Immigration processes are always challenging, and inland spousal sponsorship (sponsoring a partner who already lives in Canada) is no exception.
In fact, policy changes earlier this year have paid the process harder than ever. Inland spouse sponsorship lasts for two lengthy stages: assessment within Canada, and background checks in former countries of residence.
Stage 1: Assessment within Canada
Your spouse will have had to arrive in Canada before this stage can begin. If that is not possible, your spouse will have to apply through his or her home country.
It takes approximately 8 months to one year for this stage to be processed. After the first stage of the process, the spouse will be cleared to reside in Canada and may apply for a work permit while the immigration authorities continue the processing of the application.
Stage 2: Assessment in Other Countries
The second stage of the process takes approximately one year. In this stage the application for permanent residence of the foreign spouse is assessed. This stage will assess if there are any reasons why your spouse should not be allowed in Canada. These can include: a criminal record, ties to organized crime, relationships with hate groups, or suspicions of terrorist activity.
While waiting for this stage to process, your spouse can obtain an open work permit which will allow him or her to work for any employer, or can obtain a study permit to attend a school in Canada.
It’s always advisable to seek the assistant of an experienced lawyer throughout these steps. Working with an immigration professional is your best bet in obtaining permanent Canadian residence for your spouse!