IRCC is still accepting and processing Spousal Sponsorship applications despite COVID-19 and the measures put in place to deal with the pandemic. Some exemptions have been made by IRCC for spousal sponsorship applications.
Learn more about the COVID-19 exemptions
Processing times on average are between 8 to 12 months, depending on the visa office responsible for processing the application. Some larger visa offices such as the USA can process applications as fast as 4 to 6 months.
All applications for both Inland and Outland Sponsorship are submitted to CPC-M in Mississauga. Once an application is deemed to be complete with all required forms and documents, and the sponsor is eligible, the application is forwarded for further processing. Incomplete applications are returned 3 months later.
There are two types of applications for Spouse and Common-Law Sponsorship
Outland Spousal Sponsorship: your application will be processed through the visa office in the sponsored spouse's country of citizenship or where they legally reside (if outside Canada). If you and your Spouse/Common-law partner live together in Canada, you can still apply under this category. Applying under this category will make you eligible to Appeal a refusal. You will not have rights to appeal for an Inland Spousal Application.
Inland Spousal Sponsorship (Spouse or Common-Law in-Canada category): your application will be processed in Canada and you and your sponsor MUST live together. The person being sponsored MUST have temporary status in Canada as a worker, student, or visitor. The person being sponsored may be eligible for an Open Work Permit.
* Important information on Refused Spousal Sponsorship applications
You can sponsor the following persons and their dependent children (21 or younger) for Canadian Permanent Residence
Spouse (husband, wife, partner- marriage must be legally recognized)
Common-law Partner (person you are living with but not married to)
Conjugal Partner (if your partner does not qualify under the Spouse or Common-Law category but you are in a committed relationship equal to that of a marriage for at least 1 year. There must be extenuating circumstances why you cannot live together- job location, studying abroad, inability to obtain visa to Canada are NOT good enough reasons)
Canada recognizes same-sex marriages and partners and are eligible to apply under these 3 categories.
Spouses who have a Criminal Record or Criminal Charge
Read more here on Criminal Inadmissibility
Spouses with a 5 year ban to Canada due to Misrepresentation
Read more here on Misrepresentation Inadmissibility
To be eligible to be a Sponsor
You must be a Canadian Citizen, or Permanent Resident (living in Canada)
You must be 18 years of age or older
You cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence
You, yourself, cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.
To be eligible to be sponsored by a Sponsor
You must be at least 18 years of age
You must not be too closely related by blood to the Sponsor
Requirements that must be met in order to qualify for Sponsorship under the 3 categories
Your relationship is genuine (real) and was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring Permanent Residence
If your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner "In Canada class", he or she must cohabit (live) with you in Canada
Requirements AFTER sponsorship
The sponsor is financially responsible for the person sponsored for three years after the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.
Individuals who come to Canada as spouses are themselves barred from sponsoring a spouse in turn for five years after receiving Canadian permanent residence.
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