The Inland Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship program allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their spouse/common-law partner for permanent resident status if they already live together in Canada.
The Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category. A Canadian or permanent resident may sponsor their spouse/common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence. Both the Canadian citizen or permanent resident (also called the ‘sponsor’) and the foreign national (the ‘sponsored person) must be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) for the sponsored person to receive a visa.
There are two parts to the spousal sponsorship application:
- The Canadian or permanent resident applies to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner; and
- The spouse or common-law partner uses for permanent residence.
Under the Inland sponsorship category, the foreign spouse/common-law partner must have valid temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor. If the sponsored person already has a work or study permit, they may continue to work or study as long as the license is valid. However, it is essential to note that working and studying in Canada without good status is illegal and may result in severe consequences for the sponsored person.
In contrast to Outland applications (where the spouse is residing outside Canada), the person sponsored through the Inland route may be eligible for an Open Work Permit while processing their application. This program can help mitigate the consequences of a lengthy application process by enabling the sponsored person to work for a Canadian employer without a confirmed offer of employment. Applicants who would like to obtain an open work permit should apply for one when they apply for permanent residence. However, IRCC states that if a sponsored spouse or common-law partner has not submitted an application for an open work permit at the same time as their permanent residence application, he or she may still submit an application for an open work permit at a later stage.
If IRCC requires an interview, the sponsored person will be notified, in writing, of the date, time, and location of the interview and of the documents they must bring.
If a sponsored person’s application is refused, they must leave Canada immediately at the end of their period of temporary stay. Additionally, suppose the sponsored person goes to Canada while the application is being processed. In that case, there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to re-enter Canada, especially if they require a visitor visa. IRCC aims to process applications submitted through this program within 12 months.
Regardless of the sponsorship path chosen, both the sponsor and the sponsored person must meet several specific requirements to be considered eligible.
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