top of page

Spousal Sponsorship Application:  Common Mistakes

Spousal Sponsorship | Canada Immigration

Why did CIC return or refuse my Spousal Sponsorship application?

The Spousal Sponsorship application process is a daunting and time consuming task.  It is very administrative for the most part, but can also be overwhelming and challenging should a case not be straight-forward (previous marriages, arranged marriages, marriages less than 2 years, children from previous marriages, common-law relationships) .  Typical spousal applications are between 120 - 150 pages, after including all government forms and accompanying evidentiary documents.  If documents are required to be translated, it can be as many as 200 pages.


Reasons for returned applications (2 to 3 month delay)

  • Outdated / Incorrect version of Forms: ( 8 - 10 in total). Forms change every 1 -2 months.

  • Incorrectly answering questions: (approximately 200 total)

  • Leaving questions blank / unanswered / not using "N/A" where applicable

  • Missing Required Forms / Documents / Evidence

  • Incorrect picture specifications: no D.O.B, Studio Name, Date taken, too much/too little white space around head.

  • Incorrect fees paid or not included in application

  • Mixing up the "Principal applicant" and the "Sponsor"

  • Country Specific Requirements:  Not included or incorrect

Other potential Issues

  • Application not linking to online account

  • Open Work Permit not issued

  • Issues with Police checks

  • Issues with divorce records

  • Issues with children from another marriage (accompanying and non-accompanying)



Proving the genuineness of a relationship

The IRCC scrutinizes the genuineness of every relationship to ensure the applicant is not committing marriage fraud in order to immigrate.  If the officer is not convinced the marriage is genuine, they will refuse the application and can ban the sponsored spouse for 5 years from entering Canada for misrepresentation


Criteria that the IRCC takes into consideration when assessing applications:

  • Compatibility of couple

  • Co-habitation (or lack of)

  • Length of relationship (2 years and shorter require more documents)

  • Differences in religion, or caste (eg: Indian, Pakistani relationships)

  • Age difference

  • Difference in education

  • Cultural differences



Unfavourable Outcomes

Application is returned:  If an application was not complete, CPC-M will return the application after 2 to 2.5 months.  If the application was filed Inland, and a person is relying on implied status via the Open Work Permit being approved, they will fall out of status as the work permit will not be processed.  If the person has been out of status for less than 90 days, they can apply for Restoration of Status and resubmit the Spousal application. If 90 days have passed since falling out of status, they will need to leave Canada.


In person interviews:  People often get nervous and act suspicious, or they answer questions incorrectly- this happens all too often.  The visa officer will take detailed notes of the interview and will refuse the application if they are not convinced after the interview.


Procedural Fairness letter:  IRCC will send a letter, requesting additional information. It is imperative to provide a detailed submission letter, along with evidence that will support the application.  Failure to do so will result in a refusal.  If you find yourself in this situation, it is strongly advised to retain professional help to help prepare a response.


Refusal:  If an Inland Spousal application is refused, there are no rights to an appeal (as there are with Outland applications).  If an application is refused, the person in Canada will no longer have status.  The only option would be to retain a law firm to file a Judicial review on the original application or submit a new application.  A Judicial Review process will take 6 to 12 months, plus up to 6 additional months for IRCC to process the application.  If the application was an Outland application, an appeal can be filed with the IAD (immigration appeal division) and a hearing date will be scheduled to be held in 1.5 to 2 years.  During this time, your spouse will not be able to travel to Canada, unless they already have a valid TRV.  If they do not have a valid TRV, the IRCC will not issue a TRV after a refused sponsorship application.



Need Help?

Contact us for more information about the Spousal and Family Sponsorship application process or for assistance in preparing an application.

Law Society of Ontario (LSO) logo

Licensed by:

bottom of page