What happens after you apply to sponsor your spouse to immigrate to Canada?

You still have more steps after you submit your application for Canadian immigration under the spousal and common-law sponsorship programs.

After you have applied to sponsor your spouse or common law partner for Immigration to Canada, you may wish to track the progress of your application, update your application, or otherwise visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (IRCC) can communicate with. There are a few important steps you need to take before you can finally become a permanent resident of Canada.

You may have to wait a long time for permanent residency after applying. The processing standard for new spouse sponsorship applications is 12 months. However, IRCC’s own processing time calculator is estimating that inland applications are taking an average of 15 months, and outbound applicants about 24 months.

The IRCC webpage states that processing starts from the day your complete application is received. When officials determine that your submitted application is complete, you will receive an acknowledgment of receipt (AOR) and an application number. IRCC on its webpage states that it is taking a long time to issue AOR due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If IRCC officials will return your application incomplete or in absence of fee.

Here’s what you can expect between the time you submit your application and officially become a permanent resident of Canada.


The IRCC will first examine the eligibility of the Canadian sponsor. If all forms and documents are in place, IRCC will send an email or letter confirming that the application has been accepted for processing. IRCC will then assess the sponsor’s eligibility and send an email or letter with the decision.

If the sponsorship undertaking is approved, IRCC will send the application for permanent residency to the appropriate processing office. IRCC will then decide whether the person being sponsored is eligible for permanent residency.

If the undertaking is rejected, IRCC will explain the reason in an email or letter.

Quebec resident

If you live in Quebec and are applying for Spouse Sponsorship, the foreign spouse must complete the Demande de Selection Permanente – Category du Regroup familial (Application for Permanent Selection – Family Reunification Category) form And it has to be signed. This document must be attached to the sponsor’s undertaking application to the Government of Quebec.

If the Government of Quebec approves the undertaking’s application, they will send the IRCC the necessary information to process your permanent residency application.


Once a Canadian spouse or common-law partner is found to be eligible, the IRCC will send you (or your authorized representative) an AOR containing your application number.

Application Number allows you to link your application with your IRCC Secure Account. In this way, couples can communicate with IRCC and receive updates and messages about their application online.

During processing, IRCC will ask you to submit the following:

  • medical exam;
  • police certificate; And
  • biometrics

medical exam

All foreign national family members (who are not already citizens or permanent residents of Canada) need to pass a medical exam, even if they are not applying to come to Canada with you. The IRCC says that failure to declare and scrutinize family members will affect your application and your ability to sponsor them in the future.

IRCC will send you and each family member a request to complete a medical examination at the appropriate time in processing. It will have instructions on what to do. You may not receive it immediately after applying, as medical results expire and the IRCC may ask you to do them later to reduce your chances of re-doing the medical exam.

If you have already completed an immigration medical examination, you will need to provide the details in the “Medical Examination” section of your document checklist. Depending on when the test took place, you may have to do it again.

police certificate

Immigration applicants 18 years of age and older must provide a valid police certificate for a country other than Canada in which you have spent six or more consecutive months since the age of 18

If the original certificate is not in English or French, you will need to get an accredited translator to translate it and include both the police certificate and the original copy of the translation.

The IRCC will also conduct your background check to see if there are reasons why you or your family member may not be acceptable to Canada.

For more specific and up-to-date information, the IRCC provides a guide on where to get a police certificate.


When the biometrics fee is paid, IRCC will send a letter to your family members asking them to provide the biometrics. The family members will have to show this letter while giving the biometrics. They have 30 days to personally deliver their biometrics at their nearest collection point. IRCC recommends booking biometrics appointments at the earliest to avoid delays.

IRCC will send instructions to your family members to tell them how long they have to send in their biometrics.

Open Work Permit for Inland Sponsorship Applicants

If you are applying for immigration from within Canada, you may be eligible for a Spousal Open Work Permit. This work permit allows you to work anywhere in Canada while your permanent residency application is being processed. You can either submit your Application for an Open Work Permit with your Application for Permanent Residence, or after you have applied.

The IRCC states that applications for an open work permit are typically processed in four months.


If an interview is required, IRCC will let you know in writing. IRCC will give you the date, time and venue of the interview, and will provide you with a list of documents to bring.

During an interview, an officer may ask you, the main applicant, about you:

  • relationship with sponsor
  • education level
  • due to travel
  • planning and preparation
  • family
  • Health
  • economic condition
  • past difficulties with the law

The IRCC may also ask questions that will be used to evaluate your means of settling in Canada.

Once PR is approved

To allow IRCC to process an application once it is approved, you will need to send the following documents to everyone immigrating to Canada, including any dependent children:

Passport or photocopy of passport (IRCC will tell you which)
two pictures
Proof of payment for the right to permanent residence fee, if it has not already been sent.
IRCC will tell you where to send this information.

If the spouse or dependent being sponsored is outside Canada, the IRCC will send them a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident Visa (if required) after their application has been processed. Once received, you will be able to travel to Canada before these documents expire and meet with an official at Canada’s port of entry. The officer will make the final decision on whether to allow your family members to enter Canada as permanent residents.

If you are inside Canada, you will need to meet with an immigration officer to get your COPR. IRCC will send you a letter to schedule your appointment and tell you what documents to bring. The official will make the final decision on your permanent residence application.

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