Applying for Spousal Sponsorship? Avoid These Mistakes

A couple celebrating on a rooftop.

There’s nothing more important than family, and your life partner is one of the most significant people in your life. Canadian immigration law not only provides opportunities globally but also ensures the physical and emotional wellness of all immigrants, whether they arrive under corporate immigration or a refugee claim.

At Nanda & Associate Lawyers, we know that with something like spousal sponsorships, mistakes, no matter how small, can have major consequences. Given the legal system’s convoluted and shifting policies, a perfect application is a pretty big ask of a layperson, especially if they haven’t had much exposure to our local legal system.

Settling in a new place is hard enough as is, and being barred from having your loved one join you can imbue an otherwise joyful experience with anxiety.

Most Likely Reasons for Rejection

Applying for spousal sponsorship is an important step in bringing your loved ones to Canada. While the process may seem straightforward, it is crucial to navigate it carefully to ensure a successful outcome.

Insufficient Documentation

One of the most common spousal sponsorship mistakes is submitting incomplete or insufficient documentation. To establish a genuine relationship, it is crucial to provide comprehensive evidence. Include documents such as marriage certificates, joint bank statements, lease agreements, and photographs together. Ensure that all documents are clear, translated (if applicable), and demonstrate the ongoing nature of your relationship.

Lack of Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to applications. Make sure that the information provided in your application forms, supporting documents, and interviews aligns perfectly. Inconsistencies, even minor ones, can raise doubts about the authenticity of your relationship. Take the time to review all the information you provide and double-check for any discrepancies. Seek feedback from others or even consult an immigration lawyer to ensure it effectively conveys your relationship’s authenticity.

Honesty is paramount, even if you think it’ll become the basis for inadmissibility to Canada. A strong legal team might even help you find a way through.

Insufficient Financial Support

Failing to meet the minimum income requirements or not providing adequate evidence of financial stability can lead to a refusal. Gather the necessary documents, such as tax returns, employment letters, and bank statements, to prove your financial capacity. If you fall short of the requirements, consider exploring alternative options or seeking professional advice.

Neglecting the Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to share the unique aspects of your relationship and be as open as possible. It can feel uncomfortable to disclose personal details, and many applicants make the mistake of neglecting this crucial component of the application.

Legal team discussing the best course of action.

Take the time to craft a well-written, detailed, and heartfelt personal statement that reflects your commitment and love for your spouse or partner.

This isn’t like when you’re trying to get hired as a foreign worker. Not only do you have to prove that you’re an asset, but you also have to prove that you’re an asset to your sponsor.

Inadequate Proof of Genuine Relationship

To convince authorities of the genuineness of your relationship, providing strong evidence is paramount. Merely providing basic documents is not enough. Include various supporting materials, such as correspondence, shared travel itineraries, joint memberships, and testimonies from family and friends. These additional pieces of evidence can strengthen your case and demonstrate the depth of your relationship.

Neglecting Legal Requirements

Failing to meet certain requirements can lead to unnecessary delays or even refusal. Familiarize yourself with the current immigration laws and regulations to ensure compliance. Check in with an experienced immigration consultant who can guide you through the process, ensuring you meet all necessary legal obligations.

Poor Organization and Presentation

The top immigration lawyers in Toronto say that presenting a well-organized and professionally prepared application package significantly improves your chances of success. Avoid submitting a disorganized and cluttered application that may confuse immigration officers. Arrange your documents in a logical order, provide clear labels, and ensure that everything is legible and easy to navigate. A neatly presented application demonstrates your commitment and attention to detail.

Eligibility to Sponsor a Spouse in Canada

To be eligible as a sponsor, an individual must meet the following criteria:

Age and Citizenship/Permanent Residence

The sponsor must be at least 18 years old and either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada. They can’t have a pending permanent residence application in the works.

Relationship Status

The sponsor must be legally married to the applicant or in a common-law or conjugal relationship. Canada recognizes both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages.

Sponsorship Undertaking

Sponsors must sign a legal undertaking that commits them to provide financial support to the sponsored spouse or partner for a specific period, usually three years.

 A couple filling out application forms.

What is Common-Law Sponsorship?

In addition to legal marriage, Canada also recognizes common-law partnerships for spousal sponsorship. To be eligible, couples must meet the following requirements:


The couple must have lived together continuously in a conjugal relationship for at least one year without any major periods of separation.

Proof of Relationship

Applicants must provide evidence of their shared life, such as joint financial responsibilities, shared living arrangements, and a mutually committed relationship. If you’re unsure whether your documents adequately reflect your relationship, ask a spouse visa lawyer to give you personalized advice.


Similar to marriage-based sponsorships, common-law sponsorships require comprehensive documentation to establish the genuineness of the relationship. This may include joint bank statements, utility bills, and affidavits from family and friends.

What Happens After You Arrive

Once you are in Canada as a sponsored spouse or common-law partner, certain grounds can lead to trouble or potential legal issues. It is essential to comply with the regulations to maintain lawful status. Here are some key factors that can result in trouble:

Failure to Reside with the Sponsor

As a sponsored spouse or common-law partner, you are expected to live with your sponsor in a genuine and ongoing relationship. If you fail to reside with your sponsor without valid reasons, it may raise concerns about the authenticity of the relationship.

Relationship Breakdown

If your relationship with your sponsor breaks down within a specified period after you arrive in Canada, it can have implications for your sponsorship. Depending on the circumstances, the sponsorship may be revoked, and you may be subject to deportation from Canada.

Criminal Offenses

Engaging in criminal activities will have severe consequences, including the possibility of being arrested, charged, and convicted. A conviction for certain offences can result in deportation and render you inadmissible to Canada.

Non-Compliance with Immigration Rules

Failing to comply with immigration rules, such as working without proper authorization, overstaying your authorized period of stay, or violating any other conditions imposed on your immigration status, can lead to trouble. This can result in a removal order and future inadmissibility.

Abuse of Social Benefits

Misusing or fraudulently accessing social benefits, such as social assistance or healthcare, can lead to legal trouble. It is important to understand and follow the rules regarding eligibility and entitlement to such benefits. While the legal system operates on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, it’s best to stay on the right side of it.

Involvement in Security Threats

Participating in activities that pose a security threat, like terrorism, espionage, or organized crime, can result in serious legal consequences. It may lead to criminal charges, an exclusion order, and potential bans on re-entry.

Misrepresentation or Fraud

Providing false or misleading information to Canadian authorities during interactions with immigration officers or in official documentation will have legal repercussions. It may result in the termination of your sponsorship, deportation, and future inadmissibility.

 A lawyer drafting a stay of removal order.

It is important to remember that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other grounds for trouble as a sponsored spouse or common-law partner. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific conditions and obligations of your sponsorship to ensure compliance with the law and maintain lawful status in the country. Canada boasts a great number of immigration consultancies, and it’s wise to keep in touch with a professional and check in from time to time to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Other Pathways in Canadian Immigration Law

Immigration law firms in Mississauga sometimes find that instead of jumping through the hoops of sponsorship, some individuals are ideal candidates for another visa stream. There are dozens, and with time, The Great White North only becomes more inclusive. Just in the last decade, we have implemented several measures to streamline the immigration process and create a more inclusive environment for immigrants and refugees. Some notable developments include:

A couple who immigrated to Canada together.

Even if you do make a spousal sponsorship mistake, we can help you through the removal order appeal process. This involves going to the Federal Court of Appeals with litigation lawyers who are prepared to fight your case. Our team at Nanda & Associate Lawyers has amassed decades of experience amongst themselves, and we’re always ready to help with family sponsorship. We also practice personal injury law and family law in Toronto.

Click here to book a consultation with us, and we’ll help you find positive solutions to all your legal troubles.


Disclaimer: This article is only intended for educational purposes and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice.




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