Answering Your Questions About Spousal Sponsorship Applications
Families are an integral unit of our society.
In fact, the Canadian government so strongly recognizes the need to keep families together that it has a dedicated family sponsorship program within its limited immigration streams. The family sponsorship program can be used to sponsor various categories of relatives, however, by far, the program is used primarily to sponsor a spouse (or a partner).
By sponsoring a spouse, you are essentially getting them Canadian permanent residency (similar to the American “green card”). You can sponsor a spouse “inland” (if they are already in Canada, on a student visa for example) or “outland” (if they are still in their home country). There are some pros and cons with each option, however, the evidence required is more or less the same.
Before your spouse can be granted Canadian permanent residency, a visa officer will be tasked with determining the genuineness of your marriage. The visa officer must also be satisfied that the marriage was not entered into primarily for immigration purposes. Such a process can be very intrusive as the visa officer will require very personal details to confirm the genuineness of a marriage. A visa officer might also want to conduct an interview with both spouses before they are in a position to make a decision about the application.
Our law office is here to help you if you’re applying for a spousal sponsorship application.
Let’s cover some of the basics of spousal sponsorships that you may be curious about.
What is the Process Like?
A spousal sponsorship application is essentially a two-step process:
- You must apply to become a sponsor;
- Your spouse (the “principal applicant”) must apply to become a permanent resident.
It is important to note that both applications are submitted at the same time.
What are the Requirements to Become a Sponsor?
Here’s the minimum needed to qualify as a sponsor:
- You’re a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada or registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act.
- You’re 18 years of age.
- You currently live in Canada or are able to show proof that you plan to live in Canada once the person you intend to sponsor becomes a permanent resident
- You can prove that you’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability.
- You’re capable of providing for the basic needs of the person you’d like to sponsor.
There could be obstacles to becoming a sponsor if you have failed to pay an immigration loan, performance bond or support payments in the past.
Additionally, past convictions for violence against a current or former family member can also inhibit your ability to become a sponsor.
A history of failing to provide for a current or former family member under a different sponsorship arrangement can also make it difficult to be approved. These are just a few examples of situations that might make you ineligible to become a sponsor. If you have concerns regarding your ability to sponsor a foreign spouse, it’s important to contact an Edmonton immigration lawyer right away. Our office can go through a comprehensive checklist to make sure you are eligible for sponsorship before you file your application.
The Steps to Completing a Spousal Sponsorship Application
Once you have determined that you and your spouse meet the prerequisites, the application can be prepared and submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”). Because of the delicate nature of the process and because of the dire consequences of an incorrect submission, many people will retain a lawyer to assist with the process.
The application package will consist of:
- Application forms;
- Supporting evidence; and,
- Processing fees.
The most critical component of the process is providing strong supporting evidence. As mentioned earlier, the objective of the application is to convince the visa officer that your marriage is genuine and not entered into primarily for immigration purposes. It is unfortunate, however, there are some cases where individuals have abused the spousal sponsorship process to immigrate to Canada illegally (essentially a fraudulent marriage). As a result, visa officers are trained to scrutinize each application very closely (and for very good reasons). Therefore, if you do not provide strong enough supporting evidence, your application may be rejected. Also, there are many cases where you may have good enough evidence, however, due to cultural differences, your evidence may not be fully appreciated by a visa officer. In those cases, it is absolutely critical that you have a lawyer who can best represent your evidence so that a visa officer can appreciate its value.
If you have any questions about the steps you should be taking today, get in touch with us today.
Can My Spouse or Partner Work in Canada While the Spousal Sponsorship Application is Being Processed?
If your application is “inland”, your spouse may be eligible for an open work permit. If they are eligible, usually the work permit is submitted together with the spousal sponsorship application. The open work permit allows them to work for any employer (with a few exceptions) while the spousal sponsorship application is being processed.
If your application is “outland”, your spouse can apply for a “regular” work permit, however, additional requirements (such as a job offer) may have to be met before they are issued a work permit.
What Happens If a Spousal Sponsorship Application for My Spouse or Partner Is Rejected?
The story isn’t necessarily over just because an application has been denied.
You have the option to file an appeal through the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) if you believe the visa officer was wrong in their decision If you wish to go that route, you will have a very limited timeframe to file an appeal.
Spousal sponsorship appeals lawyers are essential for helping you to know and exercise your options at this point. It’s also important to understand the potential repercussions of losing an appeal. You may lose your ability to sponsor your foreign national spouse entirely if an appeal is not handled impeccably. Alternatively, you can file a fresh application with new evidence. When reapplying, it’s critical that you understand and correct any errors or discrepancies found within your original application.
Yes, even small details like having an incorrect family name on a travel document could hold up an application.
Make sure you have dedicated spousal sponsorship appeals lawyers helping you. Get in touch with us today to get started.
Work with an Edmonton Immigration Lawyer to Get Your Spousal Sponsorship Application Processed
It often feels like there are many hurdles to overcome just to be able to live as a family with your spouse or partner.
At our law office, we understand your eagerness to get your application approved as quickly as possible.
We’ll work with you to ensure that you’re complying with all requirements from the start. This includes everything from showing you which documents are needed to helping you best represent your evidence to IRCC.
Don’t hesitate to use our Contact Us page or call (780) 760-7234 if you have any questions about spousal sponsorship applications.
The Canadian government strongly recognizes the need to keep families together that it has a dedicated family sponsorship program within its limited immigration streams. The family sponsorship program can be used to sponsor various categories of relatives, however, by far, the program is used primarily to sponsor a spouse (or a partner). Contact Safi Law Group, an Edmonton Immigration Law Firm, today to schedule an initial consultation.