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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Spousal Sponsorship Application Returns - Reasons and Next Steps

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Spousal Sponsorship Applications can be a complex process, and many applicants face the challenge of having their applications returned. Understanding the common reasons can help applicants better prepare and avoid potential pitfalls.


Spousal Sponsorship Application Returns

Common Reasons for Spousal Sponsorship Application Return

Incomplete Forms: One of the most common reasons for application returns is incomplete forms.

  • Ensure every section of the form is filled out.

  • If a section doesn't apply, write "N/A" or "Not Applicable".

  • Double-check for signatures where required.

Insufficient Documentation: The immigration office requires specific documents to process the application.

  • Always refer to the checklist provided.

  • Ensure all documents are up-to-date and not expired.

  • Provide translations for non-English documents.

Financial Inadequacy: The sponsor must prove they can financially support the sponsored spouse.

  • This might include bank statements, employment letters, or tax returns.

  • Ensure the documents reflect a stable financial situation.

Invalid Marriage Certificate: The marriage certificate must be valid and recognized both in the country of issuance and in the country where the sponsorship is being applied.

  • Ensure the certificate is issued by a recognized authority.

  • If in doubt, seek legal advice.

Lack of Genuine Relationship Proof: The immigration office needs evidence that the relationship is genuine.

  • Photos, chat logs, and joint bills can be used as evidence.

  • Letters from friends and family can also support the claim.

Medical Inadmissibility: The sponsored spouse might be deemed medically inadmissible if they have a condition that could pose a burden on the country's health system.

  • It's essential to have a thorough medical examination by approved doctors.

  • Some conditions might require additional documentation or specialist reports.

Criminal Inadmissibility: Past criminal records can lead to application returns.

  • It's crucial to declare any past offenses.

  • Some offenses might require a waiver or rehabilitation application.

Incorrect Fees: Paying the wrong amount can lead to application delays or returns.

  • Always check the latest fee structure on the official website.

  • Ensure the payment method is accepted by the immigration office.

Using Outdated Forms: Immigration forms are updated periodically.

  • Always download forms from the official website to ensure they are the latest version.

  • Outdated forms can lead to automatic returns.

Lack of Representation: While not mandatory, having a legal representative or consultant can help navigate the complex process.

  • If choosing representation, ensure they are licensed and recognized.

  • They can help ensure the application is complete and meets all requirements.

Note (Observation based on personal experience, not citing any official sources): As of August 2023, the IRCC introduced updates to their online portal, leading to significant modifications in the submission process for Department Forms. Previously, the IRCC Application Guidelines indicated that digital signatures were not required during online submissions, as applicants would be providing digital consent and declaration. However, this protocol has been revised. Applications are now being returned due to missing signatures. Based on the latest guidelines, all departmental forms must be downloaded, filled out, and then "digitally signed" prior to uploading. Scanned versions of these forms are no longer acceptable.


How to Reapply After a Spousal Sponsorship Application Return

Receiving a returned application can be disheartening, but it's essential to understand that many applicants face this challenge. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to reapply:


Review the Return Letter: Before reapplying, carefully review the letter or notice sent by the immigration office.

  • This letter will specify the reasons for the return.

  • Understanding these reasons is crucial for a successful reapplication.

Gather Missing Documents: If the application was returned due to missing or insufficient documents, gather them as soon as possible.

  • Ensure they are up-to-date and valid.

  • If translations are required, get them from a recognized translator.

Fill Out the Forms Again: It's a good practice to fill out the forms again rather than using the returned ones.

  • Ensure all sections are completed.

  • Double-check for any errors or omissions.

Address Financial Concerns: If the return was due to financial inadequacy, take steps to address this.

  • This might involve securing employment, saving more money, or providing additional financial documents.

Seek Legal Advice: If the reasons for the return are complex, it might be beneficial to seek legal advice.

  • A lawyer or immigration consultant can provide guidance on how to address the concerns raised by the immigration office.

Repay the Fees: When reapplying, you'll need to repay the processing fees.

  • Check the latest fee structure to ensure the correct amount is paid.

Compile a Stronger Relationship Proof: If the return was due to doubts about the genuineness of the relationship, gather more evidence.

  • This can include more photos, joint bills, chat logs, and letters from friends and family.

Address Medical or Criminal Inadmissibility: If the sponsored spouse was deemed inadmissible due to medical or criminal reasons, address these concerns.

  • This might involve getting a waiver, undergoing rehabilitation, or providing specialist reports.

Use Updated Forms: Ensure you're using the latest version of the application forms.

  • Always download them from the official website.

Submit the Reapplication: Once everything is in order, submit the reapplication.

  • It's a good practice to keep copies of everything sent.

The Impact of Application Return on Processing Times

When a Spousal Sponsorship Application is returned, it can understandably lead to concerns about extended processing times. Here's what applicants need to know:


Reset of the Clock: A returned application essentially means the processing clock is reset.

  • The time taken for the initial application won't be considered in the new application's processing time.

Potential for Faster Processing: If the reasons for the return are addressed adequately, the reapplication might be processed faster.

  • This is because the immigration office already has a record of the initial application.

Peak Seasons: The time of year can impact processing times.

  • For instance, applications submitted during peak immigration seasons might face longer processing times.

Complexity of the Case: More complex cases, such as those with medical or criminal inadmissibility, might take longer to process.

  • It's essential to provide all necessary documentation to expedite the process.

Changes in Immigration Policies: Immigration policies and priorities can change.

  • Any changes can impact processing times, either speeding them up or causing delays.

Volume of Applications: The number of applications the immigration office receives can impact processing times.

  • Higher volumes might lead to longer waits.

Accuracy of the Reapplication: Ensuring the reapplication is accurate and complete can help in faster processing.

  • Incomplete or erroneous applications can lead to further delays.

External Factors: Sometimes, external factors, such as global events or diplomatic relations, can impact processing times.

  • While these are out of the applicant's control, it's good to be aware of them.

Local Office Capacities: Different immigration offices might have different processing capacities.

  • The location where the application is processed can impact the processing time.

Stay Updated: Always check the official immigration website for the latest processing times.

  • This can give applicants a rough idea of what to expect.

Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes in Spousal Sponsorship Applications

By being aware of common mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, applicants can increase their chances of success.


Double-Check All Information: A simple typo or oversight can lead to application returns.

  • Always review all forms and documents multiple times.

  • Consider having a second pair of eyes review the application.

Follow the Checklist: The immigration office usually provides a checklist for required documents.

  • Adhere to this checklist rigorously.

  • Ensure all documents are in the order as mentioned.

Provide Clear Photocopies: Any photocopies submitted should be clear and legible.

  • Avoid sending originals unless explicitly asked.

  • Ensure photocopies are of good quality.

Consistent Information: Ensure that the information provided is consistent across all forms and documents.

  • Discrepancies can raise red flags and lead to application returns.

Stay Updated on Policy Changes: Immigration policies can change.

  • Regularly check the official immigration website for any updates or changes.

  • Adjust the application accordingly.

Avoid Incomplete Financial Documentation: Financial stability is a crucial aspect of the sponsorship process.

  • Provide comprehensive financial documents.

  • Avoid sending partial or outdated financial records.

Provide Detailed Relationship Evidence: A common reason for application returns is doubts about the genuineness of the relationship.

  • Provide a diverse range of evidence, from photos to joint bills.

  • Consider including affidavits from friends and family.

Ensure Valid Translations: If submitting documents in a language other than English, ensure they are accompanied by valid translations.

  • Use recognized translators.

  • Include the translator's credentials.

Respond Promptly to Requests: If the immigration office requests additional information or documents, respond promptly.

  • Delays can prolong the processing time and might lead to doubts about the application's validity.

Stay Organized: Keeping all documents and forms organized can streamline the application process.

  • Consider using a binder or folder to keep everything in order.

  • Label sections for easy reference.

The Role of Immigration Consultants in Spousal Sponsorship Applications

Immigration consultants can play a pivotal role in the Spousal Sponsorship Application process. Here's how they can assist:


Expertise in Immigration Laws: Immigration consultants have a deep understanding of immigration laws and policies.

  • They can provide guidance on complex cases.

  • Their expertise can help navigate the intricate application process.

Application Review: Before submission, consultants can review the application.

  • They can identify potential pitfalls or errors.

  • Their review can increase the chances of a successful application.

Document Gathering: Consultants can provide a detailed list of required documents.

  • They can advise on the validity and adequacy of the documents.

  • Their guidance can ensure a comprehensive application.

Addressing Inadmissibility Issues: If there are concerns about medical or criminal inadmissibility, consultants can provide guidance.

  • They can advise on waivers or rehabilitation processes.

  • Their expertise can help address these complex issues.

Representation: In some cases, consultants can represent applicants in dealings with the immigration office.

  • This representation can be beneficial in complex cases.

  • They can communicate directly with the immigration office on the applicant's behalf.

Staying Updated: Immigration consultants stay updated on policy changes and updates.

  • They can adjust the application based on the latest policies.

  • Their knowledge ensures the application adheres to the latest requirements.

Assistance with Reapplications: If an application is returned, consultants can assist with the reapplication process.

  • They can address the reasons for the return.

  • Their guidance can increase the chances of a successful reapplication.

Ethical Standards: Recognized immigration consultants adhere to a code of ethical standards.

  • They provide honest and transparent services.

  • Applicants can trust their guidance.

Time-saving: Using an immigration consultant can save time.

  • They can streamline the application process.

  • Their expertise can reduce the chances of returns or delays.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that a professional is handling the application can provide peace of mind.

  • Applicants can be assured that their application is in good hands.

  • The consultant can handle any challenges that arise.

The Financial Implications of a Returned Spousal Sponsorship Application

A returned Spousal Sponsorship Application can have various financial implications. Here's a breakdown:


Additional Documentation Costs: Addressing the reasons for the return might involve obtaining additional documents.

  • This can include costs for obtaining new documents, translations, or certifications.

Legal or Consultation Fees: If applicants choose to seek legal advice or hire an immigration consultant for the reapplication, there will be associated fees.

  • It's essential to discuss and understand these fees upfront.

Potential Loss of Income: If the sponsored spouse had plans to work upon arrival, a delay in the application process could lead to a potential loss of income.

  • This can impact the financial planning of the couple.

Travel Costs: If the sponsored spouse had made travel arrangements based on the expected approval of the application, a return might lead to changes in travel plans.

  • This can involve cancellation fees or rebooking costs.

Accommodation Costs: Delays in the application process might lead to extended accommodation costs.

  • If the sponsored spouse was living in temporary accommodation awaiting approval, they might need to extend their stay.

Communication Costs: Addressing the reasons for the return might involve increased communication with the immigration office.

  • This can include costs for postage, courier services, or international calls.

Emotional Costs: While not a direct financial implication, the stress and uncertainty of a returned application can have emotional costs.

  • This can impact the well-being of the couple and might lead to additional expenses, such as counseling.

Future Financial Planning: A delay in the sponsorship approval can impact the couple's future financial planning.

  • This can include delays in purchasing property, making investments, or other financial decisions.

Navigating the Spousal Sponsorship Application process can be intricate, with various potential challenges along the way. From understanding the reasons for application returns to ensuring the genuineness of the relationship, every step requires careful attention to detail. By being well-informed and proactive, applicants can significantly increase their chances of a successful application. Whether you're embarking on this journey alone or seeking the guidance of a professional, always remember the importance of thoroughness, honesty, and consistency.

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