new life with your partner, where diversity is welcomed.

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