What is spousal sponsorship in Canada?

Recently, I interviewed Carl Wurfel of Preferred Immigration about Spousal Sponsorship in Edmonton.  He has completed the process many times and gave me some valuable insight. 

Family Sponsorship aims at reuniting families. Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents can sponsor their spouse/common-law partner/conjugal partner and dependent children who are either inside Canada as a temporary resident or living in a different country, to become permanent residents of Canada. 

The government of Canada outlines this process here.  The process seems simple when viewing it on the government website.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.

What criteria are necessary to qualify?

  • You can sponsor your spouse if your marriage is a legally valid, civil marriage. The marriage must be legally recognized in the country it took place and in Canada. You can sponsor your common-law partner if you have been living/have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage like relationship. In this case, proof should be provided for this period of co-habitation. You can sponsor your conjugal-partner if you have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year and could not live together because of reasons beyond your control.
  • The sponsor and principal applicant must meet the eligibility requirements laid out by the Government of Canada. When you agree to sponsor someone, you sign a promise of undertaking.  This is a binding agreement promising to give them financial support for their basic needs for a period of time dependent upon your relation to the applicant.  The government’s goal is to make sure that the applicant will not need social assistance. 
  • The sponsor needs to be over 18 years of age.  They also need to be a Canadian Citizen, a person with PR (Permanent Resident) status or recognized as an Indian Canadian under the Indian Act. 
  • If you currently reside in another country and look to be accepted into the spousal sponsorship program, you must be able to prove that you plan to live in Canada.
  • Income requirements are not typically required to be accepted, except in the cases of dependent children.  This will trigger the financial evaluation application.

How to apply for spousal sponsorship?

We do not recommend applying on your own, without guidance.   If you are looking to do it yourself, there is an application process on the government website.  Be aware, any errors or mistakes could significantly delay this process as well as cost money in application fees. 

What to expect after application?

  • The application will be reviewed by the Government
  • If the application is complete and fees are payed, you will receive an application number and acknowledgement of receipt
  • Your eligibility and the person you are sponsoring will be assessed
  • You will either be approved or refused as a sponsor.
  • If you are accepted, instructions will be sent for you, the sponsor, as well as the person you are sponsoring. 
  • Additional documents must be provided at this time to be successful.

How long does it take?

The spousal sponsorship process can take up to12 months. Many factors can disrupt the successful processing and/or cause an extensive delay in the completion of the application process.  It is a complicated process that can be difficult.

What are the most common problems that a person may encounter?

  • Not meeting one of the requirements
  • Paying incorrect fee
  • Providing incorrect information and/or documents
  • Missing documents/information
  • Missing correspondences
  • Missing deadlines
  • Not knowing when and how to update information in your application once it has been submitted.

All of these factors may undoubtedly lead to a potential delay or apparent refusal of your application.

What to expect upon arrival of your sponsored applicant?

  • You must show confirmation of permanent residence at the border
  • Valid passport must be displayed at the border
  • The person entering Canada must declare any valuables they are bringing into the country

Why Chose an Immigration Consultant?

To ensure the application is processed smoothly and within the processing time, it is imperative to strategically make the application and avoid any procedural errors.

One must provide sufficient proof of their relationship to obtain a favourable result. Not being able to satisfy the officer of your relationship can end in a negative decision. A negative decision has serious complications including emotionally affecting the sponsor and principal applicant and may hamper the chances of approval of the future applications.   You can have your sponsorship significantly delayed by a rejected application.  With something as important as Spousal or Family Sponsorship don’t take any chances.  Call an expert!