Canadian Immigration News

How Long Does It Take to Process Spousal Sponsorship Applications?

3.75 minute read
"While the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are still accepting applications for the Spousal Sponsorship program, applicants can expect delays in the processing time. The IRCC receives thousands of applications every day from foreign nationals who hope to resettle in Canada."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Sep 10, 2021
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While the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are still accepting applications for the Spousal Sponsorship program, applicants can expect delays in the processing time. The IRCC receives thousands of applications every day from foreign nationals who hope to resettle in Canada. 

Family Sponsorship is among the most popular immigration programs offered by the IRCC. Under the Family Sponsorship programs, the IRCC offers the Spousal Sponsorship program to allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residence in Canada. 

Now the most common among applicants to the Spousal Sponsorship program is how long will it take for the IRCC to process their application. The correct answer is that it may vary from case to case. Many factors are affecting the IRCC processing times, which is the amount of time taken by the IRCC to process your application. 

Recently, many immigrants were dissatisfied with the IRCC’s service as many complained that it is taking too long for the IRCC to process their application. The main cause for this is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has hampered immigration operations across the country. 

What Are the Different Types of Spousal Sponsorships?

The IRCC offers two types of Spousal Sponsorship programs:

Applicants to the Inland Spousal Sponsorship are eligible to apply for an open work permit while waiting for a decision on their permanent residence application. This is known as the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). 

Applicants to the Overseas Spousal Sponsorship can travel to Canada while their permanent residence application is still under processing. However, their application will still be processed through the visa office in their home country. 

What Is the Average Processing Time for Spousal Sponsorship Applications?

The average processing time for both types of Spousal Sponsorship applications is around 12 months. This was last updated in February 2016. However, this does not guarantee that your application will be processed within that time frame.

What Factors Affect the Processing Time of Your Spousal Sponsorship Applications?

Country of Residence: 

The processing time of your spousal sponsorship application depends greatly on the country you are applying from. It depends on how long the visa office in your home country takes to process your application. 

Incomplete Application: 

Submitting an incomplete application will delay the processing of your application as the IRCC will have to individually request for all the missing information in your application. The time you take to respond to these requests will also delay the processing of your application. 

Number of Applicants: 

The number of applications received by the IRCC will also affect how quickly or slowly your application is processed. If the IRCC has received fewer applications under the Spousal Sponsorship program, then your application may get processed in under 12 months. 

Non-Payment of Application Fee: 

Every immigration program has a certain application or processing fee. Non-payment of this fee will delay the processing of your application and may even get your application denied.

Wrong Documents: 

Submitting correct documents is an important factor to ensure the timely processing of your application. Therefore, submitting outdated or wrong documents will delay your application and may even get your application denied. 

How to Avoid Delays in the Processing of Your Spousal Sponsorship Application?  

There are a few things you can do to ensure that the processing of your Spousal Sponsorship application doesn’t get delayed. You can:

  • Make sure that your application meets all the requirements mentioned in the guidelines
  • Avoid making any errors
  • Pay the appropriate fees through the right mode of payment and get a receipt 
  • Attract your payment receipt
  • Crosscheck your application before submitting

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Spousal Sponsorship Processing Times

The IRCC calculates the average processing time for your application based on the day the application is received to the day the decision is made. This time will vary depending on where you currently live.

The IRCC has various visa offices located in different regions. These offices are affected by various factors that can affect the processing time of your application, including: 

  • The number of applications received by that office
  • The availability of resources at that office
  • The period taken by the applicant to requests additional information or documentation
  • Medical and security screening requirements
  • Time taken by different mail services


Application Type

IRCC Status

Spousal Sponsorship


Finalizing applications received between September 29- October 5, 2019

Spousal Sponsorship


Finalizing applications received between May 26- June 1, 2019

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