Changes to Spousal Sponsorship – 2017

Angela Princewill

January 24, 2017

Spousal sponsorship Canada Spousal Sponsorship 2017

In mid-December Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released a suite of changes to its spousal sponsorship application process. This is aimed at streamlining and simplifying these applications, with IRCC expecting processing times for spousal sponsorship to fall from up to 26 months currently to 12 months. This new 12-month processing standard will apply to 80% of new and existing applications. This amounts to some 64,000 applicants who are expected to benefit from this significantly improved processing time in 2017.

A key feature of these changes is the introduction by IRCC of a new application kit designed to facilitate faster and easier spousal applications, particularly by no longer requiring certain information at the time of visa application submission. Instead, requirements such as medical examinations and police checks are to be directly requested by IRCC later in the process. This new application kit also applies to sponsorship applications lodged from anywhere in the world, replacing the two previous kits for applications lodged respectively inside and outside of Canada.

In line with this simplification process, a brand new IRCC guide for spousal sponsorships has also been released which consolidates 180 pages from previous multiple guides into one 75-page guide for the entire spousal sponsorship process. Likewise, multiple IRCC spousal application checklists detailing the necessary forms and documents have been replaced with a new single checklist. Applicants are required to closely follow this new checklist, with applications being returned by IRCC if all required forms and documents on this are not provided at the time of application.

From February 1st 2017 all spousal sponsorship applications submitted to IRCC must use the newly released application kit. A main feature of this new mandatory kit is that applicants will be asked to link their submitted paper spousal sponsorship applications to an online account. This will enable applicants to receive electronic correspondence from IRCC and provide further information and requested documentation online. While the spousal sponsorship application process is being simplified, obtaining professional legal advice about your application at the outset of the process ensures the very best prospect of application success. Getting a spousal sponsorship application right the first time is particularly important as this visa program is traditionally over subscribed, with more applications than spousal sponsorship places available each year.

Further information on these changes to spousal sponsorship and the new application kit can be found on the Government of Canada’s website at the following links:

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