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IRCC Update on Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship: Processing Times now Less Than 12 Months for Many Applicants

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With the summer wedding season about to get underway, the government of Canada has revealed that processing times for the Outland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship Canadian immigration program have, in many cases, been significantly reduced.

Until the end of 2015, application processing times for this program were listed by visa office. Around the New Year, however, the way in which processing times were listed changed. Instead of being listed by visa office, a single figure (in months) was given. Now, processing times are listed by individual countries where the application is being made.

This modification allows couples in a relationship to make better decisions on which sponsorship program to apply to: Inland or Outland. Moreover, in many cases it may allow sponsored persons to obtain Canadian permanent residence sooner than was previously the case — a factor that will come as a great relief to many Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and their foreign spouses and common-law partners who wish to be reunited in Canada as quickly as possible.

The processing times for certain countries, including the time it takes to make the initial assessment of the sponsor, are now less than one year. These countries include France, Australia, Spain, Tunisia, Belgium, Algeria, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Brazil, Iran, Israel, Portugal, Poland, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, and Switzerland. For many other countries, the processing time is around one year or slightly longer. A full list can be found at the end of this article.

In March of this year, the new Liberal government of Canada announced in its Immigration Levels Plan that it intends to increase the number of new permanent residents who arrive in Canada through the Family Class category, including spouses and common-law partners. This factor may have the effect of further reducing application processing times.

About Outland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship

An Outland application is generally pursued when the sponsored partner is living outside of Canada. However, Outland applicants can still be in Canada and apply through the Outland program, and may be permitted to travel in and out of Canada throughout the application process. However, in such an instance it is at the discretion of Canadian immigration authorities as to whether the sponsored person may re-enter Canada during the process; it is also at their discretion as to whether the application may continue to be processed if the sponsored person leaves Canada during the process.

Outland applications are processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin, or where they have been lawfully admitted for at least one year.

It should be noted that, though the processing times are now published in a different way (by country), eligibility criteria for the program remains the same. In order to be a sponsor, an individual must:

  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen, Registered Indian or permanent resident;
  • be sponsoring a member of the family Class;
  • live in Canada or provide evidence, if a Canadian citizen living outside of Canada, that he or she will live in Canada once the person he or she is sponsoring becomes a permanent resident;
  • sign an agreement with his or her spouse or common-law partner confirming that each partner understands their obligations and responsibilities;
  • sign an undertaking promising to provide for the spouse or common-law partner’s basic requirements and, if applicable, those of his or her dependent children; and
  • prove that he or she has sufficient income to provide basic requirements for the spouse or common-law partner’s dependent children, if applicable.

The person being sponsored (and their family members, if applicable) must:

  • complete and sign the appropriate forms;
  • undergo a medical examination prior to submitting the application (results are valid for 12 months);
  • pass criminal and security verifications;
  • obtain a passport and, in some countries, an exit visa; and
  • attend an interview at a Canadian visa office, if required.

The other option: Inland Sponsorship

The other potential option for Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship is the Inland route. Inland sponsorship is when the couple is together in Canada and the foreign spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. The downside to the Inland route is that applications typically take longer to process.

However, the person being sponsored may be eligible for a much-coveted open work permit while the sponsorship application is being processed. In December, 2014, the government of Canada launched a pilot program through which sponsored persons through the Inland route may be issued open work permits before the ‘approval in principle’ decision has been made on their application. This pilot program was extended in December, 2015, and remains in place today.

At the time of writing, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC), total processing times for Inland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship is 26 months.

Both options now have advantages

“For individuals who have the option of choosing the Outland or Inland route, both options now present more advantages than previously. On the one hand, reduced Outland processing times means that couples may be reunited with permanent resident status sooner, allowing them to build their lives, careers, and families in Canada with more confidence that their long-term future here is secure. On the other hand, the open work permit pilot program through the Inland route has, by and large, been a great success,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“For most individuals and couples who realistically only have the Outland option, reduced processing times are a huge bonus. As we know from history, however, sponsorship processing times may fluctuate over the long term. Therefore, I would advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and their spouses and common-law partners, to prepare an application sooner rather than later. In doing so, they could be reunited in Canada, living and working here, well before the end of 2017 and, in many cases, much sooner than that.”

To find out if you and/or your spouse/common-law partner are eligible for sponsorship, please fill out a free online assessment today.

Outland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship Processing Times

Country
Processing time (in months)
Afghanistan
36
Albania
9
Algeria
8
Angola
17
Antigua and Barbuda
17
Argentina
17
Armenia
17
Aruba
17
Australia
11
Austria
17
Azerbaijan
17
Bahamas
17
Bahrain
17
Bangladesh
26
Barbados
17
Belarus
17
Belgium
10
Belize
17
Benin
17
Bermuda
17
Bolivia
17
Bosnia and Herzegovina
13
Botswana
17
Brazil
8
Brunei
17
Bulgaria
13
Burkina Faso
17
Burma (Myanmar)
17
Burundi
17
Cambodia
26
Cameroon
14
Canada
16
Cape Verde
17
Cayman Islands
17
Central African Republic
17
Chad
17
Chile
17
China (People`s Republic of)
14
Colombia
15
Comoros Island
17
Congo
17
Costa Rica
16
Côte d’Ivoire
13
Croatia
17
Cuba
14
Cyprus
17
Czech Republic
17
Democratic Republic of the Congo
25
Denmark
17
Djibouti
17
Dominica
17
Dominican Republic
15
Ecuador
17
Egypt
14
El Salvador
15
Equatorial Guinea
17
Eritrea
17
Estonia
17
Ethiopia
20
Fiji
14
Finland
17
France
10
Estonia
17
Gabon
17
Gambia
17
Georgia
17
Germany
13
Ghana
14
Greece
12
Grenada
17
Guatelama
17
Guinea
17
Guinea-Bissau
17
Guyana
14
Haiti
21
Honduras
17
Hong Kong SAR
13
Hungary
17
Iceland
17
India
20
Indonesia
17
Iran
10
Iraq
23
Ireland
13
Israel
11
Italy
12
Jamaica
20
Japan
12
Jordan
23
Kazakhstan
17
Kenya
20
Kosovo
17
Kuwait
14
Kyrgyzstan
17
Laos
17
Latvia
17
Lebanon
15
Lesotho
17
Liberia
17
Libya
17
Lithuania
17
Luxembourg
17
Macao SAR
17
Madagascar
17
Malaysia
17
Maldives
17
Mali
17
Malta
17
Martinique
17
Mauritania
17
Mauritius
17
Mexico
17
Moldova
16
Mongolia
17
Montenegro
17
Morocco
9
Mozambique
17
Namibia
17
Nepal
14
Netherlands
16
New Caledonia
17
New Zealand
11
Nicaragua
17
Niger
17
Nigeria
14
Norway
17
Oman
17
Pakistan
28
Palestinian Authority (Gaza)
13
Palestinian Authority (West Bank)
13
Panama
17
Papua New Guinea
17
Paraguay
17
Peru
9
Philippines
13
Poland
11
Portugal
9
Puerto Rico
17
Qatar
13
Romania
13
Russia
13
Rwanda
17
Saudi Arabia
17
Senegal
18
Serbia
13
Seychelles
17
Sierra Leone
17
Singapore
13
Slovakia
17
Slovenia
17
Somalia
17
South Africa
15
South Korea
14
South Sudan
17
Spain
9
Sri Lanka
13
St. Kitts and Nevis
17
St. Lucia
16
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
41
Sudan
17
Suriname
17
Sweden
18
Switzerland
11
Syria
12
Taiwan
11
Tajikistan
17
Tanzania
17
Thailand
29
Timor-Leste (Timor oriental)
17
Togo
17
Trinidad and Tobago
11
Tunisia
8
Turkey
12
Turks and Caicos Islands
17
Uganda
26
Ukraine
10
United Arab Emirates
13
United Kingdom
14
United States of America
15
Uruguay
17
Uzbekistan
17
Venezuela
17
Vietnam
24
Yemen
17
Zambia
17
Zimbabwe
17

There is currently not enough data to provide information on the following countries: Andorra, Anguilla, Bhutan, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Holy See, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tahiti, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu.

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Comments

34 thoughts on “IRCC Update on Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship: Processing Times now Less Than 12 Months for Many Applicants

  1. Dorothy

    Hello, just a question.. My husband sponsorship process is now in Havana, can he still apply for visitors visa to come see me and his daughter or better not? Thank you

  2. Amenda Walton

    Unfortunately we are still waiting for his PR visa

    we are hoping we will hear very soon from Immigration to issue is PR visa

    According to a Toronto Immigration lawyers office my husband phoned his application is finished, now we must wait for his visa

  3. Sam

    Dear Amanda

    Are you in PR status now? If yes, did you applied spouse visa after getting your PR status? Kindly reply.

  4. Sam

    Hi

    My wife (Indian) is in Canada since Feb – 2015 and she’s a PR(Permanent Resident). Myself and my Daughter living in India. Now she is planning to take us there. We might apply for spouse and children dependent visa by feb – 2017. I would like to know the time duration for us to get the visa. We are going to apply from India through a consultant. If anybody knows the duration, kindly reply. Thanks in advance. Good day..

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