Inland Spousal Sponsorship Canada: Your Complete Guide

Sponsor your foreign spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency in Canada through the Inland Spousal Sponsorship Canada. This guide has you covered with essential information on eligibility, the application process, and benefits.

Many Canadians wish to sponsor their foreign spouses or common-law partners for permanent residence. They can do this using Spousal Sponsorship Canada. This program is divided into two distinct subcategories: Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Outland Spousal Sponsorship.

In this guide, we’ll focus on the Inland Spousal Sponsorship Canada, which offers a streamlined pathway to permanent residency for your partner while they’re already living with you in Canada.

What is Inland Spousal Sponsorship?

The Spousal Sponsorship program is a special program that allows Canadian permanent residents or citizens to sponsor their spouses or common-law partners for permanent residence. The “inland” Spousal Sponsorship route refers to the sponsorship program for spouses who are already living together in Canada, such as those who are here on temporary work or study visas.

How Does Inland Sponsorship Work?

The inland spousal sponsorship method is broken down into two primary stages:

  • The first stage is where the Canadian sponsor applies to be a sponsor and sponsor their spouse.
  • The second stage is where the spouse or common-law partner applies for permanent residence.

During the application process, the sponsor and their spouse must demonstrate their eligibility, pay the required application fees, gather their supporting documents, and complete and submit the required forms.

Inland Sponsorship Canada Who Can Apply

Inland Spousal Sponsorship General Requirements

The Canadian sponsor and their spouse must meet the following requirements to be eligible to apply for the Inland Spousal Sponsorship program.

Requirements for the Canadian Sponsor and Their Spouse

  • The sponsor and their spouse must be at least 18 years old at the time they apply.
  • The sponsor or their spouse must not have received permanent residence through the spousal sponsorship program within the last 5 years.
  • The sponsor or their spouse must not have been bankrupt, charged with a criminal offence, or served time in jail at any time in the past.
  • The sponsor and their spouse must both be residing in Canada.
  • Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) must approve both the sponsor and their spouse for eligibility.

Requirements for the Canadian Sponsor

  • The sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident or a Canadian citizen
  • The sponsor must be willing and capable of financially supporting their spouse in Canada for three 3 years following the application.
  • The sponsor must not be receiving social assistance. The only exceptions are disability and employment insurance.
  •  The sponsor must demonstrate that they won’t require social assistance from the Canadian government
  • The spouse must have valid temporary resident status in Canada

Requirements for the Spouse Being Sponsored

  • The spouse must hold valid Canadian temporary resident statuses such as a work permit, study permit, or visitor visa.
  • The spouse must pass all required security, medical, and background checks.

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Stages of Inland Spousal Sponsorship

The two stages of Inland Spousal Sponsorship are described as follows:

Stage 1: Sponsorship Application

The sponsor must ensure they meet the eligibility requirements to be a sponsor for Inland spousal sponsorship. This involves presenting many documents verifying that they are a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident, that they possess enough funds to support their spouse, that they do not have a criminal history, etc.

Once they have gathered all the appropriate documents, they can submit an application to become a sponsor. This stage typically takes 4 to 5 months.

Stage 2: Permanent Residence Application

If the sponsor’s sponsorship application is approved, their spouse can apply for permanent residence using the Inland Sponsorship route. This stage takes around 7 or 8 months.

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Inland Spousal Sponsorship Process

The Inland Spousal Sponsorship process’s steps are summarized below.

Step 1: Determine Spousal Sponsorship Eligibility and Obtain the Application Package

The Canadian sponsor and their spouse must review the eligibility requirements and confirm that they are eligible for this program. They must then obtain the appropriate application packages on the Canadian Government website.

Step 2: Fill Out Forms and Gather the Supporting Documents

The Canadian sponsor and their spouse must then fill out the appropriate forms and gather the relevant supporting documents. This process can take many weeks to complete, so it is best to start it early.

Step 3: Submit the Application

Once the application package is complete, the sponsor must pay the relevant application fees and submit the package to IRCC.

Step 4: Submit Any Additional Documents IRCC Requests

IRCC may then ask the sponsor or their spouse to submit additional documents while their application is being processed.

Step 5: Approval of Sponsorship

If your application is approved, you will receive a sponsorship approval letter. The sponsorship approval letter confirms that you are eligible to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency in Canada. It also indicates that you meet the financial eligibility requirements and that you have met the other necessary criteria to become a sponsor. The sponsorship approval letter is typically issued within 12 months of submitting the sponsorship application.

Step 6: Permanent Residency Application

After the sponsorship approval, your spouse or partner can apply for permanent residency. This involves submitting a separate application along with the required documents and fees.

Step 7: Processing of Permanent Residency Application

IRCC will review your partner’s application and may request additional documents or information.

Step 8: Complete Medical and Background Checks

IRCC asks the spouse to undergo medical and background checks and submit the results. They will then come to a decision after processing the application.

Step 9: Receive a Decision

Once the medical and security checks are complete, your partner will be asked to provide their passport to IRCC to finalize their permanent residency application. The sponsor and their spouse will then receive a decision on whether the permanent resident application has been approved.

Inland Sponsorship Application Processing Time

Application processing time for Inland Spousal Sponsorship in 2023 is approximately 13 months. This includes the time it takes for the Canadian to apply as a sponsor and for the spouse to apply for permanent residence.

Benefits of Inland Spousal Sponsorship

There are many benefits associated with using the Inland Spousal Sponsorship route. This includes:

1. Being Eligible for a Work Permit

Spouses can apply for an open work permit along with their permanent residence application. This allows them to work for any employer in Canada and financially support their Canadian partner while their application is being processed.

2. Being Eligible for Provincial Health Insurance

Spouses become eligible for provincial health insurance once they have held a work permit for a certain amount of time. This means they and their Canadian partner won’t need to worry about expensive hospital bills while their permanent residence application is processed.

3. Getting to Stay in Canada While the Application is Processing

The spouse is allowed to stay in Canada while their application is processed. This means they won’t need to worry about their temporary status expires.

4. Getting to Apply for PR Even if the Spouse’s Temporary Status Has Expired

Spousal sponsorship applicants residing in Canada are in a unique position because they can apply for permanent residence even if their temporary resident status has expired. This is in contrast to other permanent resident programs that prohibit applicants from applying if they have ever resided in Canada under an expired status.

FAQs: Inland Spousal Sponsorship

These are some of the frequently asked questions about Canada’s Inland Spousal Sponsorship:

1. Is the Inland Spousal Sponsorship route different for Quebec residents?

Quebec follows a distinct Inland Spousal Sponsorship route. To use this route, you will need to do the following:

  • Meet the Federal Government’s Inland Spousal sponsorship requirements and send IRCC your application.
  • Download the Quebec sponsorship kit after obtaining it through an IRCC letter or email
  • Submit the Quebec sponsorship kit along with the IRCC email or letter
  • If Quebec chooses you as a sponsor, they will send you a Québec Selection Certificate (CSQ)
  • IRCC will then send you their final decision on your sponsorship application.

2. Does my spouse need to complete and submit the open work permit application along with their Inland Spousal Sponsorship application if they already have a work permit?

They don’t need to apply for another work permit. However, they should try and maintain legal status in the country while their application is processed. For this reason, they should apply for another work permit if theirs is set to expire soon.

3. Am I allowed to work in Canada as soon as I submit my open work permit and Inland Spousal Sponsorship applications?

No. You will need to wait until you receive your Canadian open work permit before you are allowed to start working in the country.

4. What happens to Inland Spousal Sponsorship applicants without valid temporary status in Canada?

No, unfortunately, you are not allowed to work in Canada as soon as you submit your Open Work Permit (OWP) and Inland Spousal Sponsorship applications. You must wait until your OWP application is approved and you receive the work permit before you can start working in Canada.

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