A Canadian citizen or permanent resident is able to sponsor his or her spouse or common-law partner for permanent residence in Canada using the INLAND sponsorship process if the partner is already physically present in Canada.
Inland sponsorship has several benefits to applicants over the OVERSEAS sponsorship process:
- Most importantly, applicants can get a work permit after only 3 – 4 months processing time before they are even permanent residents. This work permit is “Open” – the holder can work anywhere, for any employer, in any position. The open work permit will be valid for two years, and can continue to be renewed until processing of the sponsorship application is completed.
- After holding a valid work permit for the required amount of time (time varies by province), applicants can get provincial health care insurance. For example, in the province of Ontario, an applicant can obtain provincial health care after holding a work permit for 90 days.
- Applicants for Inland sponsorship do not need to leave Canada until processing of their application for permanent residence is finished.
Applicants without Status in Canada
Even if someone does not have status in Canada, they are still able to be sponsored under the inland sponsorship process. This includes individuals who are in Canada illegally due to having overstayed a visa, or entered illegally. Once the inland sponsorship application is received, the applicant cannot be asked to leave Canada simply because they have no status in Canada. This does not apply to overseas sponsorship applications filed while the applicant is in Canada.
Applicants without status in Canada are not able to obtain a work permit under most circumstances.
Leaving Canada while an Inland Sponsorship Application is in Process
It is a common misconception that once you file an inland application for permanent residence in Canada, that the person being sponsored cannot leave Canada. This is not the case. Applicants are allowed to enter and leave Canada even while their inland application is in process. However, it is important not to leave for frequent or extended periods because an application can be refused if an inland applicant is determined not to be residing in Canada.
While it is possible that an applicant could be prevented from entering Canada, this is primarily a danger if the applicant travels outside Canada for frequent trips and/or long periods while their application is in process. A reasonable expectation of travel during processing of an inland application is no more than twice per year, for a few weeks per trip. Family emergencies are also taken into consideration.
Because inland applicants for permanent residence are already in Canada with their family member (spouse or common-law partner) and have the ability to work, fewer resources are dedicated to process these applications in order to bring family members together who are outside Canada. Applications for inland sponsorship take an average of 24 months to process. Approval to sponsor takes an average of 12 months, and the application for permanent residence takes another 12 months. A work permit will be issued after around 4 months.
All information on this website is accurate as of the date of publication. Doherty Fultz Immigration Inc. is not liable for any action taken without retaining DFI as legal representative.