What is the difference between inland and outland spousal sponsorship?

Julia Hornstein
Published: July 10, 2022

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are in a relationship with a foreign national may sponsor that person to join them in Canada and become a permanent resident. You may sponsor your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner.

There are two main options to choose from when sponsoring your spouse or partner: Outland Sponsorship and Inland Sponsorship.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

Outland Sponsorship

Outland sponsorship is an option for couples who are not living together in Canada. This application is for foreign nationals who are residing abroad and are to be sponsored by their Canadian spouse or partner. If your spouse or partner is unable to apply from inside Canada or does not legally live in Canada at the time of the application, outland sponsorship is likely the only option available.

To be eligible to sponsor a spouse or partner under the Outland application category, the sponsor and sponsored person must meet the following criteria:

  • The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • The sponsor and the sponsored person must be at least 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor and the sponsored person must be in one of the following types of relationship: Spouse: you are legally married, and your marriage is valid under the law of the jurisdiction where it was registered and under Canadian law; Common law: you are cohabiting or have cohabited with your partner in a marriage-like relationship for at least 12 consecutive months; Conjugal partnership: you have been in an ongoing and committed relationship for at least 12 months but due to significant factors beyond your control, such as an immigration barrier or marital status, you cannot live together.
  • The sponsor must not have sponsored a spouse in Canada in the five years preceding the application.
  • The sponsor or sponsored person must not be in prison, charged with a serious offence or bankrupt.

It is important to note that if you are in a conjugal relationship, the Outland Sponsorship application is the only option available to you as conjugal relationships are not eligible under Inland Sponsorship.

If the sponsored persons’ work or personal situation requires them to travel outside the country, Outland Sponsorship may be the better option as it allows for travel to and from Canada during the application process.

Inland Sponsorship

Inland sponsorship is an option for couples who are living together in Canada. This application is for foreign spouses or partners who have valid temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student or visitor. The sponsored person will be able to continue to live, work or study in Canada while the inland sponsorship application is being processed.

To be eligible to sponsor a spouse or partner under the Inland application category, the sponsor and sponsored person must meet the following criteria:

  • The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Canada;
  • The sponsor and sponsored person must be at least 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor and the sponsored person must be in one of the following types of relationships: Spouse: you are legally married, and your marriage is valid under the law of the jurisdiction where it was registered and under Canadian law; Common-law: you are cohabiting or have cohabited with your partner in a marriage-like relationship for at least 12 consecutive months.
  • The sponsor must not have sponsored a spouse in Canada in the five years preceding the application
  • The sponsor or sponsored person must not be in prison, charged with a serious offence or is bankrupt

One of the main benefits of Inland Sponsorship is that the sponsored person may be eligible for an open work permit, which allows them to work full-time in Canada while their permanent resident application is being processed.

It is expected that the sponsored person stays in Canada while their application is being processed. If the sponsored person does not plan to stay in Canada or needs to be able to travel while the application is being processed, Outland Sponsorship may be a better option.

Where do I submit my spousal sponsorship application?

Applications to sponsor a spouse or partner may be submitted outside Canada at a visa office or in Canada at a local immigration office. Sponsorship applications for conjugal partners can only be submitted through an outside of Canada application process.

How long does it take to process Outland and Inland Sponsorship applications?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s target processing period for spousal sponsorship is around 12 months.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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