How Long Does Spousal Sponsorship Take in Canada?

Published on: August 24th, 2023
Last updated: January 19th, 2024

Discover the timeline of Canada’s spousal sponsorship process, from meticulous preparation to efficient verification and processing times. Explore the key phases to ensure a smooth and timely family reunification experience.


Preparing for Your Spousal Sponsorship Application

Before you start, it’s important to do some key prep work that can greatly impact how smoothly it goes. First and foremost, thorough preparation is crucial. Make sure to collect all the needed documents well ahead of time. These usually include marriage certificates, passports, and other documents that prove who you are and your relationship. It’s really important to check that they are up-to-date and easy to get to when you need to send them.

Also, being precise when you fill out the application forms is important. You need to answer every question on the form accurately and completely. If you forget to include something or make a mistake, it could cause problems later. Plus, it’s crucial to check if you qualify for spousal sponsorship before you start. Knowing the criteria and making sure you meet them can save you time and trouble.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is how long the process takes. From the time you start preparing until you get a response from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), sponsorship applications usually take about 10 months. Your application package has to be completed before you send it in. That means you’ve answered all the questions, shown you paid the fees, and included all the forms and documents needed. If you forget something, it could cause big delays or even lead to your application being rejected. So, getting everything ready carefully is your first and most important step to a successful journey.

Understanding the Sponsorship Applications Process

Beyond the verification process, several factors affect the overall processing timeline. These include government processing speed, the processing times for different sponsorship categories submitted, its completeness, ease of information verification by officers, and your responsiveness to requests and concerns. These factors collectively influence the duration of your spousal sponsorship journey.

General Processing Speed

Once you’ve carefully gathered and sent in all the needed forms and documents, you’ll be waiting for a decision. The time it takes from when you send these important materials to when immigration officials make their final decision can vary a lot, from 10 to 25 months. Usually, it’s not more than 12 months, but sometimes it might take longer, especially if your case is complicated.

This processing timeline includes some important things. It considers how long it takes for the person you’re sponsoring to give their biometrics, the assessment of both you and the sponsored person, and checking that all the eligibility requirements are met. It’s important to know that if your case is complex or the visa office needs more proof of your relationship, it might take even longer. So, being patient and careful is important during this time, and understanding your unique situation can help you manage expectations and possible delays.

Processing Times in Quebec

There are unique things that can make the processing times different in Quebec. This province has its own way of handling immigration, and they only allow a certain number of family sponsorships each year. This means they limit how many families can reunite in Quebec. If more people want to come than there are spots available, it can take longer to process your application compared to other provinces in Canada. So, if you’re considering sponsoring a spouse in Quebec, it’s good to know about this and be ready for the possibility that it might take more time. Understanding these things specific to the region can help you get ready for longer wait times and know what to expect when you apply.

Processing Times for Different Sponsorship Categories

The Canadian government has compiled historical processing times for the different spousal sponsorship categories to provide you with a clearer picture of what to expect during your immigration journey. These timelines can serve as valuable reference points for prospective sponsors and their loved ones. Please note that these processing times are subject to change and can vary based on individual circumstances, but they offer a general overview:

    • Spouse or Common-Law Partner Inside Canada (Applying for Residence in Any Province, Excluding Quebec): A processing time of approximately 10 months is typically observed for this category.

    • Spouse or Common-Law Partner Inside Canada (Applying for Residence in Quebec): The processing period for individuals residing in Quebec can extend to around 25 months, reflecting the unique immigration dynamics of the province.

    • Spouse or Common-Law Partner Outside Canada (Applying for Residence in All Provinces, Excluding Quebec): For applicants residing outside of Canada, the processing timeline generally hovers around 13 months.

    • Spouse or Common-Law Partner Inside Canada (Applying for Residence in Quebec): Those already living in Quebec should anticipate a processing time of approximately 24 months.

These processing times are meant to offer guidance and context, but it’s crucial to remember that individual cases can vary, and other factors may influence the outcome. Stay informed and prepared as you embark on your spousal sponsorship journey, keeping these estimations in mind as you progress through the process.

Documents and Verification in Sponsorship

The Canadian government places a strong emphasis on information verification in the spousal sponsorship process to ensure the integrity of the immigration system and prioritize legitimate cases. This rigorous process speeds up decision-making, enhances the system’s credibility, and distinguishes genuine applicants from potentially fraudulent ones, promoting fairness.

The verification process involves multiple layers of scrutiny, including document examination, relationship interviews, background checks, reference letters, and even digital investigations. Officers carefully review supporting documents like marriage certificates and passports, ensuring their authenticity and accuracy in representing the applicants’ relationships. Additionally, relationship interviews and reference letters provide valuable insights into the authenticity of the relationships. Background checks are conducted to identify any serious criminal records that might disqualify applicants.

The government also utilizes online and social media investigations to gather evidence, such as shared photos and interactions, to corroborate the authenticity of relationships. Biometric data, including fingerprints and photographs, may be collected for identity verification. Home visits and immigration interviews may also be conducted to assess eligibility, relationship genuineness, and adherence to Canadian immigration laws.

Responsiveness: Your Role During the Waiting Period

There are proactive steps you can take to stay informed and ensure a smooth process:

Check Your Application Status: Regularly monitoring your application status is key to staying updated on its progress. Your can do this through the government platform, providing you with valuable insights into where your application stands.

Keep Your Information Current: Ensure that your contact details and application information remain up to date on the government platform. This ensures that you are easy to reach if needed and that your application reflects accurate and current information.

Use the Web Form for Updates: Should any changes occur in your application or circumstances, don’t hesitate to use the web form to inform Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This open line of communication ensures that any modifications or updates are duly noted, contributing to a transparent and efficient application process.

By following these proactive measures, you play an active role in the progress of your spousal sponsorship application. This facilitates a smoother journey toward reuniting with your loved ones in Canada.

The Final Step: Awaiting a Response

After you’ve completed all the previous step, the last thing to do is wait for a response from IRCC. If they approve your sponsorship, IRCC will send your permanent residence application to the right office. They’ll then decide if the person you’re sponsoring can become a permanent resident in Canada.

However, if your sponsorship is declined, don’t worry. IRCC will explain why either in an email or a letter, giving you a clear reason for the decision. This response marks the end of the sponsorship process and provides the final answer to your application.

To sum up, navigating the spousal sponsorship process is a significant journey. This journey brings families closer and opens doors to new beginnings in Canada. Ensuring your application is meticulously prepared and submitted correctly from the outset can significantly impact the processing timeline. Remember, you don’t have to undertake this journey alone. The experienced legal professionals at Canadim have assisted countless individuals in the spousal sponsorship route. Successfully reuniting them with their loved ones in Canada.


Take our free online assessment and let Canadim guide you through your sponsorship application. Begin your journey with us now!



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