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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Spousal Sponsorship: How to Withdraw an Application in Canada

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Spousal sponsorship is a common method for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to help their foreign spouse or common-law partner obtain permanent residency in Canada. However, circumstances may change, and sponsors might need to withdraw their application before it is finalized.

Withdraw Spousal Sponsorship Application

Reasons for Withdrawing a Spousal Sponsorship Application

When it comes to withdrawing a spousal sponsorship application in Canada, there are various reasons why an individual might choose to do so:

  • Change in Relationship Status: One of the most common reasons is a change in the relationship status between the sponsor and the sponsored individual. This could be due to a breakup, divorce, or even reconciliation with a previous partner.

  • Financial Difficulties: The sponsor might face unexpected financial challenges, making them ineligible to support the sponsored individual.

  • Migration to Another Country: Either the sponsor or the sponsored individual might decide to migrate to another country, rendering the application irrelevant.

  • Errors in Application: Sometimes, applicants realize that there are errors in their application which might lead to rejection. To avoid this, they withdraw and reapply.

  • Change in Personal Circumstances: This could be due to health reasons, job changes, or other personal reasons that make the sponsorship no longer feasible.

  • Application Delays: Some applicants might get frustrated with the prolonged processing times and decide to withdraw their application.

  • Alternative Immigration Pathways: The sponsored individual might find another, faster or more suitable immigration pathway to Canada.

  • External Factors: Situations like global pandemics or political changes might influence the decision to withdraw.

  • Advice from Legal Counsel: After consulting with an immigration lawyer, some sponsors might decide that withdrawing the application is in their best interest.

  • Personal Choice: Sometimes, the reasons might be as simple as a change of mind.

The Process of Withdrawing the Application

Understanding the process of withdrawing a spousal sponsorship application is crucial for those considering this option:

  1. Written Notice: The first step is to send a written notice to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This notice should clearly state the intent to withdraw the application and provide reasons for the withdrawal.

  2. Include Necessary Details: The notice should have the full names, date of birth, address, and application number of both the sponsor and the sponsored individual.

  3. Application Status: If the application hasn't been approved yet, it's relatively straightforward to withdraw. However, if it's already approved, the process might be more complicated.

  4. Refunds: Depending on when the withdrawal is made, applicants might be eligible for a refund of some or all of the processing fees. It's essential to check the current IRCC guidelines on refunds.

  5. Impact on Future Applications: Withdrawing an application doesn't necessarily impact future applications. However, the reasons for withdrawal might be considered in future applications.

  6. Processing Time: Once the withdrawal request is sent, it might take some time for IRCC to process it. During this time, the application is still considered active.

  7. Confirmation: Once the withdrawal is processed, IRCC will send a confirmation notice to the applicant.

  8. Reapplication: If the sponsor wishes to reapply in the future, they might need to wait for a specific period or fulfill certain conditions.

  9. Legal Counsel: It's always a good idea to consult with an immigration lawyer or consultant before making the decision to withdraw. They can provide guidance on the implications and the best way forward.

  10. Alternative Pathways: If the reason for withdrawal is prolonged processing times or other issues with the spousal sponsorship program, applicants might want to explore other immigration pathways to Canada.

Implications of Withdrawing the Application

Withdrawing a spousal sponsorship application is a significant decision, and understanding its implications is crucial:

  1. Loss of Processing Fees: Depending on the stage of the application, you might not get a refund for the processing fees. It's essential to check the IRCC's refund policy to understand if you qualify for any refunds.

  2. Delay in Reapplication: If you decide to reapply after withdrawal, you might face delays. This is because you'll be starting the application process from scratch.

  3. Impact on the Sponsored Individual: The sponsored individual might have to leave Canada if their temporary status expires before a new application is approved.

  4. Documentation: All the documentation and effort put into the initial application will be nullified. This means gathering and submitting all the necessary documents again for any future applications.

  5. Reasons for Withdrawal: The reasons for your withdrawal might be scrutinized in any future applications. For instance, if the withdrawal was due to a breakup but you reapply later, the genuineness of the relationship might be questioned.

  6. Potential for Misrepresentation: If the reason for withdrawal is found to be false or misleading, it could be considered misrepresentation. This can lead to a ban from applying for Canadian immigration for five years.

  7. Emotional and Psychological Impact: The decision to withdraw can have emotional and psychological implications, especially if the sponsored individual has to leave Canada.

  8. Legal Implications: If the withdrawal is due to reasons like marriage fraud, there could be legal implications for both the sponsor and the sponsored individual.

  9. Impact on Other Immigration Applications: If the sponsored individual is also in the process of other immigration applications (like a work permit or study permit), the withdrawal might impact those applications.

  10. Permanent Record: The withdrawal will be on the permanent record of both the sponsor and the sponsored individual. This means it will be visible to IRCC in any future dealings.

Alternatives to Withdrawing the Application

Before deciding to withdraw a spousal sponsorship application, it's essential to consider the available alternatives:

  1. Consultation: Seek advice from an immigration lawyer or consultant. They might provide insights or solutions that you haven't considered.

  2. Addressing Application Errors: If the reason for considering withdrawal is errors in the application, it might be possible to address these errors through updates or additional documentation.

  3. Exploring Other Immigration Pathways: The sponsored individual might qualify for other immigration pathways, such as Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs, or work permits.

  4. Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): If the sponsored individual is in Canada and their current status is about to expire, they might be eligible for a BOWP, allowing them to work while the spousal sponsorship application is processed.

  5. Awaiting Decision: Sometimes, it might be best to wait for a decision on the current application rather than withdrawing. Processing times can vary, and a positive decision might be just around the corner.

  6. Addressing Financial Difficulties: If financial difficulties are the reason for considering withdrawal, seek advice on how to meet the necessary financial requirements. This might involve securing employment, obtaining financial support from family, or other means.

  7. Humanitarian and Compassionate Considerations: In some cases, it might be possible to apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

  8. Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): If inadmissibility is a concern, the sponsored individual might be eligible for a TRP, allowing them to stay in Canada temporarily.

  9. Appealing a Refusal: If you're considering withdrawal due to concerns about a potential refusal, remember that it's possible to appeal sponsorship refusals.

  10. Reassessing Relationship Status: If the relationship has faced challenges, consider seeking relationship counseling or support before deciding to withdraw the application.

How to Reapply After Withdrawal

If you've withdrawn a spousal sponsorship application but wish to reapply, here's what you need to know:

  1. Waiting Period: There's no mandatory waiting period to reapply after a withdrawal. However, it's essential to ensure that the reasons for the initial withdrawal won't impact the new application.

  2. New Application: You'll need to submit a new application, complete with all required documentation and fees.

  3. Addressing Previous Concerns: If the initial application had errors or issues, ensure they are addressed in the new application.

  4. Updated Documentation: Ensure that all documents, such as relationship evidence, are updated to reflect the current situation.

  5. Financial Eligibility: The sponsor must still meet the necessary financial requirements to support the sponsored individual.

  6. Genuineness of Relationship: Given the previous withdrawal, the genuineness of the relationship might be scrutinized more closely. Be prepared to provide substantial evidence of the relationship's authenticity.

  7. Consultation: Consider seeking advice from an immigration lawyer or consultant to ensure the new application is robust and addresses any potential concerns.

  8. Processing Times: Remember that processing times can vary, and reapplying doesn't guarantee a faster decision.

  9. Fees: Be prepared to pay the processing fees again. If you received a refund after the initial withdrawal, you would still need to pay the fees for the new application.

  10. Continuous Updates: Keep the IRCC updated on any changes in circumstances during the processing of the new application.

Impact on the Sponsored Individual's Status

The withdrawal of a spousal sponsorship application can have direct implications on the sponsored individual's status in Canada:

  1. Loss of Temporary Status: If the sponsored individual is in Canada with temporary status (e.g., visitor, student, or worker), the withdrawal might mean they need to leave once their current status expires.

  2. Ineligibility for Bridging Open Work Permit: A sponsored individual awaiting a decision on their spousal sponsorship application might be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). However, withdrawal could make them ineligible.

  3. Potential Overstay: If the sponsored individual doesn't leave Canada after their status expires post-withdrawal, they could be considered as overstaying, leading to potential future immigration complications.

  4. Bar from Re-entry: Overstaying or not complying with immigration conditions can result in a bar from re-entering Canada for a specified period.

  5. Impact on Other Applications: If the sponsored individual has other ongoing immigration applications, the withdrawal might affect their outcome.

  6. Loss of Access to Social Benefits: As a sponsored individual, they might have had access to certain social benefits. Withdrawal can lead to the loss of these benefits.

  7. Emotional and Psychological Impact: The uncertainty and potential need to leave Canada can have emotional and psychological effects on the sponsored individual.

  8. Financial Implications: The sponsored individual might face financial challenges, especially if they were relying on the sponsorship for their stay in Canada.

  9. Need for Legal Representation: In some cases, the sponsored individual might need legal representation to navigate the complexities post-withdrawal.

  10. Reapplication Challenges: If the sponsored individual wishes to return to Canada in the future, they might face challenges due to the withdrawal, especially if they overstayed or faced other issues.

Financial Implications of Withdrawing the Application

The decision to withdraw a spousal sponsorship application can also come with financial implications:

  1. Loss of Application Fee: Depending on when the application is withdrawn, you might not be eligible for a refund of the application fee.

  2. Cost of Reapplication: If you decide to reapply, you'll incur the costs associated with a new application.

  3. Loss of Income: If the sponsored individual was working or planning to work in Canada, the withdrawal could lead to a loss of potential income.

  4. Relocation Costs: The sponsored individual might incur costs related to relocating back to their home country or another destination.

  5. Legal Fees: If you seek legal advice or representation due to the withdrawal, you'll have to bear the associated costs.

  6. Loss of Non-refundable Expenses: This includes expenses like medical exams, police clearances, or other application-related costs that are non-refundable.

  7. Potential Penalties: If the withdrawal leads to legal complications, there might be financial penalties involved.

  8. Future Immigration Costs: If the sponsored individual seeks another immigration pathway to Canada, it will come with its associated costs.

  9. Loss of Social Benefits: The sponsored individual might lose access to certain social benefits in Canada, leading to potential financial challenges.

  10. Cost of Emotional and Psychological Impact: The stress and uncertainty can also have indirect financial implications, such as the need for counseling or therapy.

Addressing Concerns with the Application Without Withdrawing

Before deciding to withdraw, consider addressing concerns with the application:

  1. Provide Additional Documentation: If you believe there's insufficient evidence of the genuineness of the relationship, consider submitting more documents to support your case.

  2. Correcting Errors: If there are errors in the application, communicate with IRCC to see if they can be corrected without withdrawing.

  3. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an immigration lawyer or consultant to understand the best way to address concerns.

  4. Wait for a Decision: Sometimes, it's better to wait for a decision rather than preemptively withdrawing. You might be surprised by a positive outcome.

  5. Address Financial Concerns: If financial eligibility is a concern, gather more evidence of your financial stability and submit it.

  6. Use Case-specific Enquiry: If you have specific concerns, use the IRCC's case-specific enquiry form to communicate and seek clarity.

  7. Attend an Interview: If invited for an interview, it's an opportunity to address concerns directly and provide clarifications.

  8. Stay Updated: Ensure you're updated with any changes in the spousal sponsorship guidelines or requirements.

  9. Engage with Support Groups: Join forums or support groups where others share their experiences. Their insights might help address your concerns.

  10. Stay Positive: The immigration process can be stressful, but staying positive and proactive can make a difference.

The Role of Immigration Consultants and Lawyers

When navigating the complexities of withdrawing a spousal sponsorship application, the expertise of immigration consultants and lawyers can be invaluable:

  1. Expert Guidance: Immigration rules and regulations can be intricate. Professionals can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

  2. Error Correction: If the reason for considering withdrawal is errors in the application, a consultant or lawyer can advise on the best way to address them without necessarily withdrawing.

  3. Understanding Implications: They can help you understand the potential implications of withdrawal on both the sponsor and the sponsored individual.

  4. Alternative Solutions: Before deciding to withdraw, a consultant or lawyer might present alternative solutions or pathways you hadn't considered.

  5. Representation: If there are complications with the application, having a legal representative can be beneficial, especially if there are concerns about misrepresentation or fraud.

  6. Efficient Communication with IRCC: Professionals often have experience communicating with IRCC and can ensure that concerns are addressed efficiently.

  7. Appeals and Reviews: In case of a negative decision, an immigration lawyer can guide you through the process of appealing or seeking a judicial review.

  8. Cost-Benefit Analysis: They can help you understand the financial implications of withdrawing versus pursuing the application.

  9. Emotional Support: The process can be emotionally taxing. While their primary role is legal guidance, having someone knowledgeable can also offer emotional reassurance.

  10. Future Applications: If you decide to reapply or pursue a different immigration pathway, a consultant or lawyer can ensure that your new application is robust and addresses any potential concerns from the previous application.

Common Questions and Concerns about Withdrawal

When considering the withdrawal of a spousal sponsorship application, several questions and concerns might arise:

  1. Will withdrawal affect future applications? While the act of withdrawal itself doesn't necessarily impact future applications, the reasons for withdrawal might be considered in future assessments.

  2. Can I get a refund? Refunds depend on the stage of the application. If IRCC hasn't started processing, you might be eligible for a refund. However, once processing begins, refunds are typically not provided.

  3. How long does it take for the withdrawal to be processed? The time can vary. Once IRCC receives the withdrawal request, they'll send an acknowledgment, and the application will be closed soon after.

  4. Can I reapply immediately after withdrawal? Yes, there's no mandatory waiting period. However, it's crucial to address any issues from the previous application before reapplying.

  5. What happens if my partner is in Canada and we withdraw? If the sponsored individual is in Canada on temporary status, they might need to leave once that status expires unless they secure another valid status.

  6. Is withdrawal better than refusal? It depends on the situation. In some cases, addressing concerns without withdrawing might be better. In others, withdrawal and reapplication might be the best course of action.

  7. Can I change the principal applicant or sponsor in the application without withdrawing? Typically, you can't change the principal applicant or sponsor without withdrawing and submitting a new application.

  8. What if my circumstances change after withdrawal? If there's a significant change in circumstances after withdrawal, such as reconciliation, you can consider reapplying.

  9. Do I need to inform IRCC if I decide not to withdraw after sending a request? Yes, if you change your mind after sending a withdrawal request but before it's processed, inform IRCC immediately.

  10. Can I switch from spousal sponsorship to another immigration category without withdrawing? While you can apply for other immigration categories, each application is independent. The spousal sponsorship application would need to be withdrawn or seen through to a decision.

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