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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Second Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship Application Canada

Second Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship Application Canada

Spousal sponsorship is a legal process that allows an individual, who is a citizen or permanent resident of a country, to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residency. The objective of this process is to help families reunite and stay together, ensuring the well-being of both the sponsor and the sponsored spouse.

  • First stage approval of spousal sponsorship applications - Sponsor's eligibility check

  • Second stage approval of spousal sponsorship applications - Applicants eligibility, background & medical check

The First Stage Approval Process of Spousal Sponsorship

Your application arrives at the 1st stage of assessment once you have been issued an Acknowledgment of Receipt for your application submission.

Definition of First Stage Approval

The first stage approval of spousal sponsorship is the initial step in the application process where the immigration authorities assess the eligibility of the sponsor and the genuineness of the relationship between the sponsor and the applicant. This stage ensures that the sponsor meets the necessary financial and legal requirements and that the relationship is legitimate.

Purpose of First Stage Approval

The primary purpose of the first stage approval is to verify the sponsor's eligibility and the authenticity of the relationship. This step helps immigration authorities filter out fraudulent or ineligible applications, ensuring that only genuine cases move forward in the process. It also enables the authorities to assess whether the sponsor can financially support the sponsored spouse, preventing any undue burden on the country's social assistance system.

Timeline for First Stage Approval

The timeline for first stage approval varies depending on the country, the specific immigration office handling the application, and whether the application is filed inland or outland. Typically, first stage approval can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Applicants and sponsors are advised to keep track of processing times on the relevant immigration authority's website and be prepared for possible delays.

Second Stage Approval of Spousal Sponsorship Application Canada

After the initial review, where the sponsoring spouse's eligibility is determined, the application moves to the second stage. At this point, the foreign spouse's eligibility for permanent residency is assessed.

Steps and Considerations:

  1. Medical Examination: The sponsored person must undergo a medical examination by an IRCC-approved panel physician. This is to ensure the applicant doesn't have a medical condition that could pose a threat to public health or result in excessive demand on Canada's health system.

  2. Criminal and Security Checks: These checks are conducted to ensure that the sponsored person doesn't have a criminal record or hasn't been involved in any activities that might make them inadmissible to Canada. Background checks may be performed in every country where the applicant has lived for more than six months since turning 18.

  3. Review of Relationship: IRCC will further assess the genuineness of the relationship. They might request additional documents, photos, or even interview the couple if there are concerns about the relationship's legitimacy.

  4. Request for Passport and Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR): If the sponsored person is approved and is outside of Canada, they'll receive a request to send their passport to the visa office. Once stamped, they'll also get a COPR document which they'll present upon arrival in Canada.

  5. Status in Canada: If the sponsored person is inside Canada, they might be asked to leave Canada to get their permanent residency visa, or they might be allowed to remain in Canada and get their status changed without exiting the country.

  6. Refusal: If there are concerns or reasons for refusal, IRCC will send a procedural fairness letter detailing the concerns and giving the applicant an opportunity to respond.

  7. Final Decision: After all checks and verifications, IRCC will make a final decision. If approved, the foreign spouse or partner will be granted permanent resident status.

Benefits of Second Stage Approval:

  1. Permanent Residency: The sponsored person gets permanent residency, which gives them the right to live, work, and study anywhere in Canada. They also get most of the social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care.

  2. Path to Citizenship: After staying in Canada for a specific period as a permanent resident, the individual becomes eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Factors Affecting the Spousal Sponsorship Approval Process

Complexity of the Application

Complex applications, such as those involving sponsoring your spouse with a criminal record or conjugal partner sponsorship, may take longer to process due to additional documentation and background checks.

Errors in the Application

Errors or incomplete information in the application can lead to delays or even refusals. Applicants should thoroughly review their application and use the sponsorship eligibility tool to ensure they meet all requirements.

Delays Caused by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Processing times can be affected by the volume of applications received by the IRCC, staffing issues, or other unforeseen circumstances. To stay informed about the latest processing times, visit the IRCC website.

Tips for a Smooth Spousal Sponsorship Approval Process

Be Prepared and Organized

Being prepared and organized throughout the application process can significantly increase the chances of a smooth and successful outcome. Keep all relevant documents and information easily accessible, and create a checklist to track progress.

Ensure All Required Documents

Are Submitted Ensure that you submit all required documents in the correct format and within the specified deadlines. Missing or incorrect documents can lead to delays or even refusal of the application.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Common mistakes such as incomplete forms, lack of supporting evidence, or inconsistencies in the information provided can lead to complications in the application process. Double-check your application and supporting documents for any errors or inconsistencies.

Seek Professional Assistance

Consider seeking professional assistance from an immigration consultant or lawyer with expertise in spousal sponsorship applications. They can help guide you through the process, answer any questions you may have, and ensure that your application is complete and error-free.

The Second Stage Approval in the Spousal Sponsorship process delves deeper into the specifics of the sponsored person’s application for permanent residency. Here are some more details and considerations:

  1. Duration: The time taken for the second stage approval largely depends on the visa office processing the application, the complexity of the case, and if additional documentation or interviews are required. While the average processing time varies, it could take several months.

  2. Additional Documentation: It's not uncommon for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to request further documentation during the second stage. This might include additional proofs of relationship, evidence of joint accounts or properties, or written statements from friends and family.

  3. Interviews: In some cases, if IRCC officers have concerns about the genuineness of the relationship, they may call the couple in for an interview. This is not a standard procedure and is usually reserved for cases where there are red flags or inconsistencies in the application.

  4. In-Canada vs. Outside-Canada Applications: The process might vary slightly depending on whether the application is processed as an In-Canada or an Outside-Canada application. For instance, In-Canada applicants might have the advantage of remaining with their partner in Canada during processing, but they may also have limited appeal rights in case of refusal.

  5. Refusals: If an application is refused after the second stage assessment, the reason for refusal will be communicated. Applicants have the right to appeal the decision, but there's a specific timeframe to do so. Understanding why the application was refused can help in making a stronger case during the appeal.

  6. Changes in Circumstances: It's essential to communicate any changes in circumstances to IRCC. This includes changes in contact information, births, deaths, marriages, divorces, or any other significant life events. Not updating IRCC can lead to delays or complications.

  7. Conditions on Permanent Residency: It's worth noting that in some cases, spousal sponsorship might come with a condition that the sponsored spouse must cohabit in a conjugal relationship with their sponsor for two years if the marriage is less than two years old and they have no children in common at the time of application submission. If this condition is not met, the sponsored person might risk losing their permanent resident status.

  8. Reapplication: In cases of refusal, after addressing the issues pointed out by IRCC, couples can also consider reapplying. However, it's essential to ensure that the application is stronger and addresses all the concerns raised in the previous refusal.

  9. Legal Representation: While many individuals navigate the spousal sponsorship process without assistance, hiring an immigration lawyer or consultant can offer significant advantages, especially if the case has complexities or if there's a history of refusals.

  10. Transitioning to Citizenship: Once the sponsored person has lived in Canada for the required duration as a permanent resident (currently 1,095 days within the last five years), they can apply for Canadian citizenship, given they meet all other criteria.

Preparing for Life After Sponsorship Approval

Moving and Settling In

Once the spousal sponsorship application is approved, the sponsored spouse should prepare for their move to the new country. This includes arranging for housing, transportation, and other logistical aspects of the move. Researching local customs, laws, and cultural practices can also help ease the transition to the new country.

Social Integration and Support Networks

Social integration is crucial for the sponsored spouse to feel comfortable and welcomed in their new home. Actively participating in community events, joining clubs or organizations, and making new friends can help create a strong support network. The sponsor can also introduce their spouse to their friends and family members, fostering connections and helping them feel at home.

Legal Obligations as a Sponsor and Sponsored Spouse

Both the sponsor and the sponsored spouse have legal obligations to fulfill after the sponsorship approval. The sponsor is required to provide financial support for the sponsored spouse for a specified period, ensuring that they do not become a burden on the country's social assistance system. The sponsored spouse, on the other hand, must obey the laws of the country and meet the conditions of their permanent residency, such as not engaging in criminal activities or misrepresenting their identity.

Remember that while the second stage is crucial, it's essential for applicants and sponsors to be truthful throughout the process. Misrepresentation can lead to a ban from applying for five years. If there's any uncertainty, consulting with an immigration lawyer or consultant can provide clarity and guidance.

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