Eligibility Requirements For Spousal Sponsorship In Canada
In order to apply for sponsorship, you must meet a number of eligibility requirements, including being either married, in a common law relationship, or in a conjugal relationship. Both the sponsor and applicant must also be over the age of 18, and the sponsor must be either a Canadian citizen, or permanent resident of Canada residing in Canada.
Furthermore, the sponsor must show that they can provide for the applicant’s basic needs in Canada and sign an undertaking which makes them responsible for three years from when the applicant lands as a permanent resident in Canada. The applicant should not be inadmissible to Canada, weather it’s for criminality or medical reasons. Your relationship must also be genuine and not entered into for immigration purposes.
If you do not meet the requirements of the program, you may still have options. To understand what options are available to you, it is advisable for you to consult an immigration lawyer at Gerami Law PC regarding your options.
With that being said, we will explain the spousal sponsorship process in further detail so you are prepared prior to your meeting with an immigration lawyer.
Eligibility For Open Work Permit
If you are applying from within Canada, you may be able to apply for a work permit along with your spousal sponsorship application. This would allow you to work in Canada while you await a decision on your permanent residence application. If granted, the work permit would give you temporary status in Canada as well. You generally must meet certain eligibility requirements, including living in Canada with your sponsor, and having valid status in Canada at the time the application is submitted.
Preparing An Application
When preparing your spousal sponsorship application, you will need the following:
There are a number of forms required for a spousal sponsorship application. Ensure that you have filled these in accurately. If you have retained a lawyer at Gerami Law PC, our lawyer will review the forms to ensure that they are filled in properly.
You must include all required documents or your application may be sent back. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a document checklist outlining which documents are required, including identity documents, financial documents, proof of cohabitation (if applicable), and proof of your relationship. The documents required vary based on your specific circumstances.
Even if not required in your case, you may wish to include additional proof of the genuineness of your relationship such as letters of support from friends and family, photos of you together, and text messages to one another. As with any application to IRCC, any document not in English or French must be accompanied by an official translation.
Please note that certain documents may take longer to obtain, such as police certificates from foreign governments, Notices of Assessment from CRA, official translations of documents, and your marriage certificate. You may wish to apply for these early on so that your application is not delayed while you wait for these documents.
You may also wish to include a written statement or statutory declaration (or affidavit) explaining the development of your relationship, including details about how you met, your engagement, and your wedding (if applicable). The statutory declaration can also address your plans for the future, as well as how the sponsor intends on supporting the applicant during the length of the undertaking. A statutory declaration can provide additional context and background to the information contained in your forms and documents.
If you are represented by one of our lawyers at Gerami Law PC, your lawyer will prepare legal submissions outlining how your application meets the requirements of the program and addressing any issues they may foresee.
Upon reviewing your application, you may be called in for an interview by an IRCC immigration officer where you will be asked questions about your relationship. The purpose of such an interview is to establish the genuineness of your relationship and whether or not it was entered into for immigration purposes. If you are called in for such an interview, your lawyer will want to meet with you beforehand to prepare.
If your sponsorship application has been refused, you may have the option to appeal the decision to the Immigration Appeal Division or to the Federal Court. Your options depend on the type of application (in-Canada versus Family Class).
You may also wish to submit a new application for sponsorship. It is also advisable to consult a lawyer who can provide advice on your options along with the strength of a potential appeal.
When Should I See A Lawyer?
An initial consultation is a great opportunity to learn more about the sponsorship process along with your options. It is never too early to consult a lawyer about spousal sponsorship, and at Gerami Law PC, we often consult with individuals who are not yet married or in a common law relationship with their significant other, but are looking to plan ahead.
Consulting with a Canada immigration lawyer is a great way to learn if there are any eligibility or inadmissibility concerns, or any other issues that may need to be addressed in the application. The lawyer can also answer related questions, if applicable, such as maintaining your status in Canada while waiting for a decision on your application.
If you choose to retain a lawyer to represent you on your application, your lawyer will guide you through the application process and will be responsible for preparing and submitting the application in collaboration with you.
Your lawyer will also:
- Review your application forms to ensure that they are complete and accurate
- Advise on the documents to include with your application and review your documents
- Draft a statutory declaration on your behalf describing the background and development of your relationship
- Prepare legal submissions outlining how your application meets the requirements of the program
- Compile and submit your application to IRCC
- Correspond with IRCC thereafter
Although some IRCC offices have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19, IRCC continues to accept applications for permanent residence. Therefore, those looking to apply for spousal sponsorship are able to do so by submitting the application by mail to the relevant IRCC office.
IRCC currently has policies in place to provide applicants with accommodations during the coronavirus pandemic. One such policy states that if there are any required documents which you are unable to obtain due to coronavirus-related closures, applications can be submitted without those documents as long as a letter of explanation is included. The required documents must still be submitted later on once the applicant is able to obtain them.
Due to closures relating to COVID-19, applicants may face delays in applying for police certificates from foreign governments, obtaining passport-sized photos, or obtaining other required documents. The above policy allows applicants to submit their applications in a timely manner despite these delays.