Last Updated on October 29, 2012 by Steven Meurrens

Canada’s spousal and common-law partner sponsorship programs have undergone significant changes in the past several years.  In a recent backgrounder to a press release, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published the timeline below.  The timeline is something that all practitioners should consider showing to clients who are interested in submitting a spousal or common-law partnership application.

In brief, all people considering the spousal or common-law partnership program should be aware of some conditions, undertakings, and restrictions which will apply to them after their application is approved.

In brief:

Year 0 – Applicant immigrates to Canada and becomes a permanent resident of Canada.  If the applicant was married or in a common-law partnership with the Canadian sponsor for less than two years prior to the couple submitting their sponsorship application (and they do not have children in common together) then the immigrant is a “conditional permanent resident” who has to stay married and live with the sponsor for a period of two years after the immigrant becomes a permanent resident.

Year 2 – The condition of staying married and living together with the sponsor is removed for conditional permanent residents.

Year 3 – The sponsor’s sponsorship undertaking ends.  The sponsor will no longer be liable to a level of government for any social assistance that the immigrant receives.  If the sponsor and immigrant have divorced or separated, the sponsor can now sponsor someone new.

Year 5 – If the immigrant and the sponsor have divorced or separated, the immigrant is now able to sponsor a new spouse or common-law partner.

So yeah, much thanks to CIC for this helpful chart.