A particular hardship for couples in a spousal sponsorship program is being separated by national borders. Fortunately, one of the two spousal sponsorship programs allows family class applicants to submit paperwork while inside of Canada, called Inland Spousal Sponsorship. The other method of family class immigration requires that the paperwork is processed before your spouse may enter the country, which is called Overseas Spousal Sponsorship or "Outland Spousal Sponsorship".
The two different paths to spousal sponsorship share a variety of regulations that must be fulfilled in order to successfully apply.
The Government of Canada attempts to secure the country against potential security threats, including public health, crime and terrorism. As such, those who apply for any stream of immigration will be denied if they’re considered inadmissible according to immigration law.
Those who have been convicted for a violent crime, or committed offenses that resulted in a serious prison sentence will be considered inadmissible. If the government finds that you have links to any organized crime or terrorist organization, then you will be denied entry into Canada. International or human rights violations are also considered grounds for inadmissibility to Canada.
If the Canadian government determines that you have a communicable disease that’s a risk to the general population, or if you have a medical condition that would be costly for public health insurance, then you may be deemed ineligible for sponsorship programs because of being medically inadmissible.
Other reasons for inadmissibility include:
- financial problems of a serious nature, financial inadmissibility
- lying on previous applications for visas or sponsorships, inadmissible by misrepresentation
- drinking and driving, or operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, inadmissible by criminality
- having a family member who is not allowed to enter Canada, inadmissible family member
In certain cases, inadmissibility may be challenged, or the applicant may be deemed “rehabilitated." Before resubmitting visa or sponsorship paperwork, it’s best to clear up any issues that the Canadian government may have in terms of any previous inadmissibility.
Conditional Permanent Resident Regulations
One of the newer changes to Canadian immigration law involves an update to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, in which a mandatory period of conditional permanent residency is imposed on the spouse if the sponsor and the spouse have yet to pass the two year mark of their marriage, conjugal relationship or common-law relationship.
Regardless of the spousal program that you choose, the sponsor must:
- be 18 or older
- be a member of the family class or the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
- live in Canada as a Canadian citizen, registered Indian or a permanent resident
- if outside of Canada, the sponsor must prove that the both of you will be in Canada when permanent residency is established
- produce a signed promise to provide basic requirements for the spouse, including children
- sign a document declaring an understanding of both parties' responsibilities for the sponsorship program
If you’ve been a sponsor for a permanent resident during the past three years, you will not be allowed to participate in this program. Similarly, if you have been sponsored as a permanent resident during the past five years, you will be unable to sponsor your spouse.
In terms of signing an undertaking, which is the contract establishing the sponsor's responsibility for the spouse, the sponsor will also have to prove to have the finances necessary to shelter, feed, and cloth the sponsored spouse, including additional healthcare costs.