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Can British Columbia residents sponsor spouses to join them?

British Columbia residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can sponsor non-Canadian spouses, conjugal partners or common-law partners to join them. Canadian immigration laws even provides for them to become permanent residents under the spousal sponsorship program. 

Eligibility to sponsor a spouse or partner

Potential sponsors of foreign partners must meet the following requirements: 

  • They must be 18 years or older. 
  • They must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or registered Canadian Indians living in Canada. 
  • A sponsor can be a citizen of Canada living elsewhere but planning to return to Canada. 
  • Sponsors may not be recipients of social assistance, except for a disability. 
  • They must be able to provide financially for themselves and the basic needs of sponsored individuals. 
  • If there are dependent children, the sponsor must also have the means to provide for them. 
  • The sponsored person must not require governmental social assistance. 

What constitutes basic needs?

  • Personal hygiene products and food 
  • Housing costs and utility bills for the sponsored person 
  • Requirements for day-to-day living, including clothes 
  • Eye and dental care and other medical expenses excluded from public health insurance 

The sponsor’s obligations begin when the sponsorship becomes effective and may not be cancelled or withdrawn. Obligations will continue for three years following the approval of permanent residency of the sponsored individuals. 

Financial requirements for the sponsor

Although a specific amount of money is not required, the sponsor must meet the following financial requirements: 

  • The sponsor must prove he or she has the means to support the partner from the day of arrival. 
  • The sponsor may not be in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. 
  • Provincial income support benefits may not form part of the declared financial assets. 

However, sponsors may be recipients of disability benefits or employment insurance benefits. 

Anyone in British Columbia who wants to sponsor a spouse or partner to join them can take advantage of the opportunity to become familiar with the spousal sponsorship program under Canadian immigration laws.