Knowing the Spousal Sponsorship
Canadian spousal sponsorship often requires applicants to undergo highly complex legal process, regardless of whether the application is submitted domestically or abroad. The spouse seeking to obtain permanent residence in Canada must be sponsored by an eligible Canadian citizen or permanent resident, who must also submit a sponsorship application in support of the foreign spouse. Simply meeting the status requirement does not mean your application will be approved; there are many other requirements both the sponsor and the principal applicant needs to meet. In this blog, you will learn about information about Canadian spousal sponsorship.
Canadian Spousal Sponsorship Terminology
When you are completing the application forms for your spousal sponsorship application, two terms, which are “principal applicant” and “sponsor”, will be present ubiquitously on the forms.
The term “principal applicant” refers to someone seeking to obtain permanent residence to Canada as the spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner of an eligible Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The term “sponsor” refers to the eligible Canadian citizen or permanent resident seeking to apply for permanent residence for his or her partner.
Overseas vs. Inland Spousal Sponsorship
If the principal applicant is not legally living in Canada by the time of application submission, overseas spousal sponsorship is the only option. The major benefit of the overseas spousal sponsorship category is the faster processing time. Overseas sponsorships also have appeal rights, but inland sponsorships do not. Unfortunately, couples do not get to live together during the time their application is being processed, which is a major disadvantage of this type of sponsorship.
If both the sponsor and the principal applicant are legally residing in Canada, the couple may be eligible for the inland spousal sponsorship. The biggest advantage to inland spousal sponsorship is that the principal applicant may be able to apply for an Open Work Permit, allowing him or her to work for any eligible Canadian employer while awaiting approval for Permanent Residency. The disadvantage is that this type of application usually takes longer to process. Unlike the overseas spousal sponsorship, there is no right to appeal an inland sponsorship application. If you would like to have your application reconsidered, you will have to re-apply.
How Can be an Eligible Sponsor
In order to be an eligible sponsor, you need to be a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act, or a permanent resident living in Canada who is at least 18 years old. Please note, if you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must demonstrate your intent to live in Canada when your spouse becomes permanent resident. If you are a Canadian permanent resident living outside Canada, you cannot sponsor your spouse.
Simply being a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a registered Indian under the Canadian Act does not automatically make you an eligible sponsor. You cannot be a person who:
- has failed to pay an immigration loan, a performance bond, family support payments
- has failed to provide for the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative who received social assistance
- is under a removal order
- is in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison
- receives social assistance for a reason other than a disability
- is still going through the process of bankruptcy
- was sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than five years ago
- sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident
- has already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application hasn’t been made yet
- was convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative—or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences
How can I be an Eligible Principal Applicant
Simply having a spouse who is a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a registered Indian does not automatically make you an eligible principal applicant. You cannot be a person who:
- possess risk to Canadian citizens and permanent residents
- misrepresent information on application
- do not have a genuine relationship/marriage with your spouse
Showing Your Relationship is Genuine
A major component of spousal sponsorship is to prove your relationship/marriage is genuine. If your relationship/marriage to the sponsor is solely for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege in Canada, you will be disqualified as a principal applicant. The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada may request evidence that shows the genuineness of your relationship/marriage.
Useful documents attesting to a genuine relationship may include:
- Evidence of joint bank account or other financial accounts
- Evidence of joint residential lease
- Real estate mortgage or purchase agreement
- Affidavits from people with personal knowledge that your relationship is genuine
- Gift cards
- Photos of you two being together
- Messages (on Facebook, Instagram, Email, WhatsApp, etc.)
- Any other evidence that can prove the authenticity of your relationship
Can I Sponsor my Fiance
The answer is no. If you are just engaged to your partner, you are not eligible to apply for spousal sponsorship. You may need to wait until you are officially married in order to be eligible for Canadian spousal sponsorship. Alternatively, many couples in such relationships may qualify for common-law partner sponsorship or conjugal sponsorship.
Contact Akrami and Associates
We understand that applying for spousal sponsorship can be very confusing, and overall, a very stressful process. It is essential that you have met all of the aforementioned requirements before you attempt to apply for a spousal sponsorship, to avoid any unnecessary delays. Most of all, it is important that you do not misrepresent information on your application. If you are accused of misrepresentation, you can ultimately be ineligible to sponsor any individual in the future. On the other hand, your partner, who is the principal applicant, can even be inadmissible to Canada. In order to make sure you are on the right track, we invite you to discuss any immigration matter with immigration professionals. Akrami & Associates work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients obtain permanent residency in Canada through the spousal sponsorship. Please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at 416-477-2545 for more information, or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.
With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!!