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Canada Spousal Sponsorship 2017

A foreign national seeking spousal sponsorship to Canada faces a highly complex legal process, regardless of whether the application is submitted domestically or at a Canadian embassy or consulate abroad. The spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner seeking to immigrate to Canada must be sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, who must also submit a sponsorship application in support of the foreign spouse.

Spouse Visa Canada

If the spousal sponsorship application is successful, Immigration Canada will approve a change in the partner's immigration status to permanent resident of Canada. If the partner resides abroad at the time the application is submitted, Canadian immigration authorities will issue a Canada Spouse Visa (Confirmation of Permanent Residence) to the partner, and he or she will become a permanent resident of Canada only upon entering the country.

Immigration Canada Spouse Sponsorship Terminology

The term "partner" used alone refers to someone seeking immigration to Canada as the spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner of a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, depending on context.

The term "sponsor" refers to the Canadian citizen or permanent resident seeking immigration benefits on behalf of his or her partner.

The Canadian Federal Government department that handles all immigration matters, previously called Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), has recently been renamed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Both terms for "Immigration Canada" are used interchangeably on this website.

Eligible Relationships

The following relationships with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are considered functionally equivalent under Canadian law for the purposes of immigration to Canada.

Spouse: To qualify as a spouse, you must be legally married to the sponsor. The marriage must have been considered valid when it was entered into under the law of the jurisdiction where you were married and under Canadian law, regardless of where you lived after you were married. An example of a marriage that might be recognized abroad but not in Canada would be a marriage in which one of the partners was legally married to two or more partners at the same time under the law of a foreign country.

Common-Law Partner: You are considered a common-law partner under Canadian law if you have cohabited with your partner in a conjugal relationship for at least one year (12 consecutive months, not necessarily an entire calendar year). This 12-month period does not have to be absolutely continuous; short absences for business or family reasons are acceptable. Since you will not be able to provide a marriage certificate, Canadian immigration authorities may require additional evidence of the authenticity of your relationship. Keep in mind that "cohabitation" means more than simply living in the same dwelling; you must have combined your affairs, including your financial affairs.

Conjugal Partner: The conjugal partner category is designed for partners who would have qualified under the spouse or common-law partner categories but were prevented from doing so by local law or other factors beyond their control such as an immigration barrier or marital status. For example, if you were married to another person and were not permitted to divorce under local law. Failure to cohabit due to unwillingness by one or both partners to quit school or quit a job to be with the other partner does not qualify as an acceptable reason for not living together. Moreover, you cannot qualify as a conjugal partner if you have lived apart from your partner for a year or more and either one of you is the conjugal partner or common-law partner of someone else.

Fiance Visa Canada

A fiance relationship will not independently qualify you for sponsorship. This being said, many couples in such relationships already qualify for Canadian immigration under another eligible category, such as common-law partner sponsorship. Couples that are intended, engaged, betrothed, or affianced to be married, but are not considered common-law according to Canadian immigration law, may need to wait until they are officially married in order to be eligible for Canadian spousal sponsorship.

Questions about obtaining a Spouse Visa for Canada? Phone our Canadian immigration legal team today for a FREE comprehensive consultation.

General Spousal Sponsorship Canada Eligibility

The basic requirements for immigration to Canada as the partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsor are as follows.

Spousal Sponsorship Requirements:

  • The sponsor must be able to prove Canadian citizenship or legal permanent residence
  • The sponsor must be willing to file a sponsorship application on behalf of the partner
  • Both the sponsor and the partner must be at least 18 years old at the time of application (but not necessarily at the time of the marriage, if local law permits minors to marry)
  • The partner must fall within the appropriate family category: spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
  • The sponsor must prove his or her ability to support both parties financially and must sign a sponsorship agreement guaranteeing financial support to the partner for three years after permanent residence is approved

Spousal Sponsorship Canada Exclusions

Certain permanent residents and citizens of Canada are ineligible to serve as immigration sponsors under Canadian law.

You will be ineligible to sponsor a partner for immigration to Canada if:

  • You receive any type of social assistance excluding disability related
  • You were sponsored yourself, and you have become a Canadian permanent resident within the last five years. If you immigrated to Canada as a sponsored spouse or partner, you will have to wait until the five-year anniversary of your award of Canadian permanent residence status before you can sponsor a new spouse or partner to Canada.
  • You have previously sponsored a spouse to Canada and three years have not yet passed since they became a Canadian permanent resident.
  • You have ever failed to comply with a sponsorship agreement in the past. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have failed to provide financial support required on behalf of someone he or she previously sponsored to Canada are no longer eligible to sponsor a spouse to Canada.
  • You have ever violated a court order to pay alimony or child support, even if the intended recipient of these funds was a Canadian citizen
  • You were married to someone else at the time you submitted your Canada sponsorship application, regardless of whether or not plural marriage is legal in the country where the marriage took place or where the application was submitted.
  • You have ever been convicted of a crime of a violent or sexual nature. In some cases, even a conviction for threatening or attempting to commit such a crime will disqualify you from Canadian sponsorship.
  • You have ever failed to repay an immigration loan in strict accordance with the terms of the loan. Even a single late payment on an immigration assistance, transportation or Right of Permanent Residence Fee loan can disqualify a person from being able to sponsor a husband or wife to Canada.
  • You are in prison
  • You are under a Canada Removal Order
  • You have declared bankruptcy, unless the bankruptcy has already been fully discharged by the time you filed the spousal sponsorship Canada application

Financial Support

As sponsor, you must sign a three-year Sponsorship Agreement that obligates you to provide full financial support to your partner for three years beginning on the date that permanent residence is granted. This obligation remains valid even if you divorce or separate from your partner.

As a sponsor, you must show that you have enough financial resources to provide financial support for both yourself and your partner including room, board, clothing, utilities, personal items such as shampoo and toothpaste, fuel, household goods, dental care and any medical care not already provided for by the public health system. If your partner has dependent children, you must also have enough income to provide for their basic needs.

If you have a questionable credit history, high debts or a low income, it may be more difficult for you to qualify to sponsor your partner. It may be possible for your partner to co-sign the Sponsorship Agreement in order to pool resources for the purposes of meeting income requirements.

Spouse Immigration Canada 2017 Changes

On December 15, 2016, the Liberal Government of Canada announced a number of major changes to the family sponsorship immigration process.

Spousal Sponsorship Changes:

  • Faster processing times
  • One application for all candidates inside or outside Canada
  • Simplified relationship questionnaire (fewer questions)
  • Medical exam no longer required up front
  • Police certificates now only required from current country of residence and country in which you spent most of your adult life (if different than current country)
  • Access real-time information related to your Spouse Visa Canada application online

These changes make the process of sponsoring a spouse to Canada more efficient than ever, but do not affect substantive regulatory or legislative family sponsorship requirements. Although it is now possible to sponsor a husband or wife to Canada faster than ever before, applicants will still need to demonstrate to Immigration Canada that all requirements for Canadian permanent residence sponsorship have been satisfied. The forms required to sponsor a spouse for immigration to Canada have also changed, so be careful not to use an outdated document checklist.

In addition to shorter processing times, the Government of Canada will be approving more Canadian sponsorship applications beginning in 2017 as part of their commitment to family reunification. To reduce the backlog of spousal sponsorship files, Immigration Canada has increased the number of allocated spaces for sponsored immigrants by 14,000 per year to 62,000. The Canadian Government has also recently earmarked an additional $25 million in their annual budget to support quicker and more predictable family sponsorship processing times.

Outland vs. Inland Spousal Sponsorship

Many couples are not eligible to apply for sponsorship inside Canada ("spouse or common-law partner in Canada class sponsorship," or "in Canada sponsorship" for short). If the partner being sponsored is not legally living in Canada at the time of application submission, outland spousal sponsorship ("family class" sponsorship) is the only option. Conjugal relationships are also not eligible for sponsorship inside Canada.

If both the sponsor and partner are legally residing in Canada, the couple may be eligible for either outland or inland spousal sponsorship. Despite being physically present in Canada when the application is submitted, if the spouse or common-law partner does not plan to remain in Canada the entire time the application is being processed, outland sponsorship may be the best route. The biggest advantage to inland spousal sponsorship is that the spouse or partner may be eligible for a highly coveted Open Work Permit, allowing him or her to be fully employed in Canada while awaiting approval for Permanent Residency.

Sponsoring a Same-Sex Partner

In principle, same-sex partners may immigrate to Canada on the same terms as opposite-sex partners. Exceptions apply, however, due to restrictions of same-sex relationships imposed by foreign countries. Same-sex partners cannot qualify as spouses, for example, if they married abroad and the jurisdiction where they married does not legally recognize same-sex marriage. A same-sex partner who fails to qualify as a spouse might qualify as a common law partner, however. A same-sex partnership can even work to your advantage if it is needed to explain why conjugal partners could not qualify as common-law partners or spouses. One such example would be if the couple could not marry or live together because of legal restrictions in the jurisdiction.

Bringing Partner's Children to Canada

A dependent child of the partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsor may accompany the partner to Canada for immigration if:

  • The dependent child is 18 or younger and has no spouse or common-law partner; or
  • The dependent child is 19 or older and has not been capable of financial self-sufficiency since before the age of 19 due to a physical or mental deficiency

Even if the partner has a child who is in the custody of an ex-spouse or a third party, the partner must list the child on his or her application or lose the right to sponsor them as an immigrant to Canada in the future if circumstances change.

If the child's mother or father is not the sponsor, and they are a minor, IRCC Form IMM 5604 "Declaration for Non-Accompanying Parent/Guardian for Minors Immigrating to Canada" must be completed by the non-accompanying parent or guardian and witnessed by a notary public. A copy of the non-accompanying parent's ID must also be included in the application.

Sponsor and Partner Responsibilities

In summary, the sponsor and the partner seeking immigrant status are subject to the following application responsibilities.

Spousal Sponsorship Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that the sponsor qualifies under Canadian immigration law
  • Ensure that the partner is a legitimate member of the appropriate sponsorship class (spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner)
  • The sponsor must read, understand and sign the Sponsorship Agreement
  • The sponsor must truthfully complete self-declaration schedules in which the sponsor discloses information about personal finances to Canadian immigration authorities
  • The sponsor must pay the application fee and include an appropriate receipt with the sponsorship application
  • The sponsor must notify Canadian immigration authorities to discontinue the sponsorship application if the sponsor discovers that he or she fails to meet any sponsorship criteria (a declaration of bankruptcy while the sponsorship application is pending, for example)
  • The parties must submit signed sponsorship and permanent residence application forms with all schedules and supporting documentation to Canadian immigration authorities

Evidence of Your Relationship

Canadian immigration authorities may require evidence of your relationship, especially if the partner is applying as a common-law or conjugal partner.

Useful documentation attesting to a legitimate relationship:

  • Evidence of joint bank account or other financial accounts
  • Evidence of joint residential lease
  • Real estate mortgage or purchase agreement
  • Affidavits from people with personal knowledge that your relationship is genuine
  • Any other evidence that can prove the authenticity of your relationship

The Two-Year "Legitimate Relationship" Requirement

As a partner, if your relationship is no more than two years old and you have no children in common, you will only be granted conditional permanent residence at first. This restriction applies regardless of whether the sponsored individual is a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner. If conditional permanent residence applies to you, you will need to cohabit with your partner in a conjugal relationship for at least two years after you obtain conditional permanent residence in order to become an unconditional permanent resident of Canada.

Even if you receive unconditional permanent residence after two years of living with your partner, your permanent residence status can be revoked if Canadian immigration authorities later discover that you did not actually live with your partner during your two years of conditional permanent residency. The authorities can also revoke the permanent residence status of anyone you sponsored to immigrate to Canada during that time.

As long as you do not conceal your failure to comply with the cohabitation requirement prior to obtaining unconditional permanent residence, however, you can be excused from the two-year cohabitation requirement if:

  • Your partner died during the two-year period in question
  • Your relationship with your partner ended due to abuse inflicted by your partner
  • Your relationship with your partner ended due to neglect by your partner

Recently, Canada's current Liberal government promised to cancel this two-year condition on permanent residency. Although this has not happened yet (and the Conservatives are opposing the measure), it seems likely at this point that the Liberals will make good on their promise in spring 2017. The two-year requirement was initially introduced in an effort to crack down on marriage fraud, but critics say it has the potential to trap vulnerable female migrants in abusive relationships.

At this point, however, it is unclear how such a removal would affect those who will have already obtained conditional permanent residency at the time the new policy is implemented but will not yet have had their condition removed. Unless these people are "grandfathered" into the new policy, the removal would apply only to permanent resident applications approved after the date that the cancellation becomes effective. Because of this, it remains generally advantageous for couples whose relationship is nearing its two-year anniversary to delay applying for permanent residence until the anniversary has already passed.

Wondering if you are eligible for Canada spousal sponsorship? Phone our legal team today for a free no-commitment evaluation.

Can I Sponsor a Spouse While Living Outside Canada?

If you are a Canadian permanent resident living outside of Canada, you are not eligible to sponsor a partner to Canada. Only permanent residents living in Canada can sponsor a spouse to Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen living outside of Canada, spouse sponsorship is possible but you must establish the intention to live in Canada once your partner becomes a Canadian resident.

Working in Canada While Spousal Sponsorship Application is Pending

If you are applying for permanent residence from Canada, also called inland sponsorship or "spouse in Canada class," you may apply for an Open Work Permit at the same time as you apply for immigration, or you can even apply online. Once you receive a Canadian Open Work Permit, you may work in the country while your application is pending; however, you may not work in Canada until you actually receive it. Although there is no guarantee that your application will be approved, work permit approvals are quite common, and it is one of the primary advantageous of applying for spousal sponsorship inside Canada.

Partner Leaving Canada While Permanent Residence Application is Pending

If you apply for permanent residence as a spouse or partner while in Canada (inland spousal sponsorship) and you leave Canada while your permanent residence application is pending, there is no guarantee that you will be able to re-enter Canada, even if you attempt re-entry while your permanent residence application is still pending. If your application is denied, you will have to submit an entirely new immigration application in order to return.

It is possible to apply for outland spouse sponsorship despite living in Canada, which can allow the sponsored partner to enter and exit Canada while the application is pending. If you apply for outland instead of inland spouse sponsorship, however, the partner may not be eligible for an Open Work Permit allowing him or her to legally work in Canada while waiting to be approved for Canada PR.

2017 Spousal Sponsorship Canada Processing Times

Spousal sponsorship inside Canada - 12 months

Spousal sponsorship outside Canada - 12 months

The new, faster 2017 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) spousal sponsorship wait times are now the same for applications submitted inside Canada as they are for applications filed overseas. The Government of Canada is now aiming to process 80% of new spouse sponsorship applications within a one-year timeline. This means that almost all spousal sponsorship applications submitted in 2017 will be processed by the end of the same calendar month in 2018.

Previously, outland spousal sponsorship applications were processed faster than inland spousal sponsorship applications. Since the couple was already living together, applications to sponsor a spouse submitted inside Canada used to be considered "lower priority" and could often take as long as 26 months to be processed, while sponsorship applications submitted outside Canada were typically adjudicated within 18 months. The Government of Canada is committing millions of dollars to bringing down the Canada sponsorship immigration wait times, with a target to admit 62,000 sponsored foreign nationals in 2017 as opposed to only 48,000 in 2015. As part of this massive plan to improve Canadian immigration wait times, the CIC processing centre in Vegreville, Alberta will be closed and inland applications will now be evaluated in Edmonton.

Sponsoring a Spouse to Canada That Has a Criminal Record

Any foreign national that has been convicted of a crime that could be considered an indictable offence in Canada may be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Criminal inadmissibility can render a person ineligible for Canada spousal sponsorship, even if he or she is applying for "in Canada spousal sponsorship." Depending on the criminal offence, a person may become admissible to Canada 10 years after they finished all court-ordered sentencing including probation. At this time, the person would become eligible to be sponsored to Canada as a spouse or partner.

It is possible to petition the Canadian Government to overcome criminal inadmissibility through a process called Criminal Rehabilitation. It is also possible for a foreign national to be ineligible for immigration to Canada due to medical reasons.

How Much Does a Canada Spouse Visa Cost?

There are several Government processing fees that must be paid in order to successfully sponsor someone to Canada.

Spousal Sponsorship Fees:

  • Sponsorship Fee - $75
  • Principal Applicant Processing Fee - $475
  • Right of Permanent Resident Fee (RPRF) - $490
  • Total - $1040
  • Dependent Children - $150/child

These spouse sponsorship Canada fees can be paid online, and a copy of the payment receipt should be included with the sponsorship application.

Canadian Citizenship by Marriage

Once a sponsored spouse or partner becomes a lawful permanent resident of Canada, the clock can begin ticking towards Canadian citizenship eligibility. A permanent resident can qualify for Canadian citizenship if they have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of four years during the six years immediately before their nationality application is submitted to the Government. This means Canadian citizenship by marriage is possible 1460 days after successfully sponsoring spouse to Canada. A sponsored husband or wife has no advantage in regards to becoming a citizen of Canada compared to a sponsored conjugal or common-law partner.

Spousal Sponsorship Document Checklist

Following is a list of the documents you will need to sponsor a spouse for immigration to Canada. All immigration forms must be prepared in English or French, and all supporting documents must be accompanied by a certified translation into English or French if they were not originally written in one of these languages. The following list is intended for reference purposes only as it does not contain enough detailed information to allow you to complete an application package without reference to other sources of information. Please remember to always consult with a qualified legal professional before acting, or failing to act, based on the information contained herein.

As of December 15, 2016, there are now only four sponsorship Canada document checklists, one for sponsoring a spouse, one for sponsoring a common-law partner, one for sponsoring a conjugal partner, and one for sponsoring a dependent child. Previously, there were 14 different document checklists related to Canada sponsorship.

Canada Sponsorship Forms and Documents:

  • Form IMM 0008, Generic Application Form for Canada, to be completed by the partner (the principal applicant who is seeking to immigrate to Canada)
  • Form IMM 1344, Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking, to be signed by the sponsor and the partner
  • Form IMM 1283, Financial Evaluation, to be signed by the sponsor
  • Form IMM 5406, Additional Family Information, to be completed by the principal applicant and all adult children
  • Form IMM 5476, Use of Representative, if the application itself or any part of it was actually completed by a third party such as a Canadian immigration lawyer or consultant
  • Form IMM 5532, Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation, to be completed by both the sponsor and main applicant
  • Form IMM 5533, Document Checklist for Spouse (Including Dependent Children)
  • Form IMM 5534, Document Checklist for Dependent Child
  • Form IMM 5589, Document Checklist for Common-Law Partner (Including Dependent Children)
  • Form IMM 5629, Document Checklist for Conjugal Partner (Including Dependent Children)
  • Form IMM 5669, Schedule A - Background/Declaration (the partner and all members of the partner's family who are at least 18 years of age must sign separate copies of this form)
  • Copy of application fee receipt
  • Medical Condition Statement: the results of a medical examination conducted by a doctor approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (no longer required up front)
  • Photocopy of both sides of sponsor's Permanent Resident Card or other proof of permanent residence, if the sponsor is not a Canadian citizen; or a copy of sponsor's proof of Canadian citizenship (such as a citizenship certificate, birth certificate or passport)
  • Photocopy of your marriage certificate, if your sponsorship is based on a legal marriage
  • Proof of the termination of any previous marriages through divorce, annulment or death
  • Sponsor's Notice of Assessment for the most recent tax year
  • Letter from your employer stating the sponsor's period of service, salary and working hours, with employer's original signature (not a copy) if the sponsor is employed; or evidence of business or self-employment income over the past 12 months
  • Photocopy of every page of the partner's passport
  • Proof of partner's immigration status in Canada, if the partner is applying from Canada (inland sponsorship)
  • Photocopy of both sides of the partner's U.S. Alien Registration Card, if applicable.
  • Documentary proof of common-law or conjugal relationship, if applicable (please see below for examples)
  • Photographs of your wedding or common-law partnership ceremony
  • Two passport-style photos of the partner

Please note that the foregoing is only a general checklist, more documentation may be required under individual circumstances. Moreover, provincial authorities and Canadian embassies or consulates may vary these requirements somewhat. Quebec spousal sponsorship, for example, requires police certificates from any country other than Canada where the partner has lived at least six months since the age of 18. If the sponsor is relying on a co-signer due to lack of financial resources, the co-signer may also need to submit copies of some of the supporting documents.

Some documents, such as the Schedule A Declaration, may be submitted electronically after linking your application to an online account. In such cases, the document does not need to be submitted upfront, and applicants will have 30 days after linking their online account to upload their valid Schedule A into the Global Case Management System (GCMS). Applicants who do not create an online account within seven days will be emailed or mailed a request for a paper copy of the document by CPC-M, and must do so within 30 days of the date of the letter. Failing to submit a Schedule A document could cause a spousal sponsorship application to be refused by Immigration Canada due to non-compliance.

This list does not include documents that may be required to bring dependent children into Canada. Old documents, such as Form IMM 5481, Sponsorship Evaluation, or Form IMM 5485, Spouse/Common-Law Partner Questionnaire, are no longer needed in 2017. For more information about spouse sponsorship documentation and procedures, you can visit the official Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Spousal Sponsorship Guide 5525 here.

Interested in learning more about our spousal sponsorship legal services? Contact our law firm today for a complimentary consultation.

Immigration Canada Spouse Sponsorship Online Account

As of 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) encourages spousal sponsorship applicants to link their paper-based application to an online account. Creating an online Canadian immigration account is easy, and involves registering a new account using your existing online banking login (Canadian banks) or a Government of Canada login. Once you apply to sponsor a husband or wife to Canada, or a qualified partner, linking the paper application to an online account allows IRCC to communicate with you directly.

Spousal Sponsorship Online Benefits:

  • Track the real-time status of your Spouse Visa application
  • More efficient for Immigration Canada to request additional documentation related to your sponsorship application (if needed)
  • Easily update your contact information (mail address, email, phone number, etc.)
  • Notify Canada immigration officials of changes in your application, such as a marriage or birth of a child
  • Withdraw your Canadian sponsorship application at any time, provided the sponsored individual has not yet become a Canadian permanent resident

Certifying Translations of Supporting Documentation

All Canadian immigration forms must be completed in either English or French. Although supporting documentation, such as a marriage certificate, may be printed in a third language, it must be accompanied by a certified translation. A certified translation must meet the following requirements.

Certified Translation Requirements:

  • The original document that was translated must be in the form of a certified copy
  • The translation must include the full document, and the full translation must accompany the document
  • If the translator is not a member of a provincial or territorial Canadian translator's organization, the translator must include an affidavit guaranteeing the language proficiency of the translator and the accuracy of the translation. The affidavit must be sworn in the presence of a notary public if outside of Canada, and in the presence of a notary public or other official with the authority to certify if inside of Canada.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship - What to Expect at the Canadian Border

When you are sponsored to Canada as a spouse, and you are living outside the country when the application is submitted (outland sponsorship), you must travel to Canada with a Spouse Visa once approved by CIC.

Spouse Visa Canada Border Process:

  • The officer will ask for your passport and Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), a document you will receive after your application is approved
  • The officer will check your passport for your immigration visa (Spouse Visa Canada) and make sure that it has not already expired at the time you enter Canada. Since the expiration date is printed on the visa itself, check it before you make your travel plans.
  • The officer may conduct a final admissibility review and may ask you questions like the ones you answered on your application, to confirm the authenticity of your relationship
  • You must report on how much money you are bringing into Canada (in any form, not only cash)
  • The officer has the authority to prevent you from entering Canada even with a Spouse Visa if he or she suspects that you do not qualify for some reason (for example, if they suspect that your purpose for coming to Canada is fraudulent). You do not have as many legal rights to resist deportation at the border as you will have once you have been lawfully admitted to Canada.

Where Do You Mail a Spouse Visa Canada Application?

To sponsor spouse outside Canada, outland spousal sponsorship applications should be mailed to:
CPC Mississauga
P.O. Box 3000, Station A
Mississauga, ON
L5A 4N6

To sponsor spouse inside Canada, inland spousal sponsorship applications should be mailed to:
CPC-Mississauga
P.O. Box 5040, Station B
Mississauga, ON
L5A 3A4

If you retain the services of our Canadian spousal sponsorship lawyer, we will mail your Canada sponsorship application to the Federal Government for you. Our spouse sponsorship lawyer will also handle all communication with Immigration Canada on your behalf.

Sponsoring Partner to Canada (Partner Visa Canada)

One of the key elements of the sponsor spouse Canada application is proving continuous cohabitation, particularly for common-law couples. Since non-married couples do not have a marriage certificate or marriage license to show Immigration Canada, they must authenticate their relationship in other ways. Relevant supporting documentation for common-law sponsorship Canada applications can include corroborating evidence in the form of personal references from friends, co-workers or neighbours.

Effect of a Removal Order or a Direction to Leave Canada

As a partner, the issuance of a Canada Removal Order against you can complicate your return to Canada. In fact, you may even need an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) in order to return, even if you hold a valid Canada Spouse Visa or Canada Partner Visa. Whether or not you need an ARC to return to Canada depends on the type of Removal Order issued against you and your response to it.

If you were subject to a Canada Departure Order and you left the country within 30 days and verified your departure with Canadian immigration authorities, you may not need an ARC to return to Canada. If you did not leave on time or you did not verify your departure, you may need an ARC to return.

If you were subject to a Canada Exclusion Order, and one year has passed since you departed the country, and you have a Certificate of Departure; you may not need an ARC to return. If one year has not yet passed or if you do not have a Certificate of Departure, you may need an ARC to return.

If you were subject to a Canada Deportation Order, you may need an ARC to return to Canada. If you were subject to a Direction to Leave Canada, you may not need an ARC to return to Canada.

Although an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) can be difficult to obtain, once you have one, you can enter Canada with a valid immigration visa. A removal order in your past, however, might reduce your chances of getting your immigration application approved in the first place.

How to Remove Yourself as a Co-Signer

If you have co-signed a Sponsorship Agreement for Canadian spousal immigration, and you no longer wish to be a co-signer on the application, it is possible to have yourself removed. In order to do so, you must write a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Canada explaining your intention to have yourself removed as a sponsorship co-signer. The letter must be initialled by all the other signing parties. Along with the letter, you must also include a copy of the original Sponsorship Agreement (CIC form IMM 1344).

Spouse Sponsorship Quebec

If you want to sponsor a spouse to Quebec, there are additional steps that must be undergone since immigration to Quebec is handled independently by the province. Quebec spousal sponsorship requires both federal permission and provincial permission. The first step is to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for a letter authorizing the issuance of a Certificate of Selection of Quebec (CSQ). Once Immigration Canada determines you are eligible for spouse sponsorship and issues this letter, you can then apply for Quebec family sponsorship. Once approved by Quebec, your spousal sponsorship application is then sent off for Federal processing.

Immigration Fraud

You can only sponsor a spouse to Canada if your relationship with him or her is 100% genuine. Entering into a relationship solely to gain privilege under Canada's immigration laws and policies is strictly forbidden. "Marriages of convenience" in which a couple pretends to be in a genuine relationship are absolutely not eligible for spousal immigration to Canada. To prevent abuse, IRCC has rigorous standards for Canadian sponsorship applications and a meticulous interview with IRCC officials may be required of applicants in order to ensure the couple has a bona fide good faith marriage. It is also possible for one partner to enter a relationship in good faith, while the other is secretly using the relationship solely to obtain PR Canada status.

Regardless of whether you are the sponsor or the individual applying for Canada PR, you are personally responsible for the contents and documentation of the sponsorship application. Submitting false documents or making false statements in association with a Canadian immigration application can be considered "misrepresentation." Not only can misrepresentation result in a spousal sponsorship Canada application being firmly denied, it can result in the applicant and their dependents being barred from Canada for five years under subsection 40(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Family Sponsorship Canada

The objective of family immigration to Canada is the reunification of close family members. Consequently, family class immigration applications are treated as high priority by IRCC. In addition to spouses and partners, citizens and permanent residents of Canada can sponsor their parents, grandparents and dependent children.

If I Withdraw My Canada Sponsorship Application Will I Get a Refund?

Spousal immigration applications can be withdrawn at any time before the sponsored person attains Canada PR status. If Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not yet started processing the spousal sponsorship application, all Government fees will be refunded. If IRCC has begun to process the application but has not yet made a decision regarding your eligibility as a sponsor, all processing fees including the Right of Permanent Resident Fee will be refunded, with the exception of the Sponsorship Fee which you will not get back. If IRCC has already decided your eligibility to sponsor a spouse to Canada, you will only receive a refund for the Right of Permanent Resident Fee and will not get back the Principal Applicant Processing Fee or Sponsorship Fee.

Open Work Permit Canada

A Canadian immigration attorney can help with spousal sponsorship within Canada as well as outside Canada. For "in Canada spousal sponsorship" ("in Canada" class), an experienced spouse sponsorship lawyer can also assist with the professional preparation of a Canada Open Work Permit, which can allow you to legally work in Canada while waiting for sponsorship approval. Open Work Permits are not job-specific, and they do not require a job offer or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada in order to attain.

Sponsoring a Husband to Canada vs. Sponsoring Wife to Canada

There is effectively no difference between sponsoring a wife to Canada and sponsoring a husband. The "sponsor husband to Canada" and "sponsor wife to Canada" forms and requirements are the exact same. Whether you wish to sponsor a husband to Canada, or a wife, our Canada spouse immigration legal team is here to help. Please note: there is a difference between the spousal sponsorship document checklist and the common-law partner document checklist (CIC form IMM5533 vs. IMM5589).

Can a Spouse Get a Visitor Visa While Outland Sponsorship Application Is Pending?

It is possible to obtain a Canadian Visitor Visa while a Canada PR application for spousal sponsorship is currently pending, however, in such cases a Canada Visa is often refused. In order to be successful, the applicant must properly demonstrate that he or she has adequate ties to their home country and that they are a bona fide visitor who does not intend to stay in Canada permanently until approved for permanent residency.

Preventable Spouse Sponsorship Application Delays

When sponsoring a spouse to Canada, approval from Immigration Canada can be delayed or even completely withheld for many reasons.

Possible Sponsorship Spouse Canada Problems:

  • Something in the spouse sponsorship Canada application looks suspicious. Authorities might suspect immigration fraud if, for example, an application on behalf of a common-law partner contains sketchy documentation to prove the couple actually lived together and combined their affairs during the period in question. Even something as innocuous as separate bank accounts (or a joint bank account opened a few days before the application was filed) can raise an alarm.
  • Any missing documentation. For example, the couple forgot to submit required forms or supporting documentation, or forget to include translations of foreign-language documents
  • Gaps in personal history. Never leave any gaps when completing the sponsor spouse to Canada "Schedule A - Background / Declaration" form (CIC form IMM 5669)
  • Missing or substandard information. If required information is omitted or the sponsorship application contains information that is illegible, it will likely not be approved
  • Small errors are a common cause of sponsorship delays. One example of a "small error" that can delay processing is submitting a foreign language document, such as a marriage certificate, that was translated abroad by a translator who forgot to include a notarized declaration that the translator is qualified and that the translation is accurate. Even including such a declaration with the translation will not be sufficient if the translator forgets to have it notarized, or if he has it certified by an authority other than a notary public. Since these kind of "minor" mistakes can result in major delays, it pays to be extremely thorough and detail-oriented when preparing your application.

The Canadian spousal immigration process is complex, arcane and highly detailed, although well worth it in the end. Considering this state of affairs, it might make sense to hire a professional to help you complete your application.

Questions about spousal sponsorship to Canada? Contact our Canadian immigration team today for a free consultation.

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