Spousal Sponsorship in Canada. Two Paths, Main Points to Know

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If you are head over heels for a loved one living outside of Canada, you are in the right place. There are two avenues set by IRCC for Canadians or permanent residents to sponsor a spouse or a partner to Canada. Understanding each category’s differences, requirements, and processes is essential for a successful sponsorship application. 

In this article, we’ll explore these two paths, helping you choose the best way to sponsor your spouse to Canada based on your unique situation.

The two avenues of spousal sponsorship in Canada to explore and choose from are:

These two paths differ slightly in their processing methods, but both ultimately lead to the same outcome: Canadian permanent residency for the sponsored spouse.

Let’s delve into the details of the Overseas spousal sponsorship:

Overseas (outland) spousal sponsorship, also known as outside-of-Canada sponsorship, involves sponsoring your spouse or partner while he or she continues to reside outside of Canada.

This option is perfect if your spouse or partner wants to stay outside of Canada while the sponsorship process is ongoing.

Overseas spousal sponsorship process stages:

  1. A Canadian sponsor submits a package with their sponsorship application and their spouse/partner’s permanent residence application to the IRCC Processing Centre in Canada.
  1. After the Canadian sponsor’s spousal sponsorship application is approved, IRCC sends a letter of approval to the sponsor. This letter confirms that the sponsor is eligible to sponsor their spouse/partner. IRCC also notifies the sponsor that their spouse/partner’s application for permanent residence is transferred to the Canadian Visa Mission in the spouse/partner’s country of nationality or legal residence.
  1. Canadian Visa Mission receives the spouse/partner’s application for permanent residence and puts it into processing. 

The Officer at the Canadian Visa Mission may reach out to either the sponsor or the sponsored spouse/partner for additional information. They may conduct interviews, either by phone or in person, to verify the genuineness of the relationship. Additionally, the Officer may contact the sponsor directly to ask questions and confirm the authenticity of the relationship before making a decision on the application.

  1. Once a decision is made, IRCC will contact the spouse/partner to inform them of the approval. They will also request the applicant’s passport to be submitted to the Canadian Visa Mission.
  1. Confirmation of Permanent Residence issued.
  1. Once your spouse/partner arrives in Canada, they’ll need to visit CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) at the port of entry. This is where they’ll complete the formalities to obtain Canadian permanent resident status.
  1. Your spouse or partner is a Canadian permanent resident now.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship

Inland Spousal Sponsorship refers to the process of sponsoring a spouse/partner who is already in Canada. This category is best when a sponsored spouse/partner wishes to remain In Canada and complete his/her immigration process while in Canada.

One big difference between an overseas spousal sponsorship process and an in-land process is that with the in-land application, the spouse/partner has the right to apply for a Canadian work permit.

Inland spousal sponsorship process stages:

  1. The Sponsor begins the process by submitting both the sponsorship application and the spouse/partner’s application for permanent residence on the IRCC portal.
  2. IRCC will send you an email to confirm they’ve received your application.
  3. At this stage, the Sponsored Spouse/partner has an opportunity to apply for a work permit. Once issued by IRCC,  the sponsored spouse/partner will have an Open Work Permit, allowing him/her to be employed by any employer, with limited restrictions. 
  4. Once the Canadian Sponsor’s spousal sponsorship application is found eligible, the Canadian Processing Centre (CPC) issues a letter of approval to the sponsor. 
  5. The Sponsored Spouse/partner application is now in process. The Officer of the Canadian Processing Centre might reach out to both the Sponsor and the spouse/partner for more details. They may conduct interviews by phone or in person at the local IRCC office to confirm the authenticity of the relationship before making a decision on the spousal sponsorship application.
  6. IRCC issues a decision on the Spouse/partner’s Application for permanent residence.
  7. The Application is transferred to the so-called “Landing department” where the Officer will ensure that all clearances of the Applicant, including criminal, medical, and background) are in place. Once clearances are verified, the Spouse/partner is streamlined to the IRCC Landing portal to complete the landing in Canada process.
  8.   IRCC mails the Canadian permanent resident card to the spouse/partner.


Please Choose the path that will work best in your circumstances.

Ensure that both the spousal sponsorship application and the permanent residence application by the sponsoring spouse/partner are thorough, including all required documentation according to the IRCC checklist, along with translations if necessary.

At Jane Katkova & Associates, we provide assistance for both inland and outland immigration. If you have any questions, we have the answers.

Jane Katkova Immigration Expert

Jane Katkova – Brown

Principal Counsel / Founder

Providing Immigration Services In Canada Since 1995

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