Spousal Sponsorship: Inland vs. Outland applications

Published on: August 3rd, 2023
Last updated: April 9th, 2024

Many people don’t realize that there are two distinct types of Canadian Spousal Sponsorship options, Inland and Outland. It’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of both. Make sure to read all the information in order to choose the best for you and your family.

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One of the main differences between both options is where you are living, but there are other important factors to consider. Depending on your situation, you may have the option to choose the best option for you, but which should you choose?


What is Inland & Outland Sponsorship?

If you’re thinking about sponsoring your spouse or partner to come to Canada, you will come across two different sponsorships. While they are very similar, they have also slightly different processes as well as pros and cons. For both options the sponsor must be Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Inland Sponsorship is for couples where your partner or principanl applicant is already living in Canada. Also the sponsored have to stay in the country throughout the whole application process. The couple must be living together and be classified as Spousal relationship or Common-law.

Outland Sponsorship is an option for those whose partner is living abroad. Unlike Inland, the sponsored doesn’t have to be living in Canada at the time of their application. Through outland sponsorship the sponsored can also leave the country as many times as needed. This is why some couples choose to apply for outland sponsorship even if they are already in Canada.


What are the Differences Between Inland & Outland Sponsorship?

One of the key benefits of Inland sponsorship is the possibility of the foreign partner obtaining an Open Work Permit. This allows them to work for a Canadian company while waiting for their permanent residency approval. Not only does this grant them the opportunity to contribute to the Canadian workforce, but it also provides financial stability. This can help the couple to build a new life while the application is being processed.

By choosing the Inland option, the couple will get to stay together in Canada throughout the application process. This can be a comforting and essential aspect, especially during times of uncertainty or prolonged waiting periods. Being together while anticipating a future in Canada, creates a stronger bond and eases the stress of the entire process.

On the contrary, the Outland sponsorship process allows your spouse or partner to leave the country if they need to. This option also gives them the chance to return to Canada as a visitor during the aplication procesing time. Typically when applying for Inland sponsorship, travel outside of the country is not recommended. Therefore Outland sponsorship can give greater freedom of travel. This can be particularly advantageous for couples with work or personal commitments that require periodic entry and exit from Canada.

Additionally, another advantage of outland sponsorships is the presence of appeal rights. In the event that your application is refused, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision. Whereas with Inland sponsorship, you do not have this same option. This gives a relief, knowing that you have recourse if your sponsorship is initially unsuccessful. You will have another chance to demonstrate the legitimacy of your relationship and eligibility for the program.

Can I Choose to Submit an Outland Application While In Canada?

There is no restriction that prevents you from opting for the outland option. Even if the sponsored is currently living in Canada, you can opt for this choice. Outland sponsorship might be preferred if the sponsored needs to travel outside the country. During the application process or for other personal reasons your partner will be able to leave Canada and return. Ultimately, the decision to choose to apply through the outland process while residing in Canada is based on the couple’s specific circumstances and preferences.

Why Would I Choose One Over Another?

To determine which option is most suitable for you and your partner, you must take into account different variables, like the sponsor and sponsored profiles, their places of residence, and the legal recognition of their marriage based on the country of residence.

In general, the inland sponsorship is appropriate for couples legally married in or outside of Canada, already residing in the country, and not planning to leave during the application process. It may also be a good option for common-law couples without a formal marriage document but with substantial evidence of a genuine relationship lasting over twelve months, sharing the same residence, and committed to a long-term future together.

Conversely, if the sponsor is not currently in Canada or requires travel outside the country during the application process, the outland process may be better. In this case, the couple still needs to demonstrate a committed relationship for over twelve months.

Each relationship is unique, and circumstances vary, so a detailed review and collection of relevant information are essential to choosing the best option. Achieving the goal of living together with your loved one requires careful consideration, and some couples seek guidance from certified immigration consultants or immigration attorneys.


Still unsure which option is best for you? Get matched with an immigration consultant to discuss your situation. Get started by taking our free assessment!

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