Sponsoring a Spouse to Canada How long does it take?
There is nothing worse than starting your life with your spouse or partner with the uncertainty of not knowing when you will be able to live together permanently. Many people think that the act of marriage alone entitles couples to live together in Canada, but this is not the case. You must apply to sponsor your spouse either through Inside Canada Sponsorship, or Outside Canada Sponsorship.
Outside Canada Spousal Sponsorship
This applied to couples where the sponsor is a Permanent Resident of Canada or a Canadian Citizen, who would like to sponsor a spouse located in another country.
The benefit of ‘outland sponsorship’ is that processing times are much faster than ‘Inland Sponsorship’, as Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada has prioritized family reunification. Sponsoring a spouse outside Canada is quoted by Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada to take between 12-17 months (many people believe it is between 8-12 months with a well prepared application, but this time is not guaranteed), which is much faster than the processing times for ‘Inland Sponsorship’.
The downside of sponsoring a spouse from outside Canada is the distance. It can be difficult to live apart from your Spouse during the duration of your application processing. It is also unlikely that your spouse will be approved for a Visitor Visa during the processing of your spousal application, as the Officer processing the temporary application may not believe that your spouse will return home at the expiry of their permit, as they have already declared their intention to reside in Canada permanently by apply for Permanent Residence.
Inside Canada Spousal Sponsorship
This refers to couples where the sponsor is a Permanent Resident of Canada or a Canadian Citizen, who would like to sponsor their spouse who is currently in Canada with temporary status (such as a closed or open work permit, study permit, visitor visa, etc.).
The benefit of ‘Inland Sponsorship’ is that you are able to reside with you spouse during the processing of your spouse’s PR application, therefore there is no delay in waiting to establish your life together in Canada. Another benefit is that since December 22, 2014, spouses being sponsored through ‘Inland Sponsorship’ are eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit, which will allow them to work legally in Canada while waiting for the decision on their Spousal Sponsorship application to be made.
The downside of ‘Inland Sponsorship’ is the processing time. Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada currently quotes the processing time for Inside Canada Spousal Sponsorship at 26 months for 80% of cases processed (many people believe 15 months is more typical with a well prepared application, but is not guaranteed). This means years of waiting for your spouse’s Permanent Residence (if approved), which can be stressful. The reason for the lengthy processing times is that because you are already able to live with your spouse, and therefore the sense of urgency in order to reunite you with your spouse does not apply, as it does with ‘Outland Sponsorship’.
Who is considered a Spouse?
The definition of who you can sponsor as a spouse is a much broader definition of what you might think! Canada is a progressive country who values families beyond the traditional. The following definitions help to explain who can and cannot be sponsored under Spousal Sponsorship:
This refers to either your husband or wife. Note that this term applies to both heterosexual couples, as well as same sex couples. You will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate from Canada, or from whatever country your marriage took place in. It is important to note that the marriage must be legally recognized both by the country where the ceremony took place, as well as Canada. In addition to the proof of legal marriage, you will still have to prove that your marriage is genuine.
This refers to your partner if you have resided together in a conjugal relationship for 12 continuous months (short absences for things like business travel are acceptable). Again, this applies for both opposite sex, and same sex couples. You must also be able to prove that you have an established household together, for which you share the responsibilities; such as providing proof of shared property ownership, or rental agreements, combined bills, shared bank accounts, etc.
This refers to a couple (either of opposite sex or same sex) who are in a permanent and physical relationship with a commitment equaling that of marriage or a common law relationship, who due to situations beyond their control, have not been able to live together.
If you have been in a conjugal relationship with your partner for a minimum of 1 year, but could not marry of live together because of any of the following reasons, you may be eligible to sponsor your partner:
- Immigration barrier
- Marital status- your partner is married to someone else, and resides in a country where divorce is not permitted and/or possible
- Sexual orientation- your partner lives in a country where same-sex relationships or same-sex marriages are not permitted
- You can prove there was a circumstance preventing you from residing together, such as being refused long-term stays in each other’s country.
Please remember that the key to Conjugal Partner Sponsorship is being able to prove that you could not live together. If you had the opportunity to live together or enter into a permanent relationship such as a common-law or marriage and decided not to; Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada could deny your application due to lack of commitment.
This refers to 2 individuals who have decided to get married, but have not yet completed the marriage ceremony. At this time, Canada does not allow you to sponsor your Fiancé, unless your relationship already qualifies as common-law, or a conjugal relationship. If it does not qualify under those categories, then you must wait until after the marriage takes place, and then sponsor your partner as a spouse. Again, this applies to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
How can I ensure my Spousal Sponsorship case is processed as quickly as possible?
The best way to ensure you application will be processed as quickly as possible, is to have a well prepared application, with all of the documentation necessary in order for the processing Officer to easily determine the genuine nature of your relationship. This is where Akrami & Associates can help! Having Immigration professionals complete your application, and provide experienced guidance regarding your documents and proof can make a huge difference in the processing time of your application, as well as your chances of receiving an approval. Missing or incorrect information could not only lead to delays, but it could also lead to refusals, or misrepresentation. When it comes to sponsoring the person you want to spend your life with, it is best to work with an experience firm like Akrami & Associates, who will give you the best chances of success possible.
With Akrami and Associates there is always a way!!