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9 Common Spousal Sponsorship Application Mistakes

Are you considering applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada? The process of spousal sponsorship in Canada can be complex and confusing. But with the right knowledge and preparation, you can avoid common mistakes that can delay or even derail your spousal sponsorship application.

Unsure if you qualify as a sponsor or an applicant? Use our FREE Sponsorship Evaluation Tool to check your eligibility to sponsor or be sponsored to become a Canadian Permanent Resident.

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Spousal Sponsorship Mistakes

1) Applying Without Being Eligible


When it comes to applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada, there are several common mistakes that can lead to your application being denied or delayed. Here are some of the most common spousal sponsorship mistakes and how you can avoid them.


You can apply for a spousal sponsorship if you meet the following eligibility requirements as a sponsor:

  • You as a sponsor are at least 18 years of age.

  • You are a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen.

  • You - the sponsor is not in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence; and

  • You yourself were not sponsored to become a permanent resident of Canada in the last 5 years. If it has been over 5 years since you were sponsored, then you can apply to become a sponsor.


Additionally, to apply to become a sponsor, an individual must not:

  • have failed to pay an immigration loan or family support payments,

  • have failed to support a previously sponsored relative,

  • be under a removal order,

  • be in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison,

  • receive social assistance for reasons other than a disability,

  • have filed for bankruptcy without receiving an 'order of discharge' by the court,

  • have sponsored another spouse/partner previously and three years have not passed since the sponsored spouse/partner became a Canadian permanent resident,

  • have already applied to sponsor his or her current spouse/partner/child and a decision was not yet made on the submitted application, or

  • have been convicted of a violent or sexual offense or an offense that caused, attempted to cause, or threatened to cause bodily harm to a relative.


In addition, individuals must have been granted permanent residency status for at least five years before submitting a spousal sponsorship application. Failure to meet any of these criteria can result in your application being denied.

To check your eligibility, you can use the sponsorship eligibility tool provided on our website.

2) Failing to meet minimum necessary income requirements to sponsor a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner in Canada.


Another common spousal sponsorship mistake is failing to meet the minimum necessary income requirements to sponsor a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner in Canada. Although there isn't an income requirement to sponsor your spouse or partner or dependent child, you should always demonstrate that you have the capability to support their basic needs for at least the initial 6 months of them becoming a Canadian permanent resident..

So, when do I need to show proof that I meet the minimum necessary income requirements to sponsor my spouse or partner for a Canadian permanent residence?

You need to show that you have enough money to meet the income requirements if:

  • you’re sponsoring a dependent child that has 1 or more dependent children of their own, or

  • you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner that has a dependent child, and their dependent child has 1 or more children of their own.


Having said that, since you as the sponsor are financially responsible towards your spouse/common-law or conjugal partner, you should always demonstrate that you have the capability to support their basic needs for at least the initial 6 months of them becoming a Canadian permanent resident.

You can learn more about the income requirements for spousal sponsorship on the first stage approval of spousal sponsorship application page.

What are the basic needs that a sponsor needs to support while submitting a spousal sponsorship application?


Basic needs are:

  • food, clothing, shelter, and other needs for everyday living,

  • dental care, eye care and other health needs that aren’t covered by public health services.


Those who reside in Quebec

You must meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements after we approve you as a sponsor. You must sign an undertaking with the province of Quebec.


Your income will be evaluated by the Quebec ministry in charge of immigration.


How can I demonstrate that I meet the financial requirements to apply for spousal sponsorship for Canada?

Although you may be exempt from the minimum income requirement for spouse sponsorship visa, you must still avoid financial inadmissibility.


According to section 39 of IRPA:


A foreign national is inadmissible for financial reasons if they are or will be unable or unwilling to support themselves or any other person who is dependent on them, and have not satisfied an officer that adequate arrangements for care and support, other than those that involve social assistance, have been made.

Here is a list of documents you can provide to show financial stability while submitting your sponsorship application:

  1. Letter of employment. A full-time employment even at minimum wage is acceptable.

  2. Salary slips or paystubs

  3. Notice of Assessment (NOA) and tax return documents

  4. Proof of liquid assets, such as money held in a bank account

  5. Proof of other assets such as ownership of land, home, or a commercial space in Canada.

3) Not Providing Sufficient Proof of Relationship


When applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada, it is essential to provide sufficient evidence that your relationship is genuine and ongoing. If you fail to provide enough proof of your relationship, it can result in your application being refused. When completing the spousal sponsorship application, make sure that you submit all the necessary documents, such as copies of shared bills, joint leases, photos together, and other forms of correspondence.


You must also include copies of documents that prove the termination of any prior relationships and be prepared to answer questions about how you met, how long you have been together, and how often you communicate. Providing a thorough timeline of events will help demonstrate that your relationship is real and strong. Without enough evidence, your application may be rejected and your dreams of coming to Canada delayed.

Click here to check the type of evidence that is acceptable as proof of relationship for spouse, common-law or conjugal partner sponsorship in Canada.

4) Incorrectly Completing the Application


When applying for spousal sponsorship, it is essential to ensure that all sections of the application are properly and accurately filled out. If a section does not apply to you, write “Not Applicable” or “NA”. If more space is needed to answer any questions, include an additional page with the appropriate section, complete it and upload it with your application. Failing to do so can cause serious delays in the processing of your application and even lead to its rejection.

Before submitting your application for spousal sponsorship in Canada, make sure that you have met all the spouse visa Canada requirements. Some of these requirements include proving that the sponsor is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, providing proof that the couple has a genuine relationship and demonstrating that the sponsor has a minimum income level that meets the requirements to sponsor a spouse in Canada. Furthermore, applicants must also pass a medical examination and provide all the necessary documents to be considered for spousal sponsorship.

You should also be careful about the format and the size of any documents that you are uploading in case you are submitting an online spousal sponsorship application for Canada.

  • All uploaded files must be under 4MB in size. If you have high-resolution images, you will likely encounter some difficulties.

  • IRCC expects you to combine multiple documents into a single file. For instance, if you have more than 20 pictures that you want to submit, it is best that you combine all pictures into 1 pdf file of less than 4mb in size. You can however submit multiple files of more than 20 images each as well.


Another example would be to combine all financial documents together and share as 1 file.


Similarly, if you are submitting your marriage certificates from multiple countries or authorities, its best to combine them into 1 file as well.


Note: You can not upload excel documents as a part of your IRCC online application. The only acceptable formats are:

PDF format

Save your PDF using the “lowest file size” option available.


JPG format


  • Re-size the image to reduce the size of the image.

  • While scanning, reduce the output file size to less than 96 DPI.

  • Reduce the JPG image quality.


TIFF and PNG format


  • Re-size the image to reduce the size of the image.

  • While scanning, reduce the output file size to less than 96 DPI.


DOC and DOCX format


  • Remove images, formatting, and macros that are superfluous.

  • Reduce the file size of any images prior to including them in the document.


Prepare your application in advance, as you may be surprised by the file requirements once you reach the uploading phase. This will allow you to address any concerns and still submit your application by the deadline.


Some common documents for family sponsorship as well as spouse and common-law partner sponsorship applications:


Marriage certificates

  • For spousal sponsorships, be sure to submit your application with a current marriage certificate or other documentation of your marriage's registration (see checklist details). The document(s) you give must demonstrate that the marriage was legitimately registered with the local authorities.

  • As evidence that the sponsor and applicant are wed, a record of solemnization (obtained in Canada) or marriage license will not be accepted.


Note: If any document is not a government issued document, it's best to get them notarized from a licensed professional.

Proof of identity documents

  • Proof of identity is an important part of an application to become a permanent resident:

    • Carefully review the checklist sections on identity documents, travel documents, and passports.

    • Make sure you submit a copy of your birth certificate, and (if you have included dependents in your application) the birth certificates of your family members.

    • You application package will be returned if you do not provide all the documents requested.

    • If you are unable to submit a document, you must include a detailed explanation of why you are unable to submit this document so that your application is not automatically returned to you.


You can find more information about how to correctly complete the application on the how to track spousal sponsorship Canada application status - a comprehensive guide page.


IRCC’s Document labelling and naming convention

Another important thing to note is the recommended document labelling procedure or the naming convention:

  • Please use the following naming convention when labelling your documents: "Last Name - First Name – Document type - #." For example: "Wong - John - Proof of Education -1."

  • Please make sure your documents are labelled properly. For example, if you upload a picture of your child, you should label the file so that it includes the name of that child.

  • File names can only contain the following characters: "A-Z" "a-z" "0-9" "-" "_" "."

  • Photos: The back of one (1) photo must contain the following and must be uploaded.

  • bear the date the photo was taken;

  • bear the name and date of birth of the subject, as well as the name and complete address of the photography studio;

  • The photographer may use a stamp or handwrite this information.

  • Accepted file types: Only PDF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, DOC, and DOCX are accepted.

  • Accepted file size: File size should be 4mb maximum and photos should be 420x540 pixels minimum.

  • Select your document type and upload.

5) Forgetting to Include Important Documents


When applying for a Spousal Sponsorship to Canada, it is important to include all the necessary documents to have a successful application. Applicants must meet the spouse visa Canada requirements and provide the necessary documentation needed to sponsor their spouse to Canada. Failure to include any of the required documents may result in your application being rejected or delayed.


Some of the most common documents forgotten are financial records such as bank statements, proof of income, or proof of assets. You must provide evidence that you meet the requirements to sponsor a spouse in Canada by providing current financial documents. It is also important to include your marriage certificate and proof of your relationship such as photos, emails, phone bills, etc. Not including these documents can lead to delays in processing and possibly a denied application.


Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you have included all the required documents before submitting your application to avoid any delays or issues with processing. Meeting the spouse visa Canada requirements and providing all the necessary documents is the best way to ensure a successful application.


Whether you are submitting a spousal, common-law or conjugal partner sponsorship application, make sure to make the applicable selections on the respective document checklist that you need to submit. A majority of the people forget to include the Country Specific Information and their application to sponsor is therefore returned.

6) Not Paying the Application Fee


One of the most common mistakes to avoid when applying for spousal sponsorship in Canada is failing to pay the application fee. It is important to ensure that you have paid the full application fee before submitting your spousal sponsorship application. Failure to pay the application fee will result in the application being returned without any processing and can lead to unnecessary delays in the processing time. Make sure to include all necessary payment documents with your application in order to avoid having it returned.


When submitting a permanent residence application to Canada, it’s recommended that you include the right of permanent residence fee along with your application fee and any other fee component applicable to your application. If you do not include and pay all necessary fee, it will cause unnecessary delay in processing your application.


Note: Always include the fee payment receipt with your application submission to IRCC. Do not assume that IRCC will automatically receive your fee once you have made an online payment.

7) Medical Exams - Failure to provide medical reports for dependent family members

The medical examination is one of the most important spouse visa Canada requirements that all family members need to meet in order to be approved for spousal sponsorship in Canada. It is required for everyone, including any dependent children, who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The medical exam is conducted by a physician approved by the Canadian government and its purpose is to assess whether the applicant is in good health and doesn’t pose a risk to public safety or health in Canada.


The medical exam must be completed before submitting your application or as instructed, and any failure to do so can result in your application being rejected. Additionally, if you do not declare any of your family members who need to complete the medical exam, this could affect your ability to sponsor them in the future.


All of your family members (who are not already a Canadian citizen or permanent resident) need to pass a medical exam, even if they aren’t applying to come to Canada with you. Failure to declare and have family members examined will affect your application, and your ability to sponsor them in the future.

If you have a dependent child who is a minor and you have joint or sole custody, that child is considered a dependent. The child will need a medical exam even if they live with the other parent and won’t be coming with you to Canada.

Note: IRCC only accepts medical reports/examinations done by an approved panel physician. Ensure you follow this guideline to avoid delays or refusal.

8) Submitting an Incomplete Application

Do not send an incomplete application package to IRCC. Your package will be returned and adding further delay in the outcome. It is critical to understand the spouse visa requirements for Canada before applying and double-check that all relevant information and documents are included in the application.

Additionally, avoid mistakes such as typos on forms, incorrect personal information about yourself or your sponsor, or sending original documents when they are not required by Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Ensure that all copies of the documentation provided are clear and easily legible before submitting them. For those applying under the Family Class sponsorship program, sponsors must be aware of their eligibility requirements as well as the requirements of their spouse/partner, before applying.

Lastly, all forms must be filled out completely, honestly, and accurately to avoid delays or a refusal of the sponsorship process. It is important to understand all the requirements for sponsoring my spouse to Canada before submitting a spousal sponsorship application.

Note: The processing time only starts the day IRCC receives your complete application.

9) Providing False Information – Misrepresentation


When you apply for a spousal sponsorship in Canada, it is important to provide accurate and truthful information. Any attempt to provide false information or documents to the IRCC is misrepresentation and is a serious crime.


Misrepresentation includes providing false or misleading information about yourself, your spouse visa requirements, or any other information related to your application. This includes providing incorrect documents or documents that have been altered. Any attempt to deceive the IRCC will lead to serious consequences, including being barred from Canada for five years or even criminal prosecution.


When applying to sponsor your spouse to Canada, make sure that all the documents and information you provide are accurate and up to date. Double-check all the requirements to sponsor your spouse in Canada and make sure that you meet all of them. It is also important that any documents you submit are valid, correct, and verifiable. Failing to provide accurate information may result in your application being rejected or delayed.


Document fraud can involve either false or altered documents, such as:

  • passports and travel documents

  • visas

  • diplomas, degrees, and apprenticeship or trade papers

  • certificates of birth, marriage, final divorce, annulment, separation, or death and

  • police certificates


Lying on an application or in an interview with an IRCC officer, is considered fraud. It is a crime.


If you send false documents or information, your application will be refused, and you may also:

  • be forbidden from entering Canada for at least 5 years

  • given a permanent record of fraud with IRCC

  • be stripped of your status as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen

  • be charged with a crime or

  • removed from Canada altogether

10) Other reasons for refusal of sponsorship application


A) Using Outdated forms

IRCC updates its application forms all the time. As the immigration environment changes, they may need to obtain new information from applicants as frequently as once a year. If you use an outdated version, especially one from several years ago, IRCC may return your application with the request that you use the most recent version of that form.

Here’s how to find out if you’re using the most recent version of the form.

On the bottom left-hand corner of the pages of each form you’ll find the IMM form number (for example, IMM 1344) and the date which indicates when this form was updated.

Additionally you can cross-check the date in the bottom left-hand corner against the date of the latest update of IMM forms at IRCC’s webpage by clicking here.

B) Incorrectly answering questions on application forms

This is a frustratingly common error that often results from an applicant's misunderstanding of key terms.

C) Leaving Blanks on the Application Form

Never leave a blank question field. Type or print N/A (not applicable) if the question does not apply to you. If you leave a question blank, immigration officials will contact you to obtain the missing information and will generally return your application as incomplete. This frequently results in three-month delays, even in the best of circumstances. 

Need help in applying for Sponsorship? Hire an authorized paid representative.

IMMERGITY Immigration Consultant are very experienced with the application process and can help you navigate the system. We will also provide valuable insights and tips on how to increase your chances of success. Get in touch now.

If you're thinking of hiring a representative, be sure to check that they're authorized by IRCC. You can verify our credentials by clicking here.

Hiring a representative is not required, but it can be helpful, especially if you're not familiar with the application process. If you decide to hire a representative, be sure to choose someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable working with. 

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