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How Canada is modernizing the submission system for spousal and common-law partner programs

Posted October 22, 2022 8:00 a.m. EDT



In order to improve customer service, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is completely digitizing the application submission process for interior and Outland sponsorship programs for spouses and common-law partners.

Until September 23, 2022, IRCC previously allowed online applications to be submitted for permanent immigration programs like spousal sponsorship, but also offered applicants other methods to apply for these programs. From now on, spousal and common-law spousal and common-law partner sponsorship applications will only be accepted online.

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According to the IRCC, moving to a fully online system “gives clients more flexibility to apply from their devices and allows them to receive immediate confirmation that they have passed. submitted their application.“This will be facilitated by the already active Permanent residence portalwhich has already allowed some immigration candidates to submit their applications for other programs online since March 31, 2021.

Note: Applicants requiring accommodations and unable to use the online system may contact IRCC to request an alternate submission format. In the absence of such a request, all applications not submitted online after the transition dates (more information below) will be returned to applicants.

Eligibility for sponsorship programs for spouses and common-law partners

Be eligible as a sponsor under the Overseas or Inland Spouse and Common-Law Partner Program, you must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident living in Canada or a person registered under the Indian Act of Canada
  • Live in Canada or plan to return to the country
  • Not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • Be able to meet your basic needs, those of your spouse or partner and, where applicable, those of dependent children
  • Be able to financially support your spouse/partner
  • Make sure your spouse/partner will not need government social assistance

In addition, the person coming to Canada through the sponsor must be at least 18 years old and pass all required background, medical and security checks.

The application process for spousal and common-law partner programs

Before applying to sponsor a spouse or common-law partner, make sure that both parties involved in the application (the sponsor and the dependent applicant) meet all of the eligibility criteria.

Also, keep in mind that a spousal and common-law partner sponsorship application requires that two applications be submitted at the same time: one from the Canadian sponsor to actually sponsor their spouse/partner as well as the residence application permanent residence of the dependant.

You are now ready to begin the four-step application process. Applying to sponsor a spouse is a four-step process:

1. Go online to the Canadian government website to find the application package, which contains detailed instructions on how to properly complete the application

2. Pay the online application fee, which includes:

  • Processing fees for all persons included in the application
  • A “Right of permanent residence” tax
  • Biometrics fees
  • Other third-party fees, if applicable

3. Submit your request through the Permanent residence portal following the submission instructions provided in the guide you downloaded

4. Submit required supporting documents when prompted

So that covers spousal and common-law sponsorship. Now, what about other immigration programs based on permanent residence?

IRCC has provided the following timeline for when each Canadian permanent immigration program/category will follow suit with spousal sponsorship by moving to an online-only application system.

September 23, 2022: Provincial Nominee Program (non-Express Entry); skilled workers selected by Quebec; Sponsor a spouse or partner; Sponsorship of a dependent child; Sponsor an eligible relative; Sponsorship of an orphan brother, niece or nephew or grandchild; Adopt a child as part of the immigration process; Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project

October 7, 2022: Investors selected by Quebec; contractors selected by Quebec; Self-employed (Quebec)

October 14, 2022: Agri-food pilot; Start-up visa; Holders of a temporary residence permit who apply for permanent residence

October 21, 2022: Home Support Worker Pilot Project; Pilot project for home child care providers (reopening to new applications on January 1, 2023); Humanitarian and compassionate grounds; Independents (federal)

October 28, 2022: Atlantic Immigration Program

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