Spousal sponsorship applications can be complicated. There are many application forms, accompanying documents, and administrative requirements to keep track of. Small mistakes with your application can have big consequences. In many cases, those mistakes can result in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) returning your application instead of processing it.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes we see in spousal sponsorship applications:
- No Handwritten Signature on the Schedule A Form
Applicants often assume that an electronic signature will be accepted. This is a misconception. The Schedule A form, IMM 5669E, must be printed and signed by hand. If you don’t include this handwritten signature, your application package will be returned to you without being processed.
- Police Certificates That Aren’t Original or Are No Longer Valid
The requirements for police certificates submitted with spousal sponsorship applications are dependent on whether the certificate was issued before or after you left your country of origin.
If the certificate was issued after you left your country of origin, then the document has no expiration date.
However, if the certificate was issued while you were still present in your country of origin, then the document is only valid for 6 months, and you must submit your spousal sponsorship application within that period of validity.
If the police certificate is no longer valid by the time you submit your application, then your application will be sent back to you. You will have to obtain a new, valid police certificate before submitting your application again.
Another requirement to keep in mind when it comes to police certificates is that you must submit the original version along with your application. Photocopies will not be accepted.
- Forgetting to Include the Filing Fees
Your spousal sponsorship application must include the application fees! This means that at the same time that you submit your application forms, you must also submit:
- A receipt for the sponsorship fee, the application fee, and the biometric fee for the principal applicant you are sponsoring (your spouse), and
- The application fee and biometric fee for any dependent children who are included in the application.
Many applicants forget to include fees with their application, or they only include fees for their spouse without submitting receipts for the fees related to the dependent children they want to sponsor. This is another mistake that will lead to your application being returned to you instead of being processed.
- Not Keeping a Copy of What You Send In
Many people send in their applications without making copies of the documents that they have submitted. This means that as soon as the application package leaves their hands, they have no proof of how they filled out the application forms and what documents they submitted along with them. Although this mistake will not prevent your spousal sponsorship application from being processed, it can have a negative impact on your ability to respond to problems that may arise later in the process.
For example, if there is any dispute about the content of your application after you have submitted it, retaining an accurate record of everything you sent in is essential for being able to prove that your application was accurate and complete.
If your application to sponsor your spouse is refused, then your copy of the application package provides you with the documents you will need to challenge that decision, either through an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division, or later, by seeking judicial review of the refusal in Federal Court.
These are just a few of the many pitfalls that we see applicants run into when they try to sponsor their spouse and their children. Accuracy and attention to detail are crucial to a successful application. Working with knowledgeable and experienced counsel helps you get things right the first time — which can save you a big headache.
Our legal team at Elgin, Cannon and Associates has years of experience reuniting families and helping them to establish permanent roots in Canada through successful spousal sponsorship applications. We have also helped many clients successfully appeal spousal sponsorship applications that have already been refused.
Our lawyers have the expertise to help you navigate your spousal sponsorship application with precision and skill. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about the process, contact us for a consultation today.