A foreign national seeking spousal sponsorship to Canada faces a highly complex legal process, regardless of whether the application is submitted domestically or at a Canadian embassy or consulate abroad. The spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner seeking to immigrate to Canada must be sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, who must also submit a sponsorship application in support of the foreign spouse.
If the spousal sponsorship application is successful, Immigration Canada will approve a change in the partner's immigration status to permanent resident of Canada. If the partner resides abroad at the time the application is submitted, Canadian immigration authorities will issue a Canada Spouse Visa (Confirmation of Permanent Residence) to the partner, and he or she will become a permanent resident of Canada only upon entering the country.
If you are a Canadian permanent resident living outside of Canada, you are not eligible to sponsor a partner to Canada. Only permanent residents living in Canada can sponsor a spouse to Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen living outside of Canada, spouse sponsorship is possible but you must establish the intention to live in Canada once your partner becomes a Canadian resident.
If you are applying for permanent residence from Canada, also called inland sponsorship or "spouse in Canada class," you may apply for an Open Work Permit at the same time as you apply for immigration, or you can even apply online. Once you receive a Canadian Open Work Permit, you may work in the country while your application is pending; however, you may not work in Canada until you actually receive it. Although there is no guarantee that your application will be approved, work permit approvals are quite common, and it is one of the primary advantageous of applying for spousal sponsorship inside Canada.
If you apply for permanent residence as a spouse or partner while in Canada (inland spousal sponsorship) and you leave Canada while your permanent residence application is pending, there is no guarantee that you will be able to re-enter Canada, even if you attempt re-entry while your permanent residence application is still pending. If your application is denied, you will have to submit an entirely new immigration application in order to return.
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