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.
In-Canada sponsorship has several benefits to applicants over the overseas (family class) 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. These usual requirements do not take into account changes due to covid-19.
- Applicants for Inland sponsorship do not need to leave Canada until processing of their application for permanent residence is finished. Please note that simply submitting an application for sponsorship via the In-Canada class does not give the applicant temporary status – the applicant is still required to maintain valid status as a worker, visitor, or student. However, the applicant can continue to apply to extend their status from within Canada without leaving.
- People who are in Canada without status because their temporary status has already expired can still become a permanent resident of Canada via the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class. This is not allowed for most other PR streams.
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 by IRCC, the applicant cannot be asked to leave Canada simply because they have no status in Canada. This does not apply to overseas (family class) 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 sponsorship 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.
Inland Sponsorship Application Processing Time
The majority of our clients’ applications for In-Canada sponsorship receive a final decision after 6 – 10 months of processing.
A few are much faster (around 4 – 5 months). Even fewer take the full 12 months listed on the IRCC website processing times or longer.
It is worth noting that if you include a child or children on an In-Canada sponsorship application, the processing time tends to increase significantly. It is not uncommon for an In-Canada sponsorship application including a child to exceed the official 12 month processing time. The same applies when the applicant gives birth during processing.
Contact us if you want to find out if In-Canada sponsorship is your best option for PR.