If you and your spouse are currently apart because your spouse lives in another country, it is completely understandable why you would want to be reunited with them. There are many Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada who have spouses that are foreign nationals. Specifically, there are a lot of spouses that reside in the United States. In order to sponsor them for permanent residency in Canada, the process is called an Overseas Spousal Sponsorship. Therefore, in this article, I will address who is eligible to sponsor their spouse to Canada, what an Overseas Spousal Sponsorship entails, and much more.
Who is Eligible to Sponsor their Spouse to Canada
The most important factor to determine before applying for an Overseas Spousal Sponsorship is whether or not you are eligible to sponsor your spouse in the first place. It is important to abide by these eligibility requirements in order to proceed with the application process. Below is a detailed list with the eligibility requirements in order to determine whether or not you can sponsor your spouse.
You may be eligible to sponsor your spouse if you are:
- A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Registered Indian in Canada;
- At least 18 years of age;
- Currently living within Canada;
- Able to prove that you have sufficient funds to provide basic necessities for your spouse and their dependent children while in Canada.
It is important to note that if you are a Canadian citizen that currently resides outside of Canada, then you must indicate an intention to live in Canada when and if your sponsored spouse becomes a permanent resident of Canada. Additionally, if you are currently a permanent resident of Canada that is living outside of Canada, you will not be eligible to sponsor your spouse. In order to sponsor your spouse as a permanent resident of Canada, you must reside within Canada before and during the application process.
Who is Ineligible to Sponsor their Spouse to Canada
As aforementioned, determining your eligibility to sponsor your spouse is the most important aspect of your overseas spousal sponsorship application. Keep in mind, there are several different factors that may make you ineligible to sponsor your spouse to Canada. These factors can in fact restrict you from being a sponsor.
You may be ineligible to sponsor your spouse if you:
- Were sponsored by a spouse or partner within the last five years;
- Sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not elapsed since this person became a permanent resident;
- Are in default of a previous sponsorship undertaking;
- Are in the process of bankruptcy;
- Receive social assistance (except for disability);
- Were convicted of an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative, a violent or sexual offence or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences;
- Are in prison;
- Are under a removal order;
- Have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and have not yet received a decision on that application
What does an Overseas Spousal Sponsorship Entail
As previously mentioned, the overseas spousal sponsorship is meant for sponsored spouses who live outside of Canada. However, it is important to note that sponsored spouses who are currently inside Canada can also file for an overseas spousal sponsorship application. The reasoning behind this is if the sponsored spouse needs to travel in and out of Canada, this would be the best route in order to be sponsored as a spouse and have the ability to travel. However, it is important to recognize that it is ultimately up to the Immigration officer on whether or not to allow the sponsored spouse to re-enter Canada on every occasion that they travel. This applies for any travels during the application process of the overseas spousal sponsorship.
Specifically for overseas spousal sponsorships, these applications are solely processed through the visa office that serves the sponsored spouse’s country of origin or where they have resided for the past year. The processing times for overseas spousal sponsorship applications differs based on the country of the sponsored spouse. It is highly suggested to research the processing time for your specific country prior to applying. This will allow the couple to make a better decision on which sponsorship route they would like to take. For instance, they can determine whether they would like to apply for an overseas spousal sponsorship or an inland spousal sponsorship.
One disadvantage of the overseas spousal sponsorship is that until the application is approved and the sponsored spouse becomes a permanent resident of Canada, the sponsored spouse may not be able to live with the sponsor. However, a solution to this problem is for the sponsored spouse to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa to come to Canada while their application is being processed. The Temporary Resident Visa is not guaranteed to be approved as the discretion is up to the Immigration officer; however, it is possible to apply.
The Canadian government strongly believes in family reunification and highly prioritizes family class sponsorships, especially spousal sponsorships. As a result, the family class sponsorship and, more importantly, the spousal sponsorship applications are the second largest category within Canadian immigration. Additionally, the processing times for spousal sponsorships have become the same for inland and overseas spousal sponsorships. In December of 2016, the Canadian government had stated that the processing times have been changed and updated to 12 months, which is one year.
Contact Akrami & Associates
It is essential that you have met all of the aforementioned requirements before you attempt to apply for an Overseas Spousal Sponsorship. Spousal Sponsorship applications are difficult applications to pursue on your own and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients reunite with their spouses that live abroad and they are now extremely happy living in Canada. If you believe that you may be eligible to sponsor your spouse for an overseas spousal sponsorship, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office 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 & Associates, there is always a way!