If you are in Canada and your spouse or common-law partner is in Lebanon, the first step to sponsoring them for Canadian immigration is to see if you are eligible.
As the sponsor, you have to be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or First Nation over the age of 18. You also need to sign an undertaking, confirming that you will be able to financially provide for yourself as well as your partner and any dependent children you have. If your dependents do end up receiving social assistance, you may have to pay back what they received during the years that you agreed to be responsible for them.
Certain circumstances could make you ineligible to sponsor. Beyond violent criminal offences, you could also be inadmissible if you failed to pay an immigration loan, are going through bankruptcy and not discharged, or if you sponsored a previous spouse within three years of your application. These are just some of the factors that could affect your eligibility to sponsor.
Your partner also has to be eligible to be sponsored. They must be over the age of 18, and pass background, security, as well as medical checks. You will be asked to demonstrate to IRCC that your relationship is genuine, and that you did not just get married to acquire permanent residency status in Canada.
Outland vs Inland sponsorship
If your spouse or common-law partner is living in Lebanon while you complete the application, you will be processed as outland applicants. It is possible to live with your partner throughout the process, but you have to demonstrate that you will both move to Canada when the permanent residency application is approved.
What documents do you need?
IRCC changes guidelines regularly, and they will be different depending on your spouse’s residency status in Lebanon and where they are applying from. If you and your partner spent any time working or living outside of Lebanon, there may be different country-specific requirements on what documents you need. The government provides an application guide with more information for people going through the process.
If your spouse is a Lebanese citizen living in Lebanon, there are currently special instructions on IRCC’s document checklist. At the time this article was written, IRCC asked for a list of all the trips that you and your family members have taken outside your country of residence in the last ten years, or since your 18th birthday if it was less than 10 years before your application. They also asked you to fill out details of military service if anyone on the sponsorship application has ever held a high ranking or senior official government position.
What happens after you submit the application?
The processing begins once IRCC receives your complete application. If the department determines that your application is incomplete they will return it.
Once they receive the completed application, IRCC has a 12-month processing standard on spousal sponsorship applications. This includes a two or three-month wait period while they ensure the application is complete. Canada expanded its family-sponsorship processing capacity in March 2021 to help meet the 12-month standard.
During the processing period, IRCC may your spouse to submit their biometrics. They will have 30 days to send them in. IRCC may also ask for more information, or an in-person interview at any time. Your spouse will also have 30 days to take a medical exam.
You can track and update your application status online until IRCC makes a decision on your application. They will send you instructions about the final steps your spouse or common-law partner needs to take to become a permanent resident. They will have to go to a port of entry to meet an immigration officer for a landing interview. IRCC will send them instructions on what documents they need to bring, as well as the time and place of their interview.
Once the landing process is done, your spouse or common-law partner is officially a permanent resident.
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