January 15, 2024

Will a Divorce or Annulment End My Canadian Sponsorship Undertaking? A Comprehensive Guide for Sponsors

Navigating the intricacies of Canadian immigration sponsorship can feel like trekking through a dense forest. One crucial aspect, the sponsorship undertaking, binds you to financially support your spouse or partner for a specific period. But what happens when the path of your relationship takes a sudden turn, leading to a divorce or annulment? Does this dissolve your financial obligations?

The Enduring Undertaking: A Binding Promise

The Canadian sponsorship undertaking is a legal commitment, not a mere formality. When you sign it, you pledge to provide the basic needs of your sponsored spouse or partner (and their dependent children) for a period of three years from the day they become permanent residents. This includes food, shelter, clothing, essential healthcare, and other necessities for daily living.

Crucially, this undertaking remains in effect even if your relationship experiences significant changes, including:

  1. Divorce or Annulment: Even if your marriage formally ends, the financial responsibility persists throughout the undertaking period.
  2. Separation: Living apart doesn't nullify the undertaking.
  3. Relationship Breakdown: Whether a formal separation occurs or not, the undertaking remains active.
  4. Relocation: Moving to a different province or country doesn't change your financial obligations.
  5. Sponsored Person's Citizenship: Even if your spouse or partner becomes a Canadian citizen, your undertaking continues.
  6. Financial Difficulties: Facing financial hardship doesn't release you from the commitment.

Understanding the Rationale

The government's rationale for this enduring undertaking is twofold:

  1. Protecting Public Funds: By ensuring sponsors are responsible for their sponsored individuals, the government minimizes the burden on social assistance programs.
  2. Promoting Genuine Relationships: The undertaking discourages marriages of convenience solely for immigration purposes.

Navigating the Uncertainty

Knowing the undertaking's permanence can be unsettling, especially when faced with a divorce or annulment. While the financial commitment remains, it's crucial to understand your options and potential avenues for support:

  1. Seek Legal Advice: Consulting an experienced immigration lawyer can provide personalized guidance on your specific situation and potential legal recourse.
  2. Negotiate a Settlement: A divorce or separation agreement can outline how to address the financial obligations associated with the sponsorship undertaking.
  3. Seek Financial Assistance: If facing financial hardship, explore available government assistance programs or resources offered by non-profit organizations.

Protecting Yourself from Marriage Fraud

While the undertaking binds you, it's also crucial to be aware of potential manipulation. If you suspect your relationship was entered into primarily for immigration purposes, you can:

  1. Contact IRCC: Report your concerns to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. They can investigate and take appropriate action against the sponsored person, including potential criminal charges, deportation, and revocation of their permanent resident status.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect documentation that supports your suspicions, such as communication records, financial transactions, and testimonies from witnesses.


  1. IRCC Takes Marriage Fraud Seriously: Canadian officials are trained to identify and address cases of marriage fraud.
  2. Victims of Fraud Have Options: You are not alone. Contact IRCC and seek guidance to protect yourself and ensure justice.


While a divorce or annulment may change your relationship status, it doesn't dissolve the financial commitment associated with the Canadian sponsorship undertaking. Understanding the undertaking's terms, exploring potential options, and seeking legal and financial support when necessary can help you navigate this complex situation effectively. Remember, protecting yourself from marriage fraud and reporting any suspicious activity are crucial aspects of responsible sponsorship.

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