Couples wishing to apply for spousal (or common law) sponsorship are often faced with a dilemma. Should they use the in-Canada method or the out-of-Canada method?
6 things to consider when choosing between in-Canada and out-of-Canada spousal sponsorship
Can the foreign spouse or partner enter Canada? Are the spouses currently in Canada? If the answer is no, then ask, Is the foreign spouse legally allowed to enter Canada? If the answer to that question is no, then an out-of-Canada application is the only way to go.
Will one or both spouses be spending a significant period of time outside of Canada while the sponsorship Canada application is being processed? If the answer is yes, then an in-Canada application may prove difficult. An in-Canada sponsorship application can be submitted if both spouses are currently residing in Canada. However, if the sponsoring spouse is spending most of his or her time living outside of Canada, say for work, then Citizenship and Immigration Canada may take the position that the couple is not actually residing in Canada.
What are the different processing times for in-Canada vs. out-of-Canada sponsorship applications? When considering processing times, you must consider processing times for both first stage and second stage approvals. For the first stage, CIC is considering the application of the sponsor. When the sponsor is approved in principle, then CIC considers the application of the person being sponsored (the foreign spouse) in the second stage. Second stage applications processed through certain overseas visa offices may end up languishing for months or even years.
Does the foreign spouse need to be able to work (in Canada) within a short period of time? If the foreign spouse needs to be able to work within Canada in a relatively short period of time, then an in-Canada application may be the way to go. Currently, CIC has a pilot program that enables many in-Canada sponsored spouses to apply for an open work permit, and to receive that open work permit in as little as 4 months.
Does the couple want the right to appeal? Does the couple want to avoid a “problem” visa office? With an overseas sponsorship application, the couple maintains the right to appeal a negative decision. This right does not exist in the case of in-Canada applications. However, the spouse may still have the ability to judicially review a negative in-Canada decision.
Is either sponsorship process even possible? For a couple currently living overseas, the only possible application is an out-of-Canada sponsorship. However, for many couples, even an out-of-Canada sponsorship will be possible. If a sponsor cannot demonstrate an intention to reside in Canada, then that person cannot sponsor a spouse for permanent residence.