Once the long journey of spousal sponsorship is successful, it’s a cause for celebration. But after the approval and the emotional reunion, there are several important post-sponsorship steps and considerations to ensure a smooth transition for your loved one into their new life in Canada.
Landing in Canada:
The sponsored spouse or partner will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if coming from outside Canada, an entry visa. Upon arrival in Canada:
- Official Landing: They will need to present their COPR and visa to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This step formalizes their status as a permanent resident.
- Ensure COPR is Valid: The sponsored spouse must travel to Canada before their COPR and visa expire. If they can’t, they should inform IRCC and may need to obtain a new COPR.
Obtain a Permanent Resident Card:
- After landing, the new permanent resident will automatically be mailed a PR Card if they provided a Canadian address. It’s crucial to have this card when traveling outside of Canada, as it’s required to re-enter by commercial carrier (airplane, bus, etc.)
- If they didn’t provide a Canadian address at landing, they should do so within 180 days using IRCC’s online tool or risk starting the PR card application from scratch.
Join Health Care Programs:
- Enroll in the provincial or territorial health care program where they reside. The waiting period for coverage varies, but it’s usually up to three months. Consider private health insurance to bridge the gap if necessary.
Social Insurance Number (SIN):
- The new permanent resident should apply for a SIN from Service Canada. This number is necessary to work or to access government programs and benefits.
- Since the sponsored partner may not have a Canadian credit history, consider opening a joint bank account, obtaining a secured credit card, or co-signing a loan to help them start building their credit.
Consider Employment or Education:
- If your partner is looking to work, they may need to get their credentials recognized. This might require taking additional courses or exams.
- They should also consider services such as employment counseling, job search workshops, or language training programs, which are often available for free or at a low cost for new immigrants.
- Encourage your loved one to join community groups, associations, or classes that align with their interests. This can be instrumental in building a support network and acclimatizing to Canadian culture.
Understand Permanent Residency Obligations:
- A permanent resident must live in Canada for at least 730 days during the last five years to maintain their status. It’s essential to be aware of this, especially if considering extended trips outside of Canada.
Plan for Citizenship (if desired):
- Permanent residents can typically apply for Canadian citizenship after living in Canada for 1,095 days within the last five years, provided they meet other requirements. Start keeping a record of time spent inside and outside of Canada to make the application process easier.
- It’s always a good idea to keep copies of all documents related to their immigration journey. This includes copies of forms, correspondence with IRCC, and any other relevant materials.
Successfully sponsoring a loved one is just the beginning of their journey in Canada. The post-sponsorship period is a time of adjustment and settling down, and taking the right steps can set the foundation for a seamless transition. Encourage your partner to be proactive, access available resources, and, most importantly, enjoy their new life in Canada with you by their side.
The process of sponsoring a partner can differ based on whether it’s an “Inland” sponsorship (both sponsor and sponsored person are inside Canada) or an “Outland” sponsorship (sponsored person is outside Canada). Here’s a bullet point comparison of the post-sponsorship steps for each:
Inland Sponsorship (within Canada)
- Initial Status: Sponsored partner is typically already in Canada, often on a temporary status (visitor, student, or worker).
- Work Permit: In some cases, the sponsored partner can apply for an open work permit alongside the sponsorship application, allowing them to work for any employer while waiting.
- Remaining in Canada: The sponsored person is expected to remain in Canada during the processing of the application. Leaving might not be recommended as there’s a risk they might not be allowed to re-enter.
- Official Landing: There’s no need for an “official landing” like in the Outland process since the sponsored person is already in Canada. They transition to permanent residency once approved.
- PR Card: Since they’re already in Canada, they can provide a mailing address immediately, ensuring the PR Card is sent without delay.
- Healthcare: Depending on the province, they may already have access to provincial healthcare due to their temporary status. If not, they should enroll upon receiving permanent residency.
Outland Sponsorship (outside Canada)
- Initial Status: Sponsored spouse is outside of Canada or can be in Canada but willing to leave for the visa processing.
- Work Permit: The Outland applicant doesn’t have the same provision for an open work permit while waiting for the sponsorship decision. If they’re in Canada, they’ll need a valid reason (e.g., a valid study or work permit) to work.
- Travel to Canada: The sponsored spouse can technically travel to Canada while the application is being processed, but they might face scrutiny at the border. It’s essential to have all documents indicating they intend to leave after their visit.
- Official Landing: After approval, the sponsored spouse must travel to Canada to “land” officially. They’ll need to present their COPR and visa at the CBSA to finalize their permanent residency.
- PR Card: They’ll need to provide a Canadian address upon landing or within 180 days to receive their PR Card.
- Healthcare: Once they land and become a permanent resident, they should enroll in the provincial healthcare system. Consider bridging private insurance if there’s a waiting period.
Similarities for Both Inland and Outland Sponsorship:
- Both routes require the sponsored person to obtain a SIN from Service Canada once they become a permanent resident.
- Building credit, community integration, understanding PR obligations, and planning for potential citizenship are steps common to both routes.
- Keeping records of all documents and correspondence related to the immigration process is equally crucial for both methods.
Remember that while these are general guidelines, the specific situation or changes in immigration policies can affect the process. Always consult the official IRCC website or consider seeking guidance from an immigration expert for the most up-to-date and accurate information.