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What to Do if Your Spousal Sponsorship to Canada Has Been Declined

Spousal sponsorship to Canada requires an in-depth application procedure.

Here’s a short summary of what that process entails.

Application Process

The two-step procedure is as follows:

  • The spouse who is already a Canadian citizen must first apply to become a sponsor.
  • After the sponsorship is approved, the foreign spouse or partner must then apply for permanent residence based on this sponsorship.

Most of the communication with the immigration authorities will be written, though a face-to-face interview with the sponsored applicant is sometimes needed.

Apart from ensuring that the applicant is admissible to Canada, i.e. has no criminal record and there are no other security concerns, etc., the immigration authorities will assess whether they believe the relationship between the sponsor and the applicant is genuine, or whether it is simply to facilitate the immigration of the foreign national to Canada.  If there is an inadmissibility or if the immigration authorities decide that the relationship is not genuine, they will refuse the application.

Denial of Application

Sometimes the answer from the immigration authorities is not positive and the application has been denied. While this is discouraging, there is an option for an appeal, though it’s important to keep in mind that an appeal must be made within 30 days of the receipt of the denial notification.

The appeal should be made to the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Appeals Process

If you are appealing to the Immigration Appeal Division, you should be prepared to attend a hearing. This hearing may be in person or conducted via teleconference.

At the hearing you will be able to:

  • Present new evidence that supports your case.
  • Testify on your own behalf.
  • Call on witnesses to support your stance.
  • Have legal representation.

After the hearing, the IAD will make a decision about whether or not the denial was made legally and if it should be overturned.

If the denial is overturned, your case will be sent back to be re-examined with the new decision referenced. If the denial is upheld, you can appeal the IAD decision in the federal court, which can take anywhere from six months to a year.

The appeals process, at the Immigration Appeals Division level or at the federal level, is not something that you should try to handle on your own. You will need the expertise of a lawyer who frequently deals with cases such as yours and who knows how to lead you through the process.


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