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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Inland Spousal Sponsorship VS Outland Spousal Sponsorship

Updated: Oct 27, 2023


Inland Spousal Sponsorship VS Outland Spousal Sponsorship

Reuniting with your loved one in Canada is an exciting prospect, and the Canadian government offers two pathways to make this dream a reality: Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Outland Spousal Sponsorship.


*For a general understanding of spousal sponsorship in Canada, visit our Spousal Sponsorship page.


Difference between Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Outland Spousal Sponsorship in Canada


In Canada, when a citizen or permanent resident wishes to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residence, they can choose between two main avenues: Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Outland Spousal Sponsorship. Here are the key differences between the two:


1. Location of the Sponsored Person:

  • Inland Spousal Sponsorship: The person being sponsored (the spouse or common-law partner) is inside Canada and continues to remain in the country throughout the application process.

  • Outland Spousal Sponsorship: The sponsored person is outside Canada during the application process, or they could be in Canada but would be expecting to travel in and out during the processing of the application.

2. Processing Times:

  • Inland: Historically, Inland applications have had longer processing times compared to Outland applications. However, processing times can vary, and it's always best to check current processing times on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

  • Outland: Typically, Outland applications have had shorter processing times. Also, the visa office responsible for the applicant's home country or where they legally reside handles the processing.

3. Work Permit Eligibility:

  • Inland: Applicants under the Inland Spousal Sponsorship category can apply for an Open Work Permit alongside their permanent residence application. This allows them to work in Canada while waiting for their application's decision.

  • Outland: The Outland applicant doesn't automatically get the option to apply for a work permit while their application is in process. However, if they already have a valid status in Canada (like a study permit or work permit), they can continue to extend or operate under that status.

4. Appeals for Refusal:

  • Inland: If the Inland application is refused, there isn't an automatic right to appeal the decision.

  • Outland: If an Outland application is refused, the sponsor generally has the right to appeal the decision to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

5. Travel Considerations:

  • Inland: While it's not prohibited for the sponsored spouse/common-law partner to leave Canada during the processing, it poses a risk. If the sponsored person tries to return to Canada and is denied entry, the Inland application might be refused.

  • Outland: The sponsored person can travel in and out of Canada during the processing. Still, they must always meet the entry requirements when returning and face the standard risks and considerations associated with traveling while an application is pending.

Advantages and Disadvantages between Inland Spousal Sponsorship and Outland Spousal Sponsorship in Canada


It's essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each based on individual circumstances. Let's break down the pros and cons:


Inland Spousal Sponsorship

Advantages:

  1. Presence Together: The couple can remain together in Canada throughout the application process.

  2. Open Work Permit: The sponsored spouse or common-law partner can apply for an Open Work Permit alongside their permanent residence application, allowing them to work in Canada during the processing time.

  3. Clarity on Eligibility: The eligibility criteria and documentation requirements are clearly outlined for those applying from within Canada.

Disadvantages:

  1. No Guaranteed Right to Appeal: If the application is refused, there isn't an automatic right to appeal.

  2. Travel Risk: While the sponsored person can technically leave Canada during the process, re-entry isn't guaranteed. If they are denied re-entry for any reason, it can jeopardize the application.

  3. Longer Processing Times: Historically, the Inland process has had longer processing times, though this can vary.

Outland Spousal Sponsorship

Advantages:

  1. Shorter Processing Times: Typically, Outland applications have had shorter processing times, but it's always good to check the latest statistics.

  2. Right to Appeal: If the application is refused, there's generally a right to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division.

  3. Flexibility in Travel: The sponsored person can usually travel in and out of Canada during the processing. However, they always need to meet entry requirements when returning.

  4. Less Risk of Interruption: If the sponsored spouse or partner is outside of Canada, there's less risk of their status in Canada becoming an issue (e.g., an expired visa) that could interrupt the application process.

Disadvantages:

  1. Separation: Depending on the situation, the couple might need to live apart during the processing, which can be emotionally and financially challenging.

  2. No Automatic Work Rights in Canada: The sponsored person doesn't automatically have the right to work in Canada during the processing, unless they have another valid permit or visa that allows it.

  3. Varying Requirements: The application might be processed through different visa offices outside Canada, and each office might have slightly varying requirements or processing times.

Use Case Scenarios

Inland Spousal Sponsorship Success Story

John, a Canadian citizen, and Jane, a foreign national, got married in Canada while Jane was on a temporary work permit. They decided to apply for Inland Spousal Sponsorship, allowing them to live together in Canada during the application process. Jane also applied for an open work permit, which allowed her to continue working in Canada. After 14 months, Jane's permanent residency application was approved, and they continue to live happily together in Canada.


Outland Spousal Sponsorship Success Story

Mike, a Canadian citizen, and Sarah, a foreign national, got married in Sarah's home country. They decided to apply for Outland Spousal Sponsorship. Sarah remained in her home country during the application process, and Mike returned to Canada. After eight months, Sarah's permanent residency application was approved, and she moved to Canada to start her new life with Mike.

Deciding between Inland and Outland Spousal Sponsorship depends on your individual circumstances and priorities. Inland Spousal Sponsorship allows couples to live together in Canada during the application process, with the possibility of an open work permit for the sponsored person. However, it often comes with longer processing times and travel restrictions.


On the other hand, Outland Spousal Sponsorship generally has shorter processing times and fewer travel restrictions but may require the couple to live apart during the application process. Additionally, the sponsored person is not eligible for an open work permit.


Both Inland and Outland Sponsorships have their own set of advantages and considerations. The choice between them often depends on individual circumstances, including where the sponsored person currently resides, their need to work in Canada during the application process, and the couple's comfort level with the sponsored person traveling during the processing period.


To determine the best option for your situation, consider using our Sponsorship Eligibility Tool or consult with an experienced immigration consultant.

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