What is a Spousal Sponsorship?

A spousal sponsorship is a legal process that allows the spouse of an individual to live in Canada permanently.

The person who wishes to sponsor their spouse must meet Canadian residency requirements, be 18 years of age or older and be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or live in Canada on a valid work permit.

The spouse seeking to immigrate must be legally married to the sponsor and must not be living in a conjugal relationship with another person. The couple may also need to provide an affidavit of their husband-wife relationship if they have been together for less than two years. It can also be called marriage migration or family reunification. Marriage migration, in particular, is the process of bringing your spouse to Canada.

The person who wants their spouse to come here can ask for sponsorship approval if they are able and willing to provide financial support, accommodation, and basic needs. If they are not, then the immigration authorities will refuse to issue a sponsorship approval.

What Can I Expect From a Sponsorship Appeal?

The process for a sponsorship appeal is to follow the steps below:

  1. Gather evidence to support your case.
  2. Present this information in front of an independent panel, which will then decide if your application should be granted.
  3. Contact the sponsor for more information about what you need to do to complete the process successfully.

Couple reunited after being apart.

Spousal Sponsorship and Acknowledging Marriage

To be considered legally married, you must be married to your spouse anywhere in the world that Canada recognizes as a legal government and have gone through proper marriage procedure. This must also be met with what Canada defines as a legal marriage. Additional requirements must be met, such as:

  • Residing in the same home continuously for more than 12 months. There are extenuating circumstances that can be accounted for, such as job location or education.
  • Do you act like you are married? Keeping finances together between spouses will help produce evidence that you are married, as well as if you have paperwork in both of your names. Producing as much documentation to show that you are married in a 12 month period will significantly help you bringing over your spouse.

Conjugal Partner

Conjugal partners can also be defined and acknowledged as a marriage. The Government of Canada defines a conjugal partner as:

  • A person who is living outside Canada,
  • In a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year, and
  • Could not live with the sponsor as a couple because of reasons beyond their control (e.g. immigration barrier, religious reasons or sexual orientation).

This term applies to both opposite and same-gender couples.

What Is Looked at When Your Marriage Application is Sent In?

The government will look at 4 elements:

  1. Did you meet the legal requirement?
  2. Check your finances: joint visa, insurance, documents showing that you are married.
  3. They will look at the social element: do you act like a couple in public?
  4. They will look at the psychological reason for you to be together: the reason you are together, can immigration Canada picture you in their mind, it’s all about providing as much detail as possible.

A lawyer writing a sponsorship appeal.

Applying for a Spousal Sponsorship Appeal

You will need to file an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Divison (you can do that here). By completing this, you will be informing them of the notice of your appeal. They will then provide you with a record of your file and why the decision was made to reject your spouse. From here, you can now begin your case to appeal to have your spouse accepted.

Where will my Spousal Sponsorship Appeal Hearing Take Place?

The Spousal Sponsorship appeal hearings will take place in Ottawa, Ontario.

The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) must provide a written decision within 90 days. If they do not, you can contact the board to find out the status of your case. The board will also give you an estimate as to when it should be completed. This estimate is done as a courtesy and can change.

Your application may be rejected even if you thought it was strong enough to work in your favour. In these cases, seek out help from a lawyer or paralegal who is familiar with the process to determine what you can do next. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Who Will Be at My Appeal Hearing?

A person who is applying for a spousal sponsorship appeal will be expected to attend an in-person hearing. The sponsor has the opportunity to attend this hearing as well, but they are not required to do so. You may also have your lawyer or consultant with you to help you at your hearing.

Lawyer writing sponsorship appeal hearings marriage.

Can I bring witnesses?

Yes, you can bring witnesses to your appeal hearing, but they should be prepared to answer questions at the hearing.

What If I Cannot Attend My Appeal Hearing?

There is a chance that the board may grant you a postponement if you cannot attend your appeal hearing. There are cases where this can be done due to medical or compassionate reasons as well as those where the applicant lives outside of Canada. If you cannot attend your appeal hearing, you should try and hire a lawyer or consultant who can be there on your behalf.

How Will My Spousal Sponsorship Appeal Be Decided?

The IAD will consider whether the spouse is indeed a spouse. They will investigate if the relationship was genuine and not for immigration purposes. The board will also consider the mental and physical health of the applicant.

  • The IAD will look at things such as:
  • Did you have a life together?
  • How long did you know each other before your marriage?
  • How were you connected to each other?
  • Did you have any children together?
  • What is the immigration reason for the application being submitted?
  • What is your current status in Canada?
  • Did you submit additional documentation that may be beneficial to the board’s decision-making process?

Signing papers for sponsorship appeal.

Do I have to Provide any Documents for my Hearing?

You are not required to provide anything other than your marriage certificate when appearing before the Immigration Board of Canada for a sponsorship appeal hearing.

If you want to prepare some documents for your hearings, we strongly recommend that you speak with an immigration consultant before doing so. You can contact us here to do so.

In some cases, the IAD may ask you to provide additional documents if they feel that it is necessary. If this happens, check which type of document you should bring with you on the day of your hearing. These documents will help strengthen your case and make a strong argument for why your spouse should be granted permanent residence in Canada.

What are the Legal Fees for Sponsorship Appeals?

Legal fees are determined on a case-by-case basis as the current situation plays heavily into the amount of work required.

What can Increase my Chances of Success?

You can increase your chances of success by researching the country you are from and its current socio-political situation. It would help if you also had a thorough understanding of what is expected in regards to living in Canada.

We are dedicated to ensuring that all couples who wish to marry have the opportunity to do so. We also provide consultations for those seeking sponsorship or immigrant status with Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Roggemann Immigration Law can help you navigate through how to sponsor your spouse successfully. We are here for anyone who wants to better understand their rights or options in this process.

What’s Next?

It’s important to note that an appeal process might not be the best option for you. Be sure to speak with us about the right choice for you regarding Marriage Sponsorship or Appeal Hearings.