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Spousal Sponsorship Canada

Spousal Sponsorship Canada: A Comprehensive Guide to Reuniting with Your Partner

Spousal sponsorship is a Canadian immigration program that allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner to become a permanent resident of Canada.

Spousal Sponsorship Canada – Definition and Understanding

 

Spousal sponsorship in Canada refers to the process by which a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their spouse or partner for Canadian permanent residency. This program aims to facilitate family reunification by enabling Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their foreign spouses or partners to live with them in Canada.

 

The spousal sponsorship program recognizes the significance of maintaining strong family bonds and supports the reunification of married or common-law couples. In this program, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident acts as the sponsor, while their spouse or partner is the sponsored individual.

The relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person must be recognized as one of the following:

  1. Spouse: The couple is legally married. For those married outside Canada, the marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it took place and under Canadian law.

  2. Common-law Partner: The couple has been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. This relationship is recognized for both opposite- and same-sex couples.

  3. Conjugal Partner: The couple has been in a relationship for at least one year, but they could not live together or get married due to significant legal or immigration barriers. This category is typically only used in exceptional circumstances.

Eligibility Requirements for Spousal Sponsorship Applications

In order to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner for immigration to Canada, the sponsor must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements are set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are designed to ensure that the sponsor is capable of supporting the sponsored individual and that the relationship is genuine.

Sponsor Eligibility

  1. Age: The sponsor must be at least 18 years old.

  2. Residency: The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act, or a permanent resident living in Canada.

  3. Financial Stability: The sponsor must be able to prove that they can provide basic needs for themselves as well as for the person they are sponsoring. This includes food, clothing, utilities, personal requirements, shelter, fuel, household supplies, and health care not provided by public health, including dental and eye care.

  4. No Outstanding Sponsorship Agreements: The sponsor must not have any unpaid immigration loans, performance bonds, or family support payments.

  5. No Government Assistance: Unless disabled, the sponsor must not be receiving social assistance for reasons other than disability.

  6. No Legal Issues: The sponsor must not be under removal order or in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory, or prison.

  7. No Previous Sponsorships: If the sponsor previously sponsored a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner and three years have not passed since the sponsored person became a permanent resident, they may not be eligible to sponsor.

  8. No Violent Crime Convictions: The sponsor may not be eligible if they were convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative.

 

Sponsored Person Eligibility

  1. Age: The sponsored person must be at least 18 years old.

  2. Relationship: The sponsored person must be the sponsor's spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.

  3. Genuine Relationship: The sponsored person and the sponsor must prove that their relationship is genuine and not primarily for the purpose of gaining immigration benefits.

  4. Marital Status: If the sponsored person is a spouse, they must be legally married to the sponsor. If they are a common-law partner, they must have been living with the sponsor in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.

  5. Admissibility: The sponsored person must not be inadmissible to Canada for reasons such as criminality, health, or misrepresentation.

 

The spousal sponsorship application involves submitting a comprehensive package of documents, including application forms, supporting documentation, and fees. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) assesses the application to determine eligibility and ensure all requirements are met.

If the application is approved, the sponsored individual will be granted permanent resident status in Canada, allowing them to live and work in the country. Permanent residents enjoy most of the same rights and privileges as Canadian citizens.

 

The spousal sponsorship program in Canada aims to promote family unity and provide a pathway for spouses and partners to join their loved ones in the country. It plays a vital role in supporting family integration and strengthening Canadian communities.

Cost of Spousal Sponsorship Application and Open Work Permit

 

Financing immigration processes can often be a significant concern for many applicants. Common-law partner sponsorship and Open Work Permit applications come with specific fees that applicants need to account for during their planning. 

 

Sponsorship Application Fee

For a common-law partner sponsorship application, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) charges a processing fee of CAD75. This fee is non-refundable, even if the application is rejected.

 

Principal Applicant Processing Fee

In addition to the sponsorship application fee, the principal applicant (the sponsored partner) needs to pay a processing fee of CAD490.

 

Right of Permanent Residence Fee

After the application is approved, the sponsored partner will be asked to pay the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) of CAD515.

This fee is refundable if the application is cancelled, the sponsored partner decides not to come to Canada, or if the sponsored partner becomes a Canadian citizen before landing in Canada.

 

Biometrics Fee

Most applicants will also need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photograph), for which IRCC charges a fee of CAD85 per person.

 

Open Work Permit Fee

The fee for an Open Work Permit is CAD255. This includes a CAD 100 work permit fee and a CAD155 processing fee.

 

Medical Examination and Police Certificates

Applicants may also have to pay for a medical examination and police certificates, which are part of the application process. The costs for these vary depending on the country and specific service providers.

Translation and Evaluation of Documents

If any of your documents are not in English or French, you'll need to have them translated, which could be an additional expense. Similarly, you might have to get your foreign credentials assessed, which also comes with a fee.

 

Legal Fees

Finally, if you choose to hire an immigration lawyer or consultant to help with your application, you'll need to account for their fees.

Types of Spousal Sponsorship for Canada Permanent Residence

Inland Spousal Sponsorship

Inland sponsorship is when the sponsor and the sponsored person are both living in Canada at the time of the application. The sponsored person must have legal status in Canada, such as a work permit, study permit, or visitor visa.

One advantage of inland sponsorship is that the sponsored person may be eligible for an open work permit while their application is being processed. This allows them to work for any employer in Canada and can provide financial stability during the application process.

However, one disadvantage of inland sponsorship is that the sponsored person must remain in Canada while their application is being processed. If they leave Canada, they may not be allowed to re-enter, which could affect their application.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship

Outland sponsorship is when the sponsored person is living outside Canada at the time of the application. This type of sponsorship can also be used if the sponsored person is living in Canada but prefers to apply through the outland process.

One advantage of outland sponsorship is that the sponsored person is usually allowed to travel in and out of Canada while their application is being processed. This can be beneficial if the sponsored person needs to travel for work or personal reasons.

However, one disadvantage of outland sponsorship is that the sponsored person is not eligible for an open work permit in Canada. This means they cannot work in Canada until they receive their permanent resident status.

It's important to note that the choice between inland and outland sponsorship does not affect the eligibility criteria or the processing time for the application. The IRCC processes all spousal sponsorship applications in the order they are received, regardless of the type of sponsorship.

Choosing the Correct Class of Application to Sponsor your Spouse or Partner

When it comes to sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to Canada, there are a few different pathways and options available, each with its own eligibility requirements.

Family Class (Outland) Sponsorship: This is an option for both spouses/common-law partners and conjugal partners. The application can be made from within or outside Canada, but is typically referred to as "Outland" sponsorship, as decisions on these applications are made at visa offices abroad. The main advantage of this category is that it allows for appeal rights if the application is refused.

 

A sponsor under the Family Class must be:

In case of a conjugal partner, they must be living outside of Canada and unable to marry their Canadian partner or live with them in a common-law relationship due to significant legal or immigration barriers. This route is generally used as a last resort when the couple cannot qualify as spouses or common-law partners.

  • At least 18 years old

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident

  • Residing in Canada, if a permanent resident. Canadian citizens can live abroad but must intend to reside in Canada when the sponsored individual becomes a permanent resident.

  • Capable of financially supporting the person they are sponsoring.

Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) Class (Inland Sponsorship): This route applies to couples who are cohabitating in Canada, where the foreign spouse or common-law partner has temporary status (visitor, student, worker). The foreign spouse or partner must be physically present in Canada when the application is submitted and when the application is approved. During the application process, the foreign spouse or partner may apply for an open work permit.

 

The sponsor under the SCLPC class must be:

 

The sponsored person must:

Conjugal partners are not eligible for the SCLPC class (Inland Sponsorship).

  • At least 18 years old

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident

  • Living in Canada

  • Be legally married or in a common-law relationship with the sponsor

  • Live with the sponsor in Canada

  • Have legal immigration status in Canada (as a visitor, student, or worker)

 

In deciding which option to choose, it depends on the circumstances of the couple:

  • If the sponsored individual is living abroad: Family Class (Outland) Sponsorship is typically the best route, as it provides the right to appeal a negative decision, and processing times can be faster.

  • If the sponsored individual is in Canada and wants to maintain legal status: Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) Class (Inland Sponsorship) is the best option. The sponsored individual can apply for an open work permit while waiting for the application to be processed.

  • If the sponsored individual is in Canada but does not mind potentially needing to leave Canada: Either Inland or Outland Sponsorship could be chosen, depending on the specific circumstances. The advantage of choosing Outland is the right to appeal a negative decision.

Steps to apply for Spousal Sponsorship application to Canada

Applying to sponsor a spouse is a four-step process:

Step 1. Obtain the correct application package found on the government website; it contains a guide with instructions and forms that will help you complete the process correctly.

Step 2. Pay the online application fee, which includes the following:

  • Processing fees for all persons included in the application;

  • Right of Permanent Residence Fee;

  • Biometrics fees;

  • Other third-party fees, if applicable.

 

Step 3. Submit your application by following the submission instructions provided in the guide you downloaded.

 

Step 4. Submit the required supporting documents when prompted.

Spousal Sponsorship Processing Time

 

The processing time for an Inland Spousal Sponsorship application can vary, but it's crucial to understand the general timeline to manage expectations.

 

Submission and Acknowledgement of Receipt

Upon submitting the application, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) usually takes several weeks to a few months to send an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR). This notice confirms that your application has been received and is under review.

 

Application Review and Approval in Principle

The complete review of the application can take several months. During this time, IRCC assesses your eligibility as a sponsor and the genuineness of your relationship. Once these are confirmed, an Approval in Principle is issued.

 

Background, Security and Medical Checks

Following the Approval in Principle, background, security, and medical checks are conducted. This process can also add several months to the processing time.

 

Final Decision

Once all checks are complete, a final decision is made on your application. If approved, the sponsored spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada.

 

Current Processing Times

As of now, according to the IRCC, the estimated processing time for the majority of complete applications is 12 months. However, this time can change depending on various factors like the volume of applications received, the completeness of the application, and the complexity of the case.

 

Working While Waiting

One advantage of the Inland Spousal Sponsorship program is that the sponsored spouse or partner can apply for an open work permit while waiting for the application to be processed. This allows them to work for any employer in Canada.

 

Checking the Application Status

Applicants can check the status of their application online using IRCC's web-based services. Email updates are also typically sent at different stages of the process.

Stages of Approval for Spousal Sponsorship Canada

Stage 1: Approval of Sponsorship Application

In the first stage, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident applying to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include being at least 18 years old, living in Canada, and being able to provide financial support. The sponsor must also not have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.

After the application is submitted, it is reviewed for completeness. If it is complete, an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) is sent, and the review process begins. This stage involves an assessment of the eligibility of the sponsor and the genuineness of the relationship.

 

If the sponsorship application is approved, it is referred to as First Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship. The application then moves to the second stage. If it's not approved, the applicant will receive a letter explaining why.

 

Stage 2: Approval of Permanent Residence Application

This stage involves a more detailed examination of the applicant's admissibility to Canada. The spouse or common-law partner being sponsored will need to undergo medical, criminal, and background checks.

In some cases, an interview may be required. The length of this stage can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the situation, including whether or not an interview is necessary, and the results of the security and background checks.

 

If all checks are successful, and the spouse or common-law partner is found to be admissible to Canada. This is termed as the Second Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship.

Sponsoring Dependent Children of Partners

 

When a relationship involves children, additional considerations are factored into the sponsorship process. Here are the key things you need to know:

  1. Dependent Children: If the foreign national has dependent children, the Canadian sponsor can include them on the same application. A dependent child should be under the age of 22 and not have a spouse or common-law partner. Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependents if they have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22 and are unable to financially support themselves due to a physical or mental condition.

  2. Documentation: Additional documents will be needed for each dependent child, including a birth certificate, adoption papers (if applicable), or official documents identifying the child's parents. If the child has a different last name from the parent or parents, further documentation may be required.

  3. Medical Examinations: All dependent children, regardless of whether they will come to Canada, must undergo a medical examination.

  4. Custody and Legal Requirements: If a child is to be included on the application, proof must be provided that the immigrating parent has full legal custody or the not-immigrating parent consents to the child's move to Canada. If the child's other parent has legal access to the child, you will also need to demonstrate that the move to Canada complies with any custody agreements.

  5. Financial Responsibility: The Canadian sponsor must demonstrate that they meet the minimum necessary income requirement to support their partner, themselves, and any dependent children. This means proving that they can provide for the basic needs of each family member, such as food, clothing, and shelter.

  6. Criminal Record: It's important to note that if a dependent child has a criminal record, this could affect the application's success. In such situations, seeking legal advice is recommended.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship - Eligibility and Restrictions

 

Eligibility

The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is at least 18 years old and currently living in Canada. The person being sponsored must be the spouse or common-law partner of the sponsor, at least 18 years old, and have legal status in Canada (such as a visitor visa, student visa, or work permit).

 

Application Process

 

The application process for inland spousal sponsorship involves several steps:

  1. Prepare the Application: The sponsor and the sponsored person must fill out the necessary forms and gather all required documents. This includes proof of the sponsor's status in Canada, proof of the relationship, and financial documents.

  2. Submit the Application: The completed application package must be mailed to the appropriate IRCC office. The application must include all required forms and documents, as well as the application fee.

  3. Wait for Processing: After the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the IRCC. The processing time can vary, but it typically takes about 12 months.

  4. Attend an Interview (if required): In some cases, the sponsor and the sponsored person may be required to attend an interview with an IRCC officer. This is to verify the information in the application and to ensure that the relationship is genuine.

  5. Receive the Decision: If the application is approved, the sponsored person will receive their Confirmation of Permanent Residence and can apply for a PR card.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship Restrictions

 

While inland spousal sponsorship has its benefits, it also has some restrictions. The most significant is that the sponsored person must remain in Canada while their application is being processed. If they leave Canada, they may not be allowed to re-enter, which could affect their application.

 

Once the application is approved, the sponsored person will receive an open work permit, allowing them to work in Canada while their permanent residency application is being processed. The processing time for inland spousal sponsorship applications varies depending on the specific circumstances of each case but can take up to 12 months.

 

It is important to note that the sponsored person must remain in Canada during the inland spousal sponsorship process. Leaving Canada for extended periods may result in the application being abandoned, necessitating restarting the process from outside the country. However, short durations of travel outside Canada are permissible.

Spouse or Common Law Partner Sponsorship

Defining Common Law Partner in Canada

When it comes to Canadian immigration, it is important to understand the specific legal definitions used by the Canadian government. A key term that is commonly used is "common-law partner".

A common-law partner, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), refers to a person who is living in a conjugal relationship with another person (opposite or same sex), and has done so continuously for a period of at least one year. A conjugal relationship is one of some permanence, where individuals are interdependent – financially, socially, emotionally, and physically – where they share household and related responsibilities, and where they have made a serious commitment to one another.

This definition is crucial as it forms the basis for the Common Law Partner Sponsorship program. This program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their common-law partners for immigration to Canada. It's important to note that the definition of a common-law partner goes beyond merely living together; it requires a degree of financial interdependence and a shared commitment to a life together.

Understandably, proving the legitimacy of a common-law relationship can be more complex than for a married couple. The burden of proof rests on the couple to demonstrate they have been living together continuously for at least one year in a conjugal relationship. This can involve providing a variety of supporting documentation such as joint bank accounts, property leases or ownership, utility bills, and other evidence of cohabitation.

It's also important to note that immigration officers have the discretion to assess the genuineness of the common-law relationship. The assessment takes into consideration factors such as the length of the relationship, the amount of time spent together, the level of financial interdependence, and other factors indicative of a genuine, ongoing relationship.

De Facto Relationship vs De jure Relationship: Common Law Partner Sponsorship

 

"De jure" is a Latin phrase that means "in law." It represents something that is legally recognized or established. Therefore, a de jure relationship would be one that has been legally recognized, such as a legal marriage or a legally recognized civil partnership.

"De facto" is another Latin phrase, which means "in fact." It is used to characterize a state of affairs that is true in reality, even if it's not officially recognized by law. So, a de facto relationship would be one where two people live together and share a conjugal relationship, but have not had this relationship legally recognized through a marriage or civil partnership.

Common-law partner sponsorship is typically used in immigration scenarios where one partner is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, and they want to sponsor their partner's application for residency. 

Eligibility Criteria for Common Law Partner Sponsorship

A common-law partner who can be sponsored under the Common Law Partner Sponsorship Program, if he/she:

  • isn't legally married to you

  • can be of any sex

  • is 18 or older

  • has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months, demonstrating:

    • continuous cohabitation for one year without significant periods apart

    • any separations were due to family obligations, work, or business travel, and were short and temporary

 

It's important to note that if one partner chooses to end the relationship, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will consider the partnership over for the sponsorship application.

Who Can Be Sponsored as a Common-Law Partner

When it comes to sponsoring someone as a common-law partner for immigration to Canada, there are specific eligibility criteria that the couple must meet. Here is a closer look at who qualifies to be sponsored as a common-law partner.

Definition of a Common-Law Partner

A common-law partner refers to a person who is living in a conjugal relationship with another person (opposite or same sex), and has done so continuously for a period of at least one year. A conjugal relationship is one of some permanence, when individuals are interdependent – financially, socially, emotionally and physically – when they share household and related responsibilities, and when they have made a serious commitment to one another.

 

Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsored Person

The sponsored person must be at least 18 years old and must have been living with the sponsor in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months without any long periods of separation. Any period of separation must have been caused by an exceptional circumstance such as business travel or family obligation and the couple must have intended to live together during this time.

 

Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsor

The sponsor must be at least 18 years old. They must be a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident living in Canada. If the sponsor is a Canadian citizen not living in Canada, they must show that they plan to live in Canada when the sponsored person becomes a Permanent Resident. The sponsor is also required to prove that they have sufficient income to provide basic needs for the sponsored person's essential needs.

 

Exclusions

Certain situations may make a sponsored person ineligible. For example, if the person being sponsored has committed a serious crime, they may not be allowed to enter Canada. Also, if the sponsor has not fulfilled financial obligations to a previously sponsored person, they might not be allowed to sponsor another person.

Financial Requirements for Common Law Partner Sponsorship in Canada

 

The Canadian government mandates these requirements to ensure that the sponsor can financially support the sponsored person and that the sponsored person will not require social assistance.

Minimum Necessary Income (MNI)

Canada does not generally require a specific Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for sponsors under the Family Class or Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class. However, it's essential to note that the sponsor must be financially stable and not be receiving social assistance for reasons other than disability. The MNI applies if you are sponsoring dependent children who have dependent children of their own.

 

Proof of Funds

The sponsor must provide evidence of their financial ability to support their common-law partner for a specified period. This proof may include employment letters indicating salary and length of time in the job, pay stubs, or tax returns.

 

Sponsorship Agreement

As part of the application, the sponsor must sign a Sponsorship Agreement that confirms their commitment to provide financial support for their sponsored common-law partner, if necessary. This agreement also states that the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support themselves.

 

Length of Undertaking

The sponsor commits to a period of undertaking during which they are financially responsible for the person they are sponsoring. For common-law partners, this period is three years from the day the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident.

Requirements for Proof of Relationship in Common-Law Sponsorship

In a common-law sponsorship application, one of the critical elements is providing proof that your relationship is genuine and has been ongoing for at least one year. The Canadian immigration authorities need to verify the authenticity of the relationship to prevent fraudulent applications. Here, we delve into the requirements and the types of documents that can serve as proof of a common-law relationship.

Requirement of Proof

The Canadian government requires substantial proof of the relationship's authenticity and duration. The main purpose is to ensure that the relationship is not fraudulent or established for the sole purpose of obtaining permanent residence in Canada.

 

Types of Proof

Several types of documents can serve as proof of a common-law relationship. These may include but are not limited to:

  1. Joint leases or rental agreements.

  2. Joint utility bills (electricity, gas, internet, etc.).

  3. Joint bank accounts or credit card statements.

  4. Any official documents that show the same address for both partners.

  5. Photos together, including those with family and friends, over the period of the relationship.

  6. Letters of support from friends and family affirming the relationship.

  7. Evidence of shared household responsibilities.

 

Importance of Providing Comprehensive Evidence

The more comprehensive the evidence, the higher the chances of a successful application. It's crucial to provide a variety of evidence types to paint a complete picture of the relationship. While providing the evidence, remember to stay honest and factual.

Rights of the Sponsored Common Law Partner

Right to Live, Work, or Study Anywhere in Canada

The sponsored common-law partner has the right to live, work, or study anywhere they want in Canada, without any restrictions. This freedom of movement applies to all Canadian provinces and territories.

 

Health Care Benefits

In Canada, health care is publicly funded, meaning all residents have access to medical services. The sponsored common-law partner, once granted permanent residency, is eligible for these health care benefits, although coverage may vary by province or territory.

 

Social Benefits

The sponsored common-law partner is also entitled to certain social benefits provided by the Canadian government. This includes access to social services like employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan benefits, and Old Age Security. Additionally, they can also apply for the Canada Child Benefit if they have children.

 

Legal Rights

Sponsored common-law partners, like all residents in Canada, are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This guarantees fundamental rights such as equality rights, mobility rights, and legal rights.

 

Pathway to Citizenship

One of the most significant rights granted to sponsored common-law partners is the opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship. After living in Canada for three out of five years (this includes time before and after becoming a permanent resident), the sponsored partner can apply to become a citizen.

 

These rights greatly enhance the quality of life for the sponsored common-law partner in Canada. However, the sponsored partner must also fulfil their responsibilities as a permanent resident, such as carrying and presenting their valid PR card or permanent resident travel document (PRTD) when travelling to Canada, and remaining in the country for at least two years in a five-year period. Failure to meet these obligations can result in the loss of permanent resident status. It's crucial to stay informed and ensure all requirements are met to maintain residency status in Canada.

Applying from Within vs Outside of Canada

 

When applying for common-law partner sponsorship in Canada, one crucial decision the couple must make is whether to apply from within or outside Canada. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice depends on the couple's specific circumstances.

 

Applying from Within Canada (Inland Sponsorship)

An inland application refers to a process where the foreign common-law partner is already living in Canada with a valid visa when the application is submitted.

 

Pros:

  • The couple can stay together in Canada during the application process.

  • If eligible, the common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. This allows the foreign partner to work in Canada while the application is being processed.

 

Cons:

  • Processing times can be longer for inland applications.

  • There's no right to appeal a denied application.

  • If the common-law partner leaves Canada during the application process, there's a risk they might not be allowed to re-enter.

 

Applying from Outside Canada (Outland Sponsorship)

An outland application is submitted when the common-law partner is living outside Canada.

 

Pros:

  • Processing times are often quicker for outland applications.

  • The foreign common-law partner can travel in and out of Canada while the application is being processed.

  • If the application is denied, there's a right to appeal.

 

Cons:

  • The couple may have to live apart if the Canadian sponsor is unable to move to the foreign partner's country during the application process.

  • The foreign common-law partner can't work in Canada until the application is approved.

 

It's important to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Each couple's situation is unique, and what works for one couple might not work for another.

Renewal and Conditions of Common Law Partner Sponsorship

 

In Canadian immigration policy, there is an underlying premise of establishing permanent residency rather than temporary status for foreign nationals who are being sponsored by their Canadian partners. Therefore, the concept of "renewal" in the context of a Common-Law Partner Sponsorship is not applicable in the same way as it would be for a visa or work permit.

 

That being said, there are conditions and responsibilities that both the sponsor and the sponsored person need to understand, as non-compliance can have severe consequences:

  1. Period of Sponsorship: The Canadian partner (sponsor) must provide financial support for the sponsored partner for three years from the date the sponsored partner becomes a permanent resident. This responsibility holds even if the relationship status changes (separation, divorce, etc.).

  2. No Government Financial Assistance: The sponsor commits that the common-law partner (and any dependent children) will not need to seek social assistance from the government. If the sponsored individuals receive social assistance, the sponsor is obligated to pay back the amount to the government.

  3. Responsibilities of the Sponsored Partner: The sponsored partner must adhere to the conditions of their permanent residence. They should not commit any serious crime; if they do, they may be deported.

  4. False Representation: Providing false information or documents is regarded as misrepresentation. This can lead to a ban of five years on application for permanent residency.

  5. Status Maintenance: While waiting for the sponsorship application's approval, the foreign common-law partner living in Canada should maintain their legal status in Canada as a visitor, worker, or student.

  6. Breakdown of Relationship: If the relationship breaks down while the application is in process, and there is no mutual intent to continue the relationship, the sponsorship application is likely to be refused.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Common Law Sponsorship Applications

 

When applying for a Common Law Partner Sponsorship in Canada, there are several potential pitfalls that applicants can fall into. Let's discuss some of the most common mistakes that applicants make, which can result in delays, return of the application, or even refusal:

  1. Insufficient Proof of Relationship: Applicants need to provide solid evidence that their relationship is genuine. Insufficient proof can raise doubts about the legitimacy of the relationship. Photos, joint bills, shared residential address, shared bank accounts, and letters from friends and family can be used as proof.

  2. Incomplete Application: Missing information or documents can result in application return or refusal. It's crucial to double-check that all sections of the forms are completed correctly and all required documents are included.

  3. Not Meeting Eligibility Requirements: The sponsor needs to be at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident. If these conditions are not met, the application will be denied.

  4. Failing to Disclose Criminal History: Both the sponsor and the sponsored person must be honest about their criminal history, if any. The sponsored person may be found inadmissible if they have a criminal record. In some cases, depending on the nature and recency of the crime, this could lead to the application being denied.

  5. Income Requirement Misunderstanding: While there is no minimum income requirement for sponsoring a common-law partner, the sponsor needs to demonstrate they can meet basic needs without accessing social assistance.

  6. Incorrect Fee Payment: The application will be returned if the correct processing fee is not paid. Ensure to check the latest fee structure on the official government website before applying.

  7. Address Errors: Make sure to provide the correct mailing address. Any errors can lead to significant delays or lost documents.

  8. Using Outdated Forms: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada occasionally updates its application forms. Ensure you are using the most recent versions of the forms, which can be found on the IRCC website.

  9. Missing Signature: Forgetting to sign the application forms is a common mistake. Ensure all necessary forms are signed and dated.

 

Avoiding these mistakes can significantly increase your chances of a successful application.

Differences Between Marriage and Common-Law Sponsorship

When considering sponsoring your partner for Canadian residency, it's essential to understand the differences between marriage and common-law sponsorship. While both are valid ways to bring your partner to Canada, they each come with unique considerations, rules, and timelines.

Legal Recognition

A significant difference between marriage and common-law sponsorship is the way they're legally recognized. A marriage is a legally binding contract that is recognized internationally, while a common-law relationship is recognized after the couple has cohabited for at least 12 months in a conjugal relationship.

 

Evidence Requirement

Both marriage and common-law sponsorship require proof of the relationship's genuineness. Married couples may provide a marriage certificate, wedding photos, or joint bank account statements. Common-law partners, however, often need more extensive evidence like shared rental agreements or property ownership documents, joint bills, or even shared vehicle ownership.

 

Application Process and Processing Time

The application process is very similar for both marriage and common-law sponsorship. The documentation needed is nearly identical, and the processing time is often very similar. However, because of the need for more evidence for a common-law relationship, these applications might take a bit longer to prepare.

 

Divorce vs Separation

If a marriage breaks down, a legal divorce is required to dissolve the relationship legally. In contrast, a common-law relationship is considered ended once the couple has ceased cohabitation for a certain period with no intention of resuming it.

 

Implications for Sponsorship

Regardless of whether you're married or in a common-law relationship, as a sponsor, you have an obligation to support your spouse or partner for three years after they become a permanent resident.

Spousal Open Work Permit

 

In Canada, the Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) is a type of work permit that enables the spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers or full-time students to work in Canada. The permit does not restrict the kind of work that the holder can undertake and does not require a job offer.

The SOWP is a key aspect of Canada's immigration policy, aimed at ensuring families can stay together when one member is studying or working in the country. It has a specific goal of providing economic support and improved social stability to immigrants and their families.

The SOWP, unlike a regular work permit, does not tie the holder to a specific employer. This means that the holder of an SOWP can work for any employer in Canada and is not limited to a specific location. However, there are a few exceptions for certain employers who fail to meet specific requirements set by the Canadian government.

Additionally, the SOWP does not have any restrictions on the type of job or level of wage that the holder can earn, which offers a wide range of employment opportunities to the spouse or common-law partner of the temporary worker or student.

However, like other types of permits, the SOWP has an expiration date. This is typically tied to the length of the main applicant's work or study permit. The permit holder must also comply with all Canadian laws and regulations.

Overall, the SOWP is a flexible and helpful tool for families coming to Canada. It ensures that both partners can contribute to the family's economic stability, enhances the quality of life, and makes Canada a more attractive destination for foreign workers and students.

Eligibility for the Spousal Open Work Permit

To qualify for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP), the applicant's spouse or common-law partner must either be a full-time student at a post-secondary institution, a skilled worker in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER 0, 1,2 or 3, or a foreign worker who has a valid work permit.

It's important to note that there are certain restrictions as well. The main applicant must prove they can support themselves, their spouse or common-law partner, and any dependents. If the main applicant is a student, they must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated learning institution.

 

In addition, the spouse or common-law partner who is applying for the SOWP must be of legal age in their home country and Canada, and the couple must prove their relationship is genuine. This is to prevent fraudulent immigration attempts.

 

Applications for SOWPs can be made at the same time as the main applicant's work or study permit, but they can also be made after the main applicant has arrived in Canada. It's important to keep in mind that processing times can vary and applying early is often beneficial.

 

Upon receiving the SOWP, the holder is free to work in Canada until the permit expires. The job can be full-time, part-time, or even self-employment. There are some restrictions on the type of employers a SOWP holder can work for, such as businesses that do not comply with labor laws or are involved in illegal activities.

 

It's worth mentioning that holding a SOWP does not directly lead to permanent residency. However, the work experience gained through this permit may benefit future applications for immigration programs that require Canadian work experience.

How to Apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit

The application process for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) can be a daunting task due to its several steps and specific requirements.

 

Here is a step-by-step guide to help simplify the process.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Before beginning the application process, it's essential to determine if you are eligible for the SOWP. The applicant's spouse or common-law partner must either be a full-time student at a post-secondary institution, a skilled worker in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill TEER 0, 1,2 or 3, or a foreign worker who has a valid work permit.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documents

Collect all the necessary documents for the application. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Proof of relationship to the main applicant (marriage certificate, common-law status)

  • Main applicant's valid work or study permit

  • Proof of financial support

  • Medical examination confirmation if required

 

Step 3: Fill Out the Application Forms

There are various forms to fill out for the application process. It is crucial to answer all questions accurately and honestly. An error or omission may delay the application or even lead to a refusal.

 

Step 4: Pay the Fees

The fees for the SOWP must be paid at the time of application. These fees are not refundable, even if the application is not accepted.

 

Step 5: Submit the Application

Submit the application online. It is highly recommended to review all the details thoroughly before submission.

 

Step 6: Wait for Processing

Processing times can vary based on several factors, such as where the application was made, the completeness of the application, and the number of applications currently in the queue.

Renewing Your Spousal Open Work Permit

 

If your Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) is nearing its expiration date and you wish to continue working in Canada, it's essential to apply for a renewal. This process is also known as extending your work permit. Here's how you can go about it:

 

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility for Renewal

Before starting the renewal process, you need to confirm whether you're still eligible for the SOWP. You remain eligible if your spouse or common-law partner is still studying or working in Canada under a valid permit.

 

Step 2: Check the Expiry Date

Take note of the expiry date on your current permit. It's advisable to apply at least 30 days before the current permit expires to allow for possible processing delays. However, remember the implied status provision in Canadian immigration law. If you apply before your permit expires, you can continue working under the same conditions until a decision is made on your application.

 

Step 3: Collect Required Documents

Similar to the initial application, you'll need to collect certain documents, such as your spouse's valid permit, proof of your relationship, proof of financial support, and more.

 

Step 4: Fill out the Application Forms

Accurately fill out the application forms provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Make sure to indicate clearly that you're applying for an extension of your work permit.

 

Step 5: Pay the Fees

There are fees associated with the renewal of your SOWP. The fees must be paid at the time of application.

 

Step 6: Submit the Application

You can submit your application online. Thoroughly review all the information in your application before submitting it to avoid any errors or delays.

 

Step 7: Wait for Processing

Once your application is submitted, it enters the processing queue. The time it takes to process an extension can vary, so it's a good idea to apply as early as possible.

 

It's essential to maintain legal status while in Canada. Ensuring that you apply for a renewal in time can help maintain your right to work in the country.

How to Extend Your Spousal Open Work Permit

Perhaps you're enjoying your time in Canada and have decided to extend your stay. If that's the case, you need to apply for an extension of your Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP). Here are the steps you need to take:

Step 1: Understand the Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for an extension, you need to meet certain conditions. You should apply while your current permit is still valid, and the sponsored spouse or common-law partner should continue to meet the requirements under which your initial SOWP was granted.

 

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

Just like with the initial application, you'll need to provide a set of documents. This often includes a copy of your current work permit, proof that your spouse or common-law partner is continuing their study or work, and financial proof that you can support yourself.

 

Step 3: Apply for the Extension

The extension application can be made online. This is the most convenient method as it allows you to ensure all documentation is correct and complete before submission, and it typically has faster processing times.

 

Step 4: Pay the Required Fees

There are fees associated with extending your SOWP. These must be paid at the time of application. The fees cover the processing of your application and are not refundable, even if your application is denied.

 

Step 5: Submit Your Application

Once your documents are prepared, your fees are paid, and you've ensured you meet all the eligibility requirements, you can submit your application. Remember to do this well before your current permit expires.

 

Step 6: Wait for a Decision

After submitting your application, you will need to wait for a decision from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). While waiting, it's important to maintain your current status in Canada.

 

Step 7: Continue Your Stay

If your application for an extension is approved, you will receive a new permit that allows you to continue living and working in Canada. It's important to note that your status in Canada is temporary, and you must adhere to the conditions outlined in your work permit.

 

Extending your SOWP involves a process similar to the initial application, and meticulous attention to detail is necessary to ensure successful approval.

Validity Period of Spousal Open Work Permit

Initial Validity Period

The SOWP is initially valid for the same duration as the study or work permit of the spouse or common-law partner who is already in Canada. The length of these permits is typically up to four years but it depends on the course duration for students and the job contract for workers.

 

Limitations in Validity

Despite its initial duration, the SOWP has limitations in its validity. One critical limitation is that the permit expires immediately when the permit of the spouse or common-law partner expires or is revoked. Additionally, if the relationship with the spouse or common-law partner ends, so does the validity of the SOWP.

 

Extension of Validity

The validity period of the SOWP can be extended, as discussed in the previous topic. This allows the permit holder to continue living and working in Canada beyond the original expiry date. However, the extension is still tied to the status of the spouse or common-law partner.

 

Transitioning to Permanent Residency

Although the SOWP is a temporary permit, it can be a stepping stone towards achieving Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada. A permit holder can apply for PR under the Canadian Experience Class or the Provincial Nominee Program, for example, if they meet the specific requirements of those programs.

 

Always Maintain Valid Status

An important reminder is to always maintain a valid status while in Canada. You must apply for a permit extension before your current one expires. If it does expire, you would be expected to leave the country or apply for restoration of status within 90 days, a process that comes with its own fees and requirements.

Health Insurance for Spousal Open Work Permit Holders

 

Navigating health insurance for Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) holders can be complex, given that healthcare is administered by individual provinces and territories in Canada. The necessity of insurance coverage cannot be overstated, as healthcare services can be expensive for non-residents.

 

Healthcare in Canada

Canada's healthcare system is primarily a public one, funded by taxes. The health services are provided through the provincial and territorial systems. However, the coverage for non-permanent residents can vary significantly across the provinces.

 

Insurance Coverage Variations

For SOWP holders, the type of healthcare coverage available depends on the province or territory they reside in. Some provinces, like Ontario and British Columbia, provide coverage for the holders of these permits. In contrast, others may require them to purchase private insurance until they are eligible for provincial health care.

 

Private Health Insurance

In provinces where SOWP holders are not covered under the provincial health care, it's crucial to purchase private health insurance to avoid high out-of-pocket costs in the event of illness or injury. Numerous providers offer comprehensive private insurance packages, with a variety of cost and coverage options.

 

Waiting Periods

Even in provinces where SOWP holders are eligible for healthcare coverage, there may be waiting periods. For instance, in Ontario and British Columbia, there is a three-month waiting period. During this time, it's essential to have private health insurance for coverage.

 

Application for Health Insurance

In most cases, SOWP holders will need to apply for health insurance upon arrival in Canada. Proof of residence, such as a rental agreement or utility bill, may be required for the application.

 

Family Coverage

Importantly, some insurance plans offer family coverage, which can extend to include dependent children of the SOWP holder. This can be particularly beneficial for families relocating together.

 

Emergency Coverage

While making a choice, it is important to ensure that emergency medical costs are covered in the plan. These could include hospital stays, surgery, or emergency room visits.

Job Restrictions with Spousal Open Work Permit

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No Specific Employer Restrictions

Unlike some other types of work permits in Canada, the Spousal Open Work Permit is not employer-specific. This means that holders of a SOWP are not limited to working for a specific employer. They can change employers without having to update or adjust their permit. This flexibility allows permit holders to explore different career opportunities in Canada and to find the best fit for their skills and interests.

No Specific Location Restrictions

Another significant benefit of the Spousal Open Work Permit is that it does not restrict the holder to a particular location within Canada. This means they can take up employment in any province or territory of the country. This mobility can be advantageous for those looking for the best job opportunities or wanting to experience life in different parts of Canada.

Health and Safety Regulations

While the SOWP provides considerable freedom regarding where and for whom you can work, it is important to remember that all work conducted must meet Canadian labor laws and standards. These laws cover aspects such as minimum wage, working hours, and health and safety. These regulations are designed to protect all workers in Canada, including those on work permits.

 

Some Occupational Restrictions

Although the SOWP allows holders to work in most jobs, there can be some restrictions based on health criteria for certain types of work. For instance, if you plan to work in a job where public health must be protected, you may need to have a medical exam. Jobs where this applies include those in the health services field, child care, or primary or secondary education.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship

Definition & Understanding

 

In the context of Canadian immigration, a conjugal relationship is one of some permanence, when individuals are interdependent – financially, socially, emotionally and physically – when they share household and related responsibilities, and when they have made a serious commitment to one another.

Conjugal does not mean “sexual relations” alone. It indicates that there is a significant degree of attachment between two partners. This term is used to describe a relationship akin to marriage, but where marriage may not have been possible due to extenuating circumstances.

To qualify as a conjugal relationship for the purposes of Canadian immigration:

  • The couple must have been in a relationship for at least 12 months (1 year).

  • The couple must have been prevented from living together or marrying due to some significant legal or immigration impediment.

  • The couple must demonstrate interdependence, which could be evidenced through a variety of means, including emotional and financial support, shared ownership of possessions or real estate, shared responsibilities and decision making, and shared custody of children.

 

A conjugal relationship can be with an individual of the same or opposite sex. It is important to note that the conjugal relationship category is generally the last resort and will only be considered if the couple cannot qualify under the other categories such as spouse or common-law partner. This is due to the higher burden of proof it requires.

 

Also, being in a conjugal relationship does not automatically guarantee the granting of a visa or permit. The couple will still need to meet all other immigration requirements, including but not limited to health, security, and criminal admissibility checks.

Conjugal Partner Sponsorship

Definition & Understanding

 

In the context of Canadian immigration, a conjugal relationship is one of some permanence, when individuals are interdependent – financially, socially, emotionally and physically – when they share household and related responsibilities, and when they have made a serious commitment to one another.

Conjugal does not mean “sexual relations” alone. It indicates that there is a significant degree of attachment between two partners. This term is used to describe a relationship akin to marriage, but where marriage may not have been possible due to extenuating circumstances.

To qualify as a conjugal relationship for the purposes of Canadian immigration:

  • The couple must have been in a relationship for at least 12 months (1 year).

  • The couple must have been prevented from living together or marrying due to some significant legal or immigration impediment.

  • The couple must demonstrate interdependence, which could be evidenced through a variety of means, including emotional and financial support, shared ownership of possessions or real estate, shared responsibilities and decision making, and shared custody of children.

 

A conjugal relationship can be with an individual of the same or opposite sex. It is important to note that the conjugal relationship category is generally the last resort and will only be considered if the couple cannot qualify under the other categories such as spouse or common-law partner. This is due to the higher burden of proof it requires.

 

Also, being in a conjugal relationship does not automatically guarantee the granting of a visa or permit. The couple will still need to meet all other immigration requirements, including but not limited to health, security, and criminal admissibility checks.

Requirements for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship

 

Conjugal Partner Sponsorship is designed for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who wish to sponsor their conjugal partners for Canadian immigration. This sponsorship is particularly useful for partners who are unable to cohabit for one year, a requirement for common-law partners, due to exceptional circumstances. In this section, we'll detail the requirements for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship.

 

To start, the sponsoring party must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident aged at least 18 years old. They should be able to provide for their basic needs as well as those of their spouse or partner. The sponsor should also have no outstanding sponsorship undertakings, defaulted immigration loans, or late or missed payments of family support.

 

As for the person being sponsored, they must be at least 18 years old, have been in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for at least one year, and live outside Canada. In addition, they cannot qualify as spouses because they cannot marry their sponsor or live with them for one year, often due to reasons beyond their control (e.g., immigration barriers, religious reasons, or sexual orientation).

 

The conjugal relationship must be exclusive, implying no other conjugal relationship exists. It should be long-term, meaning the couple intends to stay together indefinitely. They must also have a level of commitment that equates to a marriage or common-law relationship, which usually involves mutual economic support and mingling of finances.

 

It's worth noting that Conjugal Partner Sponsorship isn't available to those already living in Canada, as they would usually have the option to live together and thus could apply as spouses or common-law partners.

 

Finally, both the sponsor and the sponsored person must prove that they can and are willing to maintain a long-term commitment to each other. This involves demonstrating the interdependence of their lives through shared assets, the level of financial support, letters of correspondence, and any joint custody of children.

 

A caveat, conjugal partner sponsorship tends to be more scrutinized than spousal or common-law partner sponsorship, as it's more susceptible to fraud. Therefore, applicants must be prepared to provide comprehensive evidence of their relationship.

Application Process for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship

 

The application process for conjugal partner sponsorship in Canada is similar to that of common-law or married partner sponsorship. The sponsor needs to submit a comprehensive application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The application should include compelling evidence of the genuine and ongoing nature of the relationship. It should also encompass identification and financial documents, as well as police certificates and medical exams as per the requirements.

 

Conjugal partner sponsorship applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and providing strong evidence is crucial to meet the high burden of proof. Couples need to substantiate their eligibility and the genuine nature of their relationship despite the challenges they face.

Proof of Conjugal Relationship

When applying for the Conjugal Partner Sponsorship program, providing evidence of the relationship is an integral part of the application process. Authorities will want to see proof that you and your partner are in a genuine, ongoing, and exclusive relationship of some permanence. Here are some ways you can demonstrate this:

  1. Shared Ownership of Residential Property: Joint ownership or rental agreements can serve as a powerful piece of evidence. It shows that you both have made a significant commitment to a shared life.

  2. Joint Leases or Rental Agreements: If you have lived together at any point, leases or rental agreements in both names can serve as proof.

  3. Joint Loans or Credit: Financial intermingling, such as joint loans, credit cards, or bank accounts, can also serve as evidence of a genuine relationship.

  4. Evidence of Communication: Regular communication such as emails, text messages, phone bills, or letters can substantiate the ongoing nature of the relationship. Make sure that the content is suitable for an immigration officer to read.

  5. Photos Together: Photos of you and your partner together, especially at family events or trips, can demonstrate a shared life. You can also include photos with each other’s families or friends.

  6. Documents Showing Shared Responsibility: Bills for shared utilities, proof of shared household expenses, or documents showing shared responsibility for household chores can provide further proof of a genuine relationship.

  7. Witness Statements: Statements from friends and family can corroborate your relationship's validity. These statements should detail the person’s relationship with you and your partner, and confirm that you are a genuine couple.

  8. Evidence of Visits: If you have visited each other, provide evidence such as stamps in your passports, travel itineraries, or tickets.

 

Remember, the goal is to establish the genuineness of your relationship to the immigration authorities. It is recommended to provide a diverse array of evidence, instead of multiple documents of the same type.

Interview Process for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship

 

The interview process for Conjugal Partner Sponsorship can be an intimidating process, but it is an essential part of assessing the genuineness of your relationship. This process aims to ensure that the relationship is not fraudulent or established primarily for immigration purposes.

  1. Scheduling the Interview: Once your application is underway, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may schedule an interview. The notice will usually provide the date, time, and place of the interview.

  2. Preparation: Before the interview, review your application and all submitted documents. Be familiar with all details as inconsistencies can raise red flags. It may be helpful to review dates, addresses, and key events in your relationship.

  3. During the Interview: An immigration officer will conduct the interview. The officer will ask questions about your relationship to assess its genuineness. The questions can be about how you met, your relationship history, daily routines, or plans for the future. Answer all questions honestly.

  4. Consistency: Consistency is key. Both partners should provide consistent answers. If you're unsure about an answer, it's better to say that you don't remember than to guess.

  5. Honesty: Honesty is important. Providing false information can lead to severe consequences, including being found inadmissible to Canada on the grounds of misrepresentation.

  6. After the Interview: After the interview, the officer will make a decision on your application. If they are satisfied with your answers, they will continue processing your application. If they have concerns, they may request more information or conduct further investigations.

 

The interview is an opportunity to demonstrate the authenticity of your relationship. You should approach it with preparation and sincerity.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Outland Spousal Sponsorship Applications

 

Navigating the Outland Spousal Sponsorship process can be complex and mistakes can lead to delays or even refusal of your application.

 

Here are some common mistakes that you should be aware of:

  1. Incomplete Application: It's critical to ensure that all required sections of the application forms are filled out. An incomplete application can be returned or refused.

  2. Incorrect or Incomplete Supporting Documents: The supporting documents you provide are crucial in establishing the validity of your relationship. Not providing enough evidence or submitting documents that don't meet the requirements can lead to your application being refused.

  3. Not Meeting Financial Requirements: The sponsoring spouse must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient income to support the applicant. If the sponsor's financial details are not correctly reported, or they do not meet the necessary income threshold, the application can be refused.

  4. Not Proving the Genuineness of the Relationship: You must provide substantial proof to show that your relationship is genuine and not simply for immigration purposes. Failure to convince immigration officials of the genuineness of your relationship can lead to refusal.

  5. Not Updating Changes in Circumstances: If your circumstances change during the application process (for example, change of address, birth of a child, change of job, etc.), you must inform the immigration authorities. Failure to do so can lead to delays or refusal.

  6. Misrepresentation: Providing false information or false documents in your application is a serious offence and can result in a ban from entering Canada for five years.

  7. Insufficient explanation of the circumstances: For Outland applications, it is crucial to explain why you chose this route instead of Inland. A well-drafted letter explaining the reasoning can be beneficial.

  8. Applying without Legal Status: If you are applying from within Canada, you need to have valid legal status. Applying without legal status can complicate your application and might result in refusal.

 

Remember, each case is unique, and what applies to one person may not apply to another.

Appealing a Denied Outland Spousal Sponsorship Application

If your Outland Spousal Sponsorship application has been denied, the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada provides sponsors with an opportunity to appeal the decision.

The appeal process for a denied Outland Spousal Sponsorship is as follows:

  1. Notice of Appeal: You have 30 days from the day you receive the refusal letter to submit a Notice of Appeal to the IAD.

  2. Appeal Hearing: After the Notice of Appeal is received, the IAD will schedule a hearing. You'll be able to present your case, provide new information, and argue why the decision should be overturned. An IAD Member (decision-maker) will preside over the hearing, and a Minister's Counsel will represent the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

  3. Decision: After the hearing, the IAD Member will either allow or dismiss the appeal. If the appeal is allowed, the application is sent back to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for further processing. If the appeal is dismissed, the refusal decision is upheld. If the IAD's decision is negative, it can be reviewed at the Federal Court of Canada, but only on legal grounds.

 

In comparison, for an Inland Spousal Sponsorship application, there is no formal appeal process if the application is refused. Instead, an applicant's options would typically include applying for a Judicial Review at the Federal Court of Canada, or resubmitting a new application with additional or improved supporting documentation. The Federal Court process is complex and generally requires the assistance of a lawyer, and there are tight timelines involved. It's worth noting that the Federal Court does not hold a new hearing. Rather, the judge reviews the decision of the immigration officer for errors in law or fact.

 

In other words, the most significant difference between the two pathways (Inland and Outland) when it comes to a refusal, is the right to appeal to the IAD in the case of an Outland application.

Comparison Between Inland and Outland Spousal Sponsorship

 

Choosing between Inland and Outland Spousal Sponsorship can be a significant decision for couples. Both processes have their own benefits and challenges. Here's a comparison to help you understand better:

  1. Location of Applicant During the Process

    • Inland: The sponsored spouse or partner must remain in Canada during the application process. If they leave Canada, they may not be allowed to return, and their application may be refused.

    • Outland: The sponsored spouse or partner can live outside Canada and can travel in and out of Canada during the application process.

  2. Processing Times

    • Inland: The processing times for Inland Sponsorship tend to be longer. Please check the latest processing times on the Canadian government's official website.

    • Outland: Typically, Outland Sponsorship applications are processed faster than Inland ones. However, the processing times may vary depending on the country where the sponsored spouse or partner is residing.

  3. Open Work Permit

    • Inland: Applicants can apply for an Open Work Permit while waiting for their application to be processed. This permit allows them to work for any employer in Canada.

    • Outland: Open Work Permit is not available for Outland applicants.

  4. Appeal Rights

    • Inland: If the application is refused, there is no right to appeal for Inland applications.

    • Outland: If an Outland application is refused, the sponsor has the right to appeal the decision.

  5. Risk of Refusal

    • Inland: If an Inland application is refused, the sponsored person could be at risk of removal from Canada.

    • Outland: Since the sponsored person is typically outside Canada during the process, there is no risk of removal from Canada in case of refusal.

  6. Medical, Criminal, and Security Checks

    • Inland: These checks are conducted as part of the application process for both Inland and Outland applicants.

    • Outland: The same checks are conducted for Outland applicants, and it may include checks in the country of current residence and any countries where the applicant lived for more than six months in a row.

 

Remember, each application is unique, and the choice between Inland and Outland will depend on your personal circumstances.

Sponsorship agreement when applying for Spousal Sponsorship Canada
 

When applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada, both the sponsor and the individual being sponsored must sign a sponsorship agreement. This agreement outlines the responsibilities and obligations of both parties.
 

The sponsorship agreement has two main components:

  1. Sponsor's Undertaking: This is the sponsor's commitment to provide financial support for their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner, and any dependent children. The financial support covers basic requirements such as food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities for everyday living. It also includes healthcare not provided by public health, such as eye and dental care.

    The undertaking ensures that these individuals will not need to apply for social assistance. The length of undertaking for a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner is three years from the day they become a permanent resident.

  2. Sponsored Person's Promise: The individual being sponsored promises that they will make every effort to support themselves and any dependent children. This includes seeking and maintaining employment where possible and not relying on social assistance.


It's important to note that a sponsorship agreement remains in effect even if the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored individual changes or ends. The undertaking is a legally binding promise, which means the sponsor is responsible for supporting the person they sponsored for the length of the undertaking period, even if the relationship ends in divorce or separation.


Finally, sponsors must also demonstrate that they meet minimum necessary income requirements to show they are financially able to support the individuals they are sponsoring. However, there is no low-income cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner, or dependent child sponsorships. This means there's no specific income requirement unless the sponsor is receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability or is in default of a previous sponsorship undertaking or immigration loan.

12 months cohabitation period before applying for spousal sponsorship Canada

In Canadian immigration law, a couple who have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year without any long periods of separation may be considered common-law partners. This common-law status can be leveraged to apply for spousal sponsorship under Canada's Family Sponsorship program.

To establish that a couple qualifies as common-law partners, the following points are generally considered:

  1. 1 year of cohabitation: The couple must have lived together for at least twelve consecutive months in a marital-type relationship. This must be a continuous twelve months, although brief absences for business or family reasons are typically acceptable.

  2. Evidence of cohabitation: The couple must be able to provide evidence that they have lived together for the stated period. This could include shared rental agreements or property deeds, shared utility bills (like electricity, gas, internet), shared address on official documents (like driver's licenses, insurance policies), etc.

  3. Marital status: The couple must not be legally married to each other, although they may be married to someone else. If either partner was previously married, they need to show that they are divorced or widowed before they can be recognized as a common-law partner.

  4. Genuine relationship: Just as with all spousal sponsorship applications, the couple needs to prove that their relationship is genuine and not primarily for the purpose of gaining immigration benefits.

 

Please note that the twelve-month period of cohabitation does not necessarily need to take place in Canada. Cohabitation outside of Canada can count towards the twelve months, as long as it can be adequately demonstrated.

 

It is important to also note that this is the general rule and exceptions may apply.

Is 1 year of cohabitation mandatory for Spousal Sponsorship Applications?

 

The requirement for 12 months of cohabitation is specifically for common-law partnerships, not for all spousal sponsorships. Canadian immigration recognizes three types of relationships for the purpose of spousal sponsorship:

  1. Married Spouses: For individuals who are legally married, the 12-month cohabitation requirement does not apply. You would need to provide a marriage certificate recognized by both the country where it was obtained and Canada.

  2. Common-law Partners: This is where the 12-month cohabitation requirement comes into play. A common-law partner is someone who has lived together with their partner in a conjugal relationship for at least one continuous year, without any long periods of separation.

  3. Conjugal Partners: These are individuals who have been in a relationship for at least one year, but couldn't live together or get married due to significant legal or immigration reasons. Cohabitation is not mandatory for conjugal partners, but this is a harder route and is typically used as a last resort, as the burden of proof is high.

 

Therefore, 12 months of cohabitation is not mandatory for all spousal sponsorship applications, only for those applying as common-law partners. If you're married to your partner or are applying as conjugal partners, the 12-month cohabitation rule does not apply.

I have a child with my partner. Can i skip the 12 months of living together requirement for spousal sponsorship?

 

Having a child with your partner does not exempt you from the requirement to live together for 12 months in order to be considered common-law partners for the purposes of spousal sponsorship in Canada. The rule for common-law partners, as defined by Canadian immigration law, is very clear: a couple must cohabit for at least 12 continuous months in a conjugal relationship.

However, having a child together will certainly serve as strong evidence of a genuine relationship, which is a critical aspect of any spousal sponsorship application.

 

If you are not legally married and have not lived together for 12 months, but have a child together and are in a committed relationship, you might want to consider the following options:

  1. Marriage: You can get married and apply as a spouse. In this case, the 12-month cohabitation requirement would not apply.

  2. Wait until you meet the requirement: You could continue living together until you meet the 12-month cohabitation requirement to apply as common-law partners.

  3. Conjugal Partner Sponsorship: If for exceptional circumstances you cannot live together or get married (significant legal or immigration reasons), you might consider applying as conjugal partners. However, this is generally a difficult route and is used as a last resort, given the high burden of proof required to demonstrate that you cannot live together or get married.

Leaving Canada while Spousal Sponsorship Application is Being Processed

The ability of the sponsored spouse or partner to leave and re-enter Canada while their spousal sponsorship application is being processed depends on the type of application they have submitted: Inland or Outland.

Inland Sponsorship: If the sponsored spouse or partner has applied through the Inland Spousal Sponsorship program (Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class), they are expected to remain in Canada while the application is in process, but you can leave for short durations of time and return to Canada. If they leave Canada, there is no guarantee they will be allowed to re-enter. If they are not allowed to re-enter, the application could be considered abandoned. However, they may apply for an Open Work Permit to maintain legal status in Canada during the processing period.

Outland Sponsorship: If the application is made under the Outland Spousal Sponsorship program (Family Class), the sponsored spouse or partner is typically free to travel in and out of Canada, as the application does not require them to remain in Canada during the processing period. However, they must comply with the normal visitor visa rules and may need to satisfy immigration officials each time they seek entry to Canada that they will leave the country at the end of their permitted stay.

In both cases, it's important to consider the risk of travel disruptions due to unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in travel restrictions, health emergencies, or visa issues. Traveling while an application is in process should be done with a clear understanding of the potential risks and complications.

Divorce and Spousal Sponsorship
 

Divorce can impact the spousal sponsorship process in Canada in several ways. It's important to understand how these situations are handled in the context of Canadian immigration law:
 

  1. If the sponsor is divorced: If you're a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who's been divorced and you want to sponsor a new spouse or common-law partner, you can do so as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. This includes being at least 18 years old, living in Canada (if you're a permanent resident), and being able to prove that you can provide basic needs for yourself, your spouse or partner, and any dependent children.

    It's important to note that if you received social assistance for a reason other than a disability, you might not be eligible to sponsor a spouse or partner. In addition, if you were sponsored by a spouse or partner in the past, you must wait until five years have passed from when you became a permanent resident to sponsor a new spouse or partner.

  2. If the person being sponsored is divorced: If the person you want to sponsor is divorced, they are eligible to be sponsored as long as their divorce is legally recognized in Canada. It's also crucial that they are not still in a marriage or common-law relationship with someone else.

  3. If the sponsor and sponsored person get divorced: If the person you sponsored gets a divorce from you after becoming a permanent resident, they maintain their status as a permanent resident. As a sponsor, you are financially responsible for the person you sponsored for three years after they become a permanent resident, even if you separate or divorce during that period.

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