What is the Spousal Sponsorship of Canada?

As the word spouse suggests a married relationship, spousal sponsorship means sponsoring a married partner to Canada. According to Canadian immigration law, a marriage will be considered a marriage if it took place legally where it took place or Canadian law accept it as legal. 

In order to sponsor your spouse to Canada, the applicant must be at least 18 years old and the legitimacy of the relationship must be provided. Spousal sponsorship comes under the category   of “Family Sponsorships.” There are two parts to such applications the first being an application to become a sponsor while the second being an application for permanent residence of the spouse. Both applications need to be submitted simultaneously as an application package. The application can be tracked and must be updated in case of any changes. It may take up to several months before final approval, in a condition that the application is complete. 

Eligibility Requirements for Spousal Sponsorship

Before sponsoring a spouse to immigrate to Canada under a spousal sponsorship program, the sponsor must be sure that he/she is eligible to sponsor. Some of the important points to take in consideration are as follow:

  • The sponsor must be 18 years or above to file in the process.
  • He/she must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • The sponsor must be residing in Canada if however not he/she must demonstrate living in Canada once the spouse is sponsored.
  • He/she must have proof of the legitimacy of the relationship. (I.e. marriage certificates, photos, other supporting documents, etc.)
  • Although the proof of income is not required for spousal sponsorship application, the sponsor must show financial capacity for fulfilling basic needs to sponsor his/her spouse.
  • The sponsor must not take government assistance except under special circumstances such as social disability.
  • Were sponsored yourself (principal applicant) by spouse or partner (sponsor) and became a permanent resident less than five years ago.
  • Must have a clean record and no pertaining to criminal convictions.
  • No violent/sexual convictions.
  • Must not be going through bankruptcy.
  • Must not be under the removal order.

Forms Required for Spousal Sponsorship

It is imperative to note that the spouse being sponsored must be free of criminal convictions and be in sound health. After immigrating to Canada the spouse is allowed to work/study in Canada.  The applicant and the sponsor He/she will have to fill out the following forms in order to carry out the process:

The applicant and sponsor must fill out the following forms to be attached to the application:

  1. Sponsorship agreement and undertaking.
  2. Relationship Questionnaire
  3. Sponsorship evaluation
  4. Financial Evaluation Form (shows the sponsor financial capability to provide for spouse)
  5. Generic Application Form from Canada
  6. Additional Family Information Form
  7. Additional Dependents/Declaration (in case of more than 5 dependents on the application)
  8. Schedule A- Background/Declaration
  9. Representative Form, (states that you have hired a consultant/immigration lawyer to assist you in the process, in case you hired one)

 The list of forms may vary according to the type of sponsorship application. There are two types of spousal sponsorship applications: Inland Spousal Sponsorship, Outside Canada Spousal Sponsorship. The processing time varies for each category and also varies according to the country to origin or residence of an applicant but Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has committed to deciding all those applications within twelve months.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship or within Canada Spousal Sponsorship

In the inland spousal sponsorship application, the sponsored person is already inside Canada on any status. Such cases where the spouse is already residing in Canada (already working or visiting Canada) sponsorship can be processed internally. This is done in Canada requiring the spouse to maintain legal status (recommended). Basically, this initiates the Canadian spouse to sponsor the foreign spouse to stay in Canada during the process of inland spousal sponsorship application until the decision is rendered. It may also give the sponsored person an opportunity to apply for OPEN WORK PERMIT if he/she qualifies. 

Outside Canada Spousal Sponsorship

In outside Canada, spousal sponsorship the sponsored person is normally outside of Canada but he/she may be in Canada and can apply under outside Canada spousal sponsorship program. If the applicant is outside of Canada, the application will be processed in his/her country of origin or his/her current country of residence. In case the sponsored person is residing in Canada but wants to apply under outside Canada spousal sponsorship program, it can be done and his travel to any other country will not jeopardize the spousal sponsorship application. 

Documents Required for Spousal Sponsorship

For immigration under Canada's spouse sponsorship program; thorough documentation is required. If documents are not in English or French, original documents with certified translation must be attached. During the course of application police clearance(s) will be needed.  A receipt of government fees has to be also attached to the application.  An approximate of one to two months may take until you hear from the IRCC in the shape of initial acknowledgment that they received the application and are processing the application, and is called Approval in Principal. This stage of IRCC spousal sponsorship application is meant for the sponsor and declares him/her as an eligible sponsor and indicates that the spousal sponsorship application is considered for further processing and moved to relevant immigration authorities responsible to process such applications.

The immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has removed conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses and partners of Canadian citizens as per April 28, 2017.

The rule initially required the sponsor and spouse to live with each other for a period of at least two years. However, each application is deeply scrutinized and fraudulent marriages aiming for mere permanent residency are kept on a keen eye.

Possible Refusal Reasons for Spousal Sponsorship Application 

Some of the reasons why an application for spousal sponsorship can be rejected are as follow:

  • Lack of genuineness of marriage felt by the immigration officer.
  • Lack of evidence and documentation.
  • Factual errors.

Thus it is suggested to:

  • Keep all text messages/emails/communications throughout the relationship
  • Keep pictures taken together as evidence
  • Keep joint accounts
  • Keep insurances.
  • Anything which may help in determining the legitimacy of the marriage.

A strong case will make sure that your spouse immigration to Canada application is successful but a thorough and professional presentation will prevent the immigration officer from wanting more documents to be submitted thus impeding the immigration Canada spouse sponsorship application process.

Canadian immigration law is different than American immigration. In case an American wants to relocate to Canada along with his/her spouse he/she must first become a permanent resident in order to be eligible to sponsor. 

Processing Time for Spousal Sponsorship Applications

Most spousal sponsorship Canada applications are processed within one year but processing time varies case to case and according to the type of sponsorship i.e. inland spousal sponsorship or outside Canada spousal sponsorship program.

Looking for expert advice for your spousal sponsorship application? The Visa Canada team can assist you in putting a perfect and error-free spousal sponsorship application.