What are the changes to the spousal sponsorship program?
IRCC has made changes in the spousal sponsorship programs in order to reduce processing times and make the application hassle-free for those in Canada and overseas.
A single application package for all applicants
Previously, you had to download different application packages depending on whether you are applying in Canada or overseas. However, the IRCC has made a single application package for all spousal sponsorship applicants.
A revised basic guide
The previous guide was very detailed with 180 pages and it was different for applicants overseas and those in Canada. The current guide has 75 pages and it’s the only one. The guide lists the steps that you need to follow to make the application.
Personalized document checklist
Previously there were 14 guides and checklists but this has been revised to a single checklist. The IRCC has now created a checklist that can be used by all applicants of spousal sponsorship. The checklist you need to use will depend on who is being sponsored. This checklist allows you to know which forms and documents you need to submit.
A new relationship questionnaire
The IRCC has also created a new questionnaire that has fewer questions and is easier to understand. Previously, there were 3 relationship questionnaires together with a sponsorship evaluation form that needed to be used. Now there is only one relationship and sponsorship form.
Previously it was required to provide medical exams and police certificates upfront in a spousal sponsorship application. Now applicants no longer need to submit their medical exams together with the application. They will be required later in the process. The IRCC will send instructions on when the medical exam is required.
The IRCC requires applicants to submit police certificates either from the country where they currently reside or from a country where they spent at least six months since reaching the age of 18. If other police certificates are needed, the IRCC will request for them.
The person that is being sponsored to immigrate to Canada can access their information online through the IRCC account. Using this account, the person can get all the instructions of any other documents that need to be submitted. The online account also allows the person being sponsored to see their application status in real time. Through this online account, sponsored applicants can get messages from the IRCC.
Previously you had to wait for up to 26 months for your sponsorship application to be processed by the IRCC. Now processing time has been reduced to 12 months. The exact time your application will take to be processed may also depend on IRCC’s work load at the time. However, the changes described above are expected to contribute to reducing processing times significantly.