The inland sponsorship program provides a path to permanent residence for an individual who is already living in Canada with his or her spouse or common-law partner. Through this program, the spouse or partner can apply to be the applicant’s sponsor. If this is approved, the permanent residence application can be completed and submitted.
If you are already living in Canada and you are in possession of a valid work or study permit, the inland sponsorship program might be available to you. The process begins with your spouse or common-law partner submitting an application to be a sponsor. Supporting documentation will have to be provided that proves the relationship. This can include a marriage certificate, birth certificates of any children born to you and your spouse or partner, and family photos.
Once Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has provided notification that the sponsorship application has been approved, you can file your permanent residence application, along with the required supporting documents and application fees. It is important that you maintain valid status in Canada for the duration of the application process. Failure to do so could jeopardize your application.
IRCC recognizes that the duration of the application process can create a financial hardship if you are not in possession of a work permit. If you are applying through the Inland Sponsorship program, you could therefore be eligible to apply for an open work permit that will allow you to work for any Canadian employer. Although IRCC prefers it if the open work permit application and the permanent residence application are submitted together, there is no impediment to applying for the work permit at a later date. This provides an avenue for you to legally get a job if your work or study permit expires.
In most cases, IRCC recommends that you remain in Canada for the duration of the application process, since there is no guarantee of being allowed re-entry if you do leave. However, the need for emergency travel can arise, so you should ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport and a visitor visa that allows re-entry.
In most cases, Inland Sponsorship permanent residence applications take about twelve months to process. If your application is refused, you will be required to leave Canada before expiration of your temporary resident or visitor’s visa.