Ottawa, February 14, 2018 – Family reunification is a key immigration priority for the Government of Canada, IRCC continue to improve its processes and procedures to help families reunite in Canada more quickly and easily.
Check out the updated guides and checklists, as well as some procedures, for the spousal sponsorship program. The changes reflect the Department’s ongoing commitment to respond to clients’ needs and make improvements to client service and program delivery where possible.
Since launching the spousal application package in December 2016, IRCC continues to listen to various feedback and based on the feedback, they have further improved the:
- Basic Guide,
- Complete Guide,
- Document checklists (one each for spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, and dependent child), and
- Order in which certain required documents must be submitted to us.
Over the past year, the Government of Canada has made significant improvements to the spousal sponsorship process, making it faster and easier for Canadians and permanent residents to reunite with their spouses.
In December 2016, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it would reduce the backlog of spousal applicants by 80% and shorten processing times to 12 months. It also announced improvements to the spousal sponsorship application process to make it more efficient and easier to navigate.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that the government has successfully met these commitments:
- More than 80% of those who were in the global spousal sponsorship backlog on December 7, 2016, have now received final decisions for their applications. We reduced the spousal inventory from 75,000 applications to 15,000 as of December 31, 2017.
- As of December 31, 2017, we met our commitment to process 80% of spousal applications that were received in December 2016.
In addition, after introducing a new spousal sponsorship application package in December 2016, IRCC continued to respond to client and stakeholder feedback to further improve the application process, and make it simpler and easier for sponsors and applicants to understand and navigate. As a result, we made a number of improvements to the application package in June 2017. And today, we introduced further updates to the application kit and process to improve the client experience and make sure we can process applications as quickly as possible.
“The Government of Canada is committed to family reunification. We understand how important it is to reunite couples. It also makes for a stronger Canada. Canadians who marry someone from abroad shouldn’t have to wait for years to have them immigrate or be left with uncertainty in terms of their ability to stay.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Notably, spousal applicants will now be asked to submit their Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669) form and police certificates as part of their initial paper application package, instead of later in the application process, as was previously required. This will help us process applications even more quickly and efficiently and avoid unnecessary delays.
Applicants are still encouraged to link their applications to an online account to communicate quickly and securely with us, get medical instructions as soon as they are issued, receive and respond to request letters quickly, and get application updates online. However, this can be done at any time during the processing of the application.
The checklists and guides replace the ones that were made available on this website in June 2017 (and which received a minor update in October 2017 to reflect the change to the age limit for dependent children).
Although IRCC have changed the checklists and the placement of some forms within the application process, the forms themselves have not changed as part of this update.
If you have been filling out an application using the previous version of the checklists (identified in the bottom left hand corner by version code 10-2017), IRCC will still accept your application using that previous version until March 15, 2018. However, we encourage you to use the new checklist, guides and processes right away.