DO I NEED TO BE MARRIED TO SPONSOR MY PARTNER?
The short answer is no. But the long answer is, you need to be eligible to become a sponsor, and then your partner needs to qualify to be sponsored.
According to the Government of Canada website, you may be able to sponsor your partner as long as you meet certain criteria.
First, you will need to prove your ability to be a sponsor. This means meeting the basic requirements of being over 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and that you can provide for another person.
Providing for another person means that you have financial stability. You can’t be receiving any type of social assistance payment other than for a disability. This also means that you are meeting the requirements of other types of court-ordered judgments, such as debts or spousal or child support.
Failure to meet these criteria could signal your inability to financially support a partner from across the border. You may also need to prove that you can provide a place for your partner to reside as well.
Your partner must also meet a few requirements. As well as the regular immigration requirements (health, criminal background check) your partner must be 18 years of age or older. You must be able to prove that the two of you are in a marriage-like relationship. For example, a requirement for common-law couples is to prove that the two of you have lived together in a domestic relationship for at least a year.
Canada also offers a category for conjugal partners as well. This category was created for couples who are unable to live together as common-law due to race or orientation or fear of persecution.
These are just a few of the most important factors that affect sponsoring a partner. You can read the full list of requirements, as well as those for Quebec, on the Government of Canada site. If you have questions about meeting any of the requirements, it’s best to consult with an immigration lawyer for more customized legal advice.