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Red Flags for sponsorship applications...

Key to a successful spousal sponsorship application is the genuineness of the relationship. Immigration officers are trained to take cultural considerations into account when examining relationships.

Some of the red flags may be as under:

  • Age gap

  • Short duration of relationship

  • Gap in Education which might signal lack of compatibility in some cultures

  • Number of people who attended the wedding, absence of key family members

  • Timing of application

  • Language barriers

While red flags may not always lead to a denial. If the couple fails to address the officer’s concerns, a denial is possible. If an application gets denied, the recourse depends upon whether the application was filed overseas or within Canada.

If it was an overseas application, then the sponsor can appeal the refusal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). The first step is to file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of receiving the refusal. The appeal is a de novo process, meaning that the Board Member of the IAD who decides the appeal can consider new evidence and testimony. The sponsor and applicant both have the opportunity to answer questions about their relationship, attempting to convince the IAD Member that the relationship is genuine and was entered into for legitimate reasons. Moreover, in an overseas application additional documentary evidence can also be filed in advance of the hearing to further substantiate the relationship.

If your application was filed in-Canada, then there is no access to the IAD. In this case the refusal needs to be challenged at the Federal Court of Canada. The Federal court has a more limited jurisdiction and no new evidence such as additional proof of the relationship or testimony of the partners cannot be introduced.

The whole process can be quite daunting and can cause a lot of stress on the relationship, therefore it is advisable to get help from an experienced lawyer.

If you have any specific questions, please email me at:

Shivani Sidhu

Immigration Lawyer

T: (604) 897-3911

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