top of page
  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) for Spousal Sponsorship Applications

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada can often be a complex process, laden with several stages and terminologies. One such term that applicants frequently encounter is 'Acknowledgment of Receipt,' commonly abbreviated as AOR. Understanding what AOR is, and its significance in your application process, can ease some of the anxiety and confusion around the spousal sponsorship process.


Acknowledgment of Receipt Spousal Sponsorship

What does Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) mean in the context of spousal sponsorship application in Canada?

When applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada, one of the first milestones in your application process is receiving the Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR). This is essentially a communication from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) confirming that they have received your application. The issuance of the AOR is a critical step, but what exactly does it entail, and what is its importance?

Firstly, it's essential to note that receiving the AOR does not mean your application has been approved. The AOR is merely an indication that IRCC has received your application package and that initial checks for completeness have been done. If all the necessary forms and supporting documents have been submitted, you will be issued an AOR, and your application will enter the queue for further detailed processing.


The AOR typically comes as an email or letter and contains essential information such as your application number. This number is particularly important as it will be used in all future correspondences and inquiries about your application. Therefore, it's crucial to keep the AOR safe for future reference.

In case your application was incomplete, i.e., if you forgot to include a form or missed some supporting documents, your application package may be returned without processing, and you will not receive an AOR. It's therefore vital to double-check your application for completeness before sending it to avoid any unnecessary delays.


The timeframe within which you'll receive the AOR can vary depending on the volume of applications that IRCC is handling. As of my last training cut-off in September 2021, the AOR for spousal sponsorship applications was typically issued within a few weeks of application submission, but this timeframe may change.


The Importance of AOR in Your Spousal Sponsorship Application Process

Receiving your AOR serves several essential purposes:

  1. Confirmation of Receipt: The primary function of the AOR is to confirm that the IRCC has received your application. This can provide some peace of mind, as you can be assured your application has not been lost in transit and has reached the intended department.

  2. Start of Processing Time: The AOR date is typically considered the start of your application's processing time. IRCC's processing times usually begin from the date they send the AOR.

  3. Application Number: Your AOR notice will contain your application number, which is crucial for any future communication with the IRCC regarding your application.

Next Steps After Receiving Your AOR for Spousal Sponsorship Application

Once you've received your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) for your spousal sponsorship application, you might wonder what the next steps are. While much of the process now rests in the hands of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there are a few things you should do and keep in mind.


Firstly, ensure you keep your AOR safe. The AOR contains your unique application number, which is vital for tracking your application status or for any correspondence with IRCC. You may need to refer to this document multiple times throughout the process.

If you've submitted your application online via the IRCC web portal, after receiving your AOR, you can now link your application to your online account. Doing so enables you to receive further updates online, submit documents, and check the real-time status of your application.


Now that your application is in process, it's crucial to promptly respond to any requests for additional information or documents from IRCC. Delays in responding can slow down your application processing. Ensure you check your mail or email regularly for any communication from IRCC.


Remember to inform IRCC if there are any changes in your circumstances. This could include changes in contact information, changes in family status (such as the birth of a child), or if you or your spouse/partner obtain a new passport. To update your application, you can use the IRCC webform.


It's also important to prepare for the next stages in the application process.


First Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship Application

The first stage of the spousal sponsorship application process focuses on the eligibility of the sponsor. During this stage, the government evaluates whether the sponsor meets the required criteria to support their spouse. The sponsor and the sponsored spouse must submit relevant forms and documents as evidence to support their application.


Second Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship Applicaiton

The second stage approval is the final step in the spousal sponsorship application process, where the immigration authorities assess the applicant's admissibility to the country based on their background checks, medical examination, and other required documents.


AOR Timeline: When to Expect the Acknowledgment of Receipt

One of the most frequently asked questions by applicants is about the timeline for the Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR). It's understandable - knowing when to expect the AOR can help manage expectations and reduce anxiety during this crucial period.


The AOR is usually issued after the IRCC has received your application and determined that it's complete. However, the timeline for this can vary. Multiple factors influence the time it takes for you to receive your AOR, including the volume of applications IRCC is processing at any given time, the method of submission (online or paper), and the time of year. You could typically expect to receive the AOR for a spousal sponsorship application within a few weeks to a couple of months after submission. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that processing times can and do change, and what was typical at one point might not be typical now.

Remember, the AOR is a critical step in your spousal sponsorship application. It confirms that your application is in the queue for processing, gives you a unique application number, and is the starting point for your application's official processing time.


Navigating Delays if you haven't received your AOR yet.

If you've submitted your spousal sponsorship application but haven't yet received your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR), it's understandable to feel anxious. Let's discuss what this delay might mean and the steps you can take in such a situation.

Firstly, it's essential to understand that the issuance of the AOR depends on several factors, including the volume of applications being processed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the time of the year, and your method of application submission (online or paper). As of my training data up to September 2021, the AOR for spousal sponsorship applications was typically issued within a few weeks to a couple of months after submission, but these timeframes can change.

If it's been more than the typical processing time and you haven't received your AOR, it could be due to several reasons. There could be a backlog of applications at IRCC, there might be delays in the mail (if you applied by paper), or perhaps your email provider's spam filters intercepted the AOR email (if you applied online).

If the delay is significant and beyond the usual timeframes, it may be advisable to contact IRCC for an update. You can use the IRCC Webform to submit an enquiry. When doing so, be sure to include relevant details like your full name, date of birth, and the exact date you submitted your application.


In some cases, the delay might be because your application was incomplete and thus returned to you. IRCC generally sends back incomplete applications without processing, which means you won't receive an AOR. If you receive your returned application, review the reason for return carefully, rectify the issues, and resubmit your application.

Remember, while delays can be stressful, they are not uncommon in immigration processes. It's important to be patient, keep track of any correspondence from IRCC, and take appropriate action as necessary.

Understanding the Information in Your AOR for Spousal Sponsorship Application

When you receive your Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) for your spousal sponsorship application, it contains several important pieces of information. Let's break down the elements typically included in your AOR.


The primary piece of information in your AOR is the confirmation that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has received your application. This message signals that your application has entered the queue for processing.


The AOR also provides the date of receipt. This is the date when IRCC received your application, and it typically marks the start of your application's processing time.


One of the most crucial pieces of information in your AOR is your application number, also known as the file number or case ID. This unique identifier is used in all future correspondence with IRCC about your application. It's important to reference this number whenever you contact IRCC about your application, and when checking your application status online.

Depending on the specifics of your application and the methods of communication you chose, your AOR may also contain information on how to create an online account on the IRCC website. By linking your application to an online account, you can receive updates, check your application status in real-time, and submit additional documents if requested.


While the AOR is a fairly standard document, remember that it's one of the most important documents in your application process. Ensure you keep it safe and readily available for reference throughout your application process.


Receiving an AOR in Spousal Sponsorship Application Does Not Mean Your Application is Approved


A common misconception among many applicants is equating the receipt of the Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) with the approval of their application. This is not the case. Let's clarify what receiving an AOR actually means in the context of your spousal sponsorship application.


The AOR is essentially a notification from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that they have received your application and it contains all the necessary forms and supporting documents for them to start the detailed processing. This does not indicate that your application has been approved, nor does it guarantee that it will be approved.


Receiving the AOR means that your application has passed the initial completeness check and has entered the queue for further processing. It has now been put in line for a thorough review by an immigration officer, who will assess the information and documentation provided, verify the authenticity of your relationship, and determine your eligibility for spousal sponsorship.


It's also important to note that after receiving your AOR, you may be asked to provide additional information or documents, undergo medical examinations, provide police certificates, or even attend an interview. These requests do not indicate any problem with your application; they are standard parts of the processing of many spousal sponsorship applications.


To sum up, while receiving your AOR is a positive step in your application process, it's merely the start of your application's journey through the system. It signals the start of your official processing time and provides you with your unique application number, but it's not an indication of your application's eventual success or failure.


Need help in applying for Spousal Sponsorship? Get in touch with an immigration consultant now.

1,927 views0 comments
bottom of page