Q & A: Family Class Applications

CIC News
Published: May 1, 2002

Q. I have a couple of questions I am hoping you can help me with. I am going to be marrying my boyfriend here in Canada. He is from the US. We have decided that he will be coming to live here, but I am a student, and I was wondering if I can sponsor him, although I have not had an income for the past 8 months. I have worked almost 10 years previously, but I had decided to make a better life for myself. Will it be a problem? If he wants to come while the papers are being processed, would he be able to get a job of some sort with a temporary SIN number? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Family Class Category applications can be submitted inland (within Canada) if the applicant is married to a Canadian Citizen or married to a Canadian Permanent Resident who is currently living in Canada. For such inland applications, the applicant may receive a preliminary acceptance, usually in about 4-6 months on average. This preliminary approval is called an "Approval in Principle". It is not the final approval, of course, but it will usually allow the applicant to begin working in Canada, if the applicant happens to be present in Canada at that time, as a visitor. The Approval in Principle is often issued within 4-6 months, on average. (The final approval will then arrive at a later date, taking a total of 14 months on average to obtain.)

If the applicant is not yet actually married to a Canadian Citizen or Canadian Permanent Resident currently residing in Canada, then the application is usually sent to a Canadian Embassy or Consulate outside of Canada, as an inland application will not be accepted in such a case.

For Family Class Sponsorship applications submitted outside of Canada, no Approval in Principle is issued. Instead, the applicant must usually wait for final approval, at the very end of the process, in order to start living/working in Canada. The average world-wide processing time for Family Class Category applications is approximately 14 months. Family Class Category applications are usually made a priority in an effort to reunite love-ones and family as quickly as possible.

It is also important to note that if the couple is not yet married, then the sponsoring fiancé usually must demonstrate having earned a certain level of income within the past 12 month period, as indicated in the Low Income Cut-Off Chart. If the couple is, however, actually married, then the income level requirement is usually waived, and thus does not apply to such a case.

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