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Spousal Sponsorship Do's & Don'ts

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

If you are starting the process of spousal sponsorship and/or dependent sponsorship, this article is for you. Our main aim is to list useful tips that can easily be implemented by the average applicant looking to bring their family members to Canada on permanent resident status or to transfer family members from a temporary visa to PR status.

Do's List:

- review country-specific instructions for documents. If the principal applicant (sponsored person) lived in multiple countries, ensure that all of them are listed in order to generate an accurate checklist and instructions

- ensure that there are at least two years left on the sponsored person's and any dependent family members passports. There should also be at least one blank page inside the passport

- requisition criminal record clearances from all countries where the sponsor and any dependent over 18 years of age lived since they turned 18. Although the current instructions request criminal record clearances from countries where the sponsored lived in the past 10 years only, we find that IRCC has a tendency to ask for police clearance certificates from earlier as well so it would expedite the case in some instances to provide all relevant clearances upfront

- do not forget to include documents from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) pertaining to the Notice of Assessment as well as an original employment letter of the sponsor, if applicable

- the background declaration form named IMM5669 should include all work experience and education as well as any travel outside of your country or residence. Therefore, you must organize all information in order according to dates

- there must be extensive proof of interdependency between spouses. This can include financial proof, constant communication, proof of living together, proof of visiting one another, proof that your closest family and friends recognize your relationship. Documents such as insurance papers, utility bills, bank and credit accounts, lease or mortgage and hotel or accommodation receipts, boarding passes, can all constitute acceptable proof. Note that having mutual children or being together for many years does not exempt one from having to provide proof such as that listed hereto

- all documents that deal with the marriage, engagement ceremony, and expenses surrounding both should be retained and included. Celebrating one's relationship gives credibility to the relationship and it legitimizes the relationship to the spouses' closest friends and family. Therefor, providing proof surrounding the traditional marriage ceremony is an important aspect of the application. Such proof can be invoices or receipts for payment of services rendered, venue booking confirmations, photographer receipts etc

- photos from different places and at different points in time are essential. There is a maximum of 20 pictures that can be submitted so one must be very selective in which ones they choose. We typically include, for married spouses, pictures of the wedding, engagement, trips or travel together, family gatherings, and any culture or religion-specific celebrations

Don'ts List:

- do not take shortcuts or rush to submit. Lack of proof, missing documents, errors or mistakes will result in the whole application being returned or processing delays

- it is not a good idea to omit information relating to background such as travel to certain countries, work experience including self-employed work experience or education including short term courses and vocational courses. If you ever submitted an application before to Canada or other commonwealth countries, information is shared and previous refusals etc will likely be discovered and result in misrepresentation allegations including a five year ban from Canada

- children born in Canada in most cases are Canadian citizens and do not need to be included as dependents on an application for permanent residence in Canada. Children born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent may also be eligible for direct citizenship and do not need to be included in a spousal PR application

- criminal records especially against former spouses or dependents and violence or serious criminality can render a sponsor ineligible

- if the finances are tight or employment income is limited, provide a plan or supporting letters and deal with this fact. After all, a sponsor still must be able to meet their sponsorship obligations as well as sign an undertaking. Having limited funds or limited income will adversely influence the sponsor's duties and responsibilities

- long distance relationships with minimal time spent physically together and/or arranged marriages with limited proof of contact prior to the marriage are more complicated then the average sponsorship. They must be treated as such and proof must be adapted to the circumstances not omitted. Omitting proof and not substituting with other kinds of documents that may be easily accessible will almost certainly result in a refusal of the application

- if the sponsor was themselves sponsored by another spouse in the past, they are not eligible to become a sponsor for five years. In this case, do not apply until five years have passed since the date of permanent residence

See our earlier post regarding spousal sponsorship for other useful tips.

Family Class Sponsorship

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