How to Sponsor My Common Law Partner | Common-law Sponsorship

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When sponsoring your Common Law Partner for PR in Canada, there are two ways to sponsor:

  • Inland common law sponsorship
  • Overseas common law sponsorship

Depending on your situation, either of these options have pros and cons that you should be aware of prior to proceeding with your application. Before submitting your application to sponsor your common law partner, you should assess your goals and understand the differences in sponsoring your partner before deciding on how you wish to submit the application.

When considering processing times, the overseas common law partner sponsorship, or sponsoring your partner from outside of Canada can have a much faster processing time. Sponsorship applications from inside Canada can take up to two years. Overseas sponsorship processing time depends on the Visa Office the application is submitted to and most typically do not take this long.

With an inland application, your partner would have the possibility of obtaining an Open Work permit based on receiving Approval after the first stage of processing. This is known as Approval in Principle and it happens at the end of the first stage when your inland application is assessed. The first stage essentially assesses the sponsor and determines their eligibility to sponsor. This is not an option for overseas sponsorship.

A downside of sponsoring your partner from inside Canada is that the inland application does not have the Right of Appeal. This means that if your application has a negative decision or has been refused, you can not dispute the decision and your partner must exit Canada as soon as possible. People who submit overseas applications do have the Right of Appeal and can dispute the negative decision and hopefully have it overturned.

When an inland application is filed, your wife should remain in Canada until a decision is made. If she exits Canada, her application may be considered abandoned. If this happens, you will need to resubmit a new application. With the overseas sponsorship category, your wife is obviously abroad but can come and go from Canada with the right status.