Canada is known to be a welcoming and diverse country that encourages families to reunite. One way of reuniting families is through spousal sponsorship. Where a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their spouse to live with them in Canada. While spousal sponsorship may seem straightforward, there are certain things that people might not know about.
Before you start the spousal sponsorship process, you need to ensure that both you and your spouse meet the eligibility requirements.
- Firstly, the sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and be over 18 years of age.
- Secondly, the sponsored spouse must be at least 18 years of age and be in a genuine and ongoing relationship with the sponsor.
- Lastly, the sponsored spouse must not be inadmissible to Canada, which means they do not have a criminal record or a medical condition that could risk public health or safety.
The spousal sponsorship process can take a significant amount of time. According to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the average processing time for spousal sponsorship applications is 12 months. However, this timeline can vary based on various factors, such as the volume of applications received, the application’s complexity, and the application’s accuracy and completeness.
As a sponsor, you will have financial obligations toward your sponsored spouse. You must prove that you can provide basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Additionally, you must sign a sponsorship agreement that obligates you to provide financial support for your spouse for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
Conditional Permanent Residence
In some cases, sponsored spouses may be subject to conditional permanent residence. This means that they will receive a two-year temporary resident status instead of permanent residence. Their permanent residence status will depend on meeting certain conditions, such as living with their sponsor in a genuine relationship for two years. Conditional permanent residence may apply if the sponsored spouse was in a relationship with the sponsor for less than two years or if the sponsor has sponsored a spouse or partner in the past.
Appeals and Refusals
If your spousal sponsorship application is refused, you may have the option to appeal the decision. However, appeals can be lengthy and complex and seeking legal advice before proceeding is recommended. Sometimes, it may be possible to submit a new application instead of appealing the decision.
What If You Are Not a PR or Citizen?
Spousal sponsorship is a program designed for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The program is not intended for individuals who hold a work permit or study permit in Canada.
However, if your spouse or common-law partner is in Canada on a valid work permit or study permit, they may be eligible to apply for an open work permit or study permit as part of the spousal sponsorship process. An open work permit allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada. And a study permit allows the holder to study at a designated learning institution in Canada.
To be eligible for an open work permit or study permit as part of the spousal sponsorship process, the sponsored spouse must have a valid job offer in Canada or be enrolled in a full-time program of study at a designated learning institution. The sponsor must also meet the financial requirements to support their spouse or common-law partner during their stay in Canada.
How We Can Help
As professional RCICs, we can advise you on your eligibility and prepare and submit your documents. We also communicate with the government on your behalf to address any issues or delays that might occur. Our legal team can also help you appeal a refusal if you are experiencing one. If you want more information regarding your specific case, take our Free Assessment Form so we can help you better.