How do I sponsor my spouse or partner if they’re living outside Canada?

3. Decide what you’ll do if IRCC says you cannot be a sponsor

When Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) begins to process your application, they decide if you qualify to be a sponsor. This includes making sure you meet the rules about financial responsibilities and your status, for example, you cannot be a sponsor if you have been convicted of certain crimes.

The sponsorship application form asks you to decide what you’ll do if IRCC decides that you don’t qualify.

You must choose whether you’ll:

  • withdraw your application, or
  • proceed with the application.

If IRCC says you don’t qualify to be a sponsor

If you say you’ll withdraw the application, this means that IRCC will send you a refund of the money you paid to apply, minus $75. But you won’t have the right to appeal their decision. And you’ll have to re-apply if you want to try to sponsor that again.

If you say you want to proceed with your application, this means that IRCC will continue processing it. At the end of the process, they’ll refuse your application. But you may be able to appeal that decision to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the .

The choice you make when you apply is important.

If you appeal a sponsorship decision

The IAD can consider or reasons that your or partner’s application for permanent residence should proceed. These reasons include information about the hardship for you, your spouse, and your children if you were permanently separated. 

The IAD can allow the application to proceed even if they agree with IRCC that according to the rules you don’t qualify to be a sponsor.

But the IAD will not consider humanitarian and compassionate reasons if the person being sponsored does not qualify as a family member. For example, this might apply if they married you, but were not legally able to because they were married before and did not have a divorce. 

Getting help to decide

The choice that’s best for you depends on your situation. If you don’t qualify for a reason that won’t change, such as your income, you might want to proceed with your application and then appeal when it’s refused.

You may want to get legal advice to help you decide. An immigration lawyer or a community legal clinic may be able to tell you if you might succeed if you appeal a decision refusing your sponsorship application.

Hide this website