You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid.
If you were married in Canada:
You must have a marriage certificate issued by the province or territory where the arriage took place.
If you were married outside Canada:
The marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it took place and under Canadian law.
A marriage performed in an embassy or consulate must comply with the law of the country where it took place, not the country of nationality of the embassy or consulate.
Sponsoring your same-sex partner as a spouse
You can apply to sponsor your same-sex partner as a spouse if:
- you are a Canadian citizen and permanent resident and
- you were married in Canada and issued a marriage certificate by a Canadian province or territory on or after the following dates:
- British Columbia (on or after July 8, 2003)
- Manitoba (on or after September 16, 2004)
- New Brunswick (on or after July 4, 2005)
- Newfoundland and Labrador (on or after December 21, 2004)
- Nova Scotia (on or after September 24, 2004)
- Ontario (on or after June 10, 2003)
- Quebec (on or after March 19, 2004)
- Saskatchewan (on or after November 5, 2004)
- Yukon (on or after July 14, 2004)
- all other provinces or territories (on or after July 20, 2005).
If you were married outside Canada, you may apply to sponsor your same-sex partner as a spouse as long as the marriage is legally recognized according to both the law of the place where the marriage occurred and under Canadian law. This applies to same-sex marriages performed in the following jurisdictions:
- the Netherlands
- South Africa
- the State of California (June 16, 2008 – November 5, 2008)
- the State of Massachusetts
- the State of New Hampshire
- the State of Connecticut
- the State of Iowa
- the State of Vermont (effective September 1, 2009)
Please note that the above list of jurisdictions is offered as a guide only, and is subject to change. It is your responsibility to provide CIC information about whether or not your same-sex-marriage was legally recognized when and where it occurred.