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Allen and Hodgman | Canadian government changes spousal visa procedures
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Canadian government changes spousal visa procedures

On December 7, 2016 the Canadian government announced several changes to the procedures for processing sponsorship applications for persons who are married to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. These changes also apply to persons who are sponsored as common law partners. These changes are intended to make the process faster and to simplify the process. The changes include the following:

  • There will now be a single application kit. Previously, there was one application for the “Spouse in Canada” category, and a different application kit for “Family Class” applications. Family class applications are used to sponsor persons who are not currently living in Canada, or who choose to file as a member of the Family Class.
  • Several of the forms have been combined and simplified.
  • Some of the information that had been required up front will now be filed after the application is submitted, including the medical exam, police reports, and background information. This allows persons to start processing of their applications faster.

The government has also stated a goal of processing most applications within 12 months. Previously, most “Spouse in Canada” cases were taking much longer than 12 months, while many “Family Class” cases were taking 12 months or less.

While these are positive steps in the right direction, the new forms are still lengthy and complex. In addition, persons will need to be prepared to submit all of the additional information quickly once it is requested. Persons in Canada will need to weigh carefully the pros and cons of filing as “Spouse in Canada” or as “Family Class.” Our office is highly experienced in handling cross border marriages. Contact us now for help with your case.