Couples, whether engaged, married, or living together as common-law couples, have access to a variety of immigration programs offered by Canada.

Immigrating to Canada as Couples

Spousal sponsorship

One of the most effective ways to get Canada as couples is spousal sponsorship. This option is best if your spouse or partner is already living in Canada or your spouse or partner is a citizen of Canada or permanent resident.

If your spouse is already a citizen of Canada or permanent resident. In that case, they can sponsor you to join them in Canada as a permanent resident, assuming your spouse meets all the eligibility criteria.

To sponsor a spouse or partner, the sponsor should be:


You and your sponsor also need to prove your relationship, which should fall under one of three categories:

Express Entry

Express Entry serves as the federal government’s management system for three key immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

If you want to apply for Canadian permanent residency as couples via Express Entry, you can do so in one of two ways:

You need to know that you can only have dependents when applying to the FSWP and the FSTP, as the CEC doesn’t allow dependents on applications.

When you include your spouse or partner as a dependent in your application, you become the primary applicant and must provide proof of sufficient settlement funds. This is to demonstrate that you can financially support yourself and your dependents in Canada.

However, if you have listed your spouse or partner as a dependent on your application, their profile will not factor into the calculation of your overall Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. IRCC uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to assess and rank candidates based on factors such as age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. Candidates with the highest CRS scores can apply for permanent residence in Express Entry draws.

If your spouse or partner is eligible for Express Entry, they can apply as a secondary applicant. Each spouse would create their own Express Entry profile and include their partner in their profile. This means you can claim an additional 40 CRS points for your partner’s profile when submitting your application.

For this method, applicants still need to provide proof of funds. However, it works differently because the program views your partner as a contributor

It is important to consider which partner has the stronger profile before applying and to name that person as the main applicant. If your partner scores highly on CRS factors such as language proficiency, level of education, etc., it is worth listing them as a secondary applicant. If they would score poorly, it might make more sense to list them as dependent instead.

Immigrating to Canada as Couples

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a great option for moving to Canada as couples. Almost every province and territory operates the PNP to welcome skilled workers to their respective regions.

When applying for the PNP, the partner with the stronger work experience, education, etc. should apply as the main immigration candidate. If you are the one with the strongest qualifications, you would declare your spouse or partner as a dependent on the application. As the main applicant, you would need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to settle in Canada, just like with Express Entry.

Alternatively, if you and your spouse or partner both are eligible, you can apply separately to immigration programs and withdraw from one when you receive an invitation to apply (ITA).

Open Work Permit for Couples

Spouses and partners of citizens of Canada or permanent residents of Canada may get open work permits while their sponsorship application for permanent residence is getting processed.

This way, sponsored individuals can work for any employer of their preference in Canada to support themselves and their families financially during the immigration application process.

In order to be eligible for an open work permit, the foreign national must:

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