Spousal sponsorship is a process that allows a citizen or permanent resident of Canada to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency. Here are the specifics of the process most spousal sponsorship applications go through. Here’s a breakdown of these stages:
- Eligibility Assessment:
- Sponsor’s Eligibility: Before initiating the process, the sponsor must ensure they meet the eligibility criteria. This often includes being of legal age, having financial stability to support the spouse, and not having any outstanding deportation orders.
- Relationship Verification: The relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person must be genuine. This could be a legally recognized marriage, common-law partnership, or conjugal partnership.
- Application Preparation:
- Gathering Documents: Both the sponsor and the sponsored person need to gather essential documents. This includes marriage certificates, proof of relationship, financial statements, and more.
- Filling Out Forms: Specific forms related to spousal sponsorship must be filled out accurately. Any discrepancies can lead to delays or rejections.
- Submission of Application:
- Once all documents are in place and forms are filled out, the application is submitted to the respective immigration authority. There might be a fee associated with the submission.
- Application Review:
- Initial Review: The immigration authority conducts an initial review to ensure the application is complete and meets the basic criteria.
- In-depth Assessment: If the application passes the initial review, a more in-depth assessment begins. This involves verifying the authenticity of the relationship, checking for any potential security risks, and ensuring the sponsor has the means to support the sponsored spouse.
- Some countries require the couple to attend an interview. This is to further assess the genuineness of the relationship and to clarify any doubts or discrepancies in the application.
- Approval: If the application is successful, the sponsored spouse receives a visa or permit allowing them to enter and reside in the sponsoring country.
- Rejection: If the application is denied, the reasons for denial are usually provided. In many cases, there’s an option to appeal the decision.
- Post-Approval Formalities:
- Landing and Status: Once approved, the sponsored spouse can enter the country. They might receive a permanent resident card or similar identification, confirming their status.
- Meeting Conditions: Some countries impose conditions on the sponsored spouse, such as not being eligible for social welfare benefits for a certain period.
- Renewal or Citizenship:
- After living in the sponsoring country for a specified period and meeting certain conditions, the sponsored spouse might be eligible to apply for citizenship or renew their permanent resident status.
- In rare cases, if it’s later discovered that the relationship was not genuine or was entered into for immigration purposes, the sponsored spouse’s status can be revoked.
1st and 2nd Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship Application
Here’s a detailed look at the 1st and 2nd stage approvals:
First Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship: Sponsor’s Eligibility
Before the sponsored spouse’s application is considered, the eligibility of the sponsor is assessed. This stage primarily focuses on the sponsor rather than the sponsored individual.
- Criteria Assessment:
- The sponsor must meet certain criteria, which may include age requirements, residency status, and financial capability to support the sponsored spouse.
- The sponsor should not have any outstanding deportation orders, unpaid immigration loans, or previous sponsorship defaults.
- Previous criminal convictions, especially those related to domestic violence or certain financial offenses, might make a sponsor ineligible.
- Relationship Verification:
- At this stage, a preliminary check is done to ensure the relationship is genuine. This is based on the documents provided, such as marriage certificates, photographs, communication records, etc.
- If the sponsor meets all the requirements, the application moves to the 2nd stage. If not, the application is refused, and the sponsor is informed of the reasons for refusal.
Second Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship: Sponsored Spouse’s Eligibility
Once the sponsor’s eligibility is confirmed, the focus shifts to the sponsored individual. This stage delves deeper into the genuineness of the relationship and the admissibility of the sponsored spouse.
- In-depth Relationship Assessment:
- Immigration officers assess the authenticity of the relationship. This might involve scrutinizing shared assets, travel records, correspondence, testimonials from friends and family, and more.
- In cases where the genuineness of the relationship is in doubt, the couple might be called for an interview.
- Medical and Criminal Checks:
- The sponsored spouse undergoes medical examinations to ensure they don’t pose a health risk.
- Criminal background checks are conducted to ensure the sponsored individual doesn’t pose a security threat.
- Other Admissibility Factors:
- The sponsored spouse’s past immigration history is reviewed. Previous visa refusals, overstays, or deportations can impact the decision.
- Other factors, such as misrepresentation in the application, can also lead to refusal.
- If the sponsored spouse meets all the requirements and the relationship is deemed genuine, the application is approved, and the sponsored spouse is granted a visa or permit.
- If the application is denied, the reasons for denial are provided, and in many cases, there’s an option to appeal the decision.
In conclusion, the two-stage approval process for spousal sponsorship is designed to ensure that both the sponsor and the sponsored spouse meet the necessary criteria. It emphasizes the genuineness of the relationship and the admissibility of the sponsored individual, ensuring that only legitimate applications are approved.