Status requirements for inland spousal applicants in Canada


An inland spousal application is for those who live with their spouse or common-law partner in Canada. Of course, the sponsor is either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. What about the applicant? Do you need to have a valid status in Canada? This article explores status requirements for inland spousal applicants in Canada.


What is an inland spousal application? Generally speaking, an inland spousal application allows applicants remain in Canada while IRCC is processing their application. Of course, this type of application only covers spouses and common-law partners.

Status requirements for inland spousal applicants under the Regulations Section 124 of the Immigration Regulation (IRPR) describes the eligibility of inland applicants. Thus, here is a copy of this section: 124 A foreign national is a member of the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class if they (a) are the spouse or common-law partner of a sponsor and cohabit with that sponsor in Canada; (b) have temporary resident status in Canada; and (c) are the subject of a sponsorship application. As you can see, according to paragraph (b), the applicant must be a temporary resident in Canada. In other words, the applicant must be in Canada with a valid visitor status, work permit, study permit, TRP.

What about someone who doesn’t have a valid status in Canada? Unfortunately, according to section 124, that person may not apply. However, there is no need to panic. Please keep reading. Exemptions under the IRCC Public Policy Luckily IRCC has a public policy that relaxes the status requirements for inland spousal applicants in Canada. However, the applicant must fall under one of the following groups:

  • Overstaying a visa, visitor record, work permit, study permit or temporary resident permit

  • Working or studying in Canada without authorization

  • Entering Canada without a visa or other document required by the Regulations

  • Entering Canada without a valid passport or travel document: However, they must provide necessary identity documents for permanent residence (PR).

  • Irregular entry in Canada (e.g. without going through a port of entry): However, the officers must make sure the relationship is genuine.

The public policy doesn’t prevent CBSA from removing people from Canada. Therefore, do your best to restore your status. Does the public policy remove status requirements for all inland spousal applicants in Canada? This policy is not a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. Consequently, you cannot use it if the lack of status is because of any of the following reasons:

  • Entering Canada irregularly while you needed an Authorization to Return to Canada

  • Using a fraudulent passport or document for entering Canada and subsequently using the same document for the PR application

  • Being under a removal order or enforcement proceedings for reasons other than being out-of-status

Of course, the applicant must be admissible to Canada, or they may not apply in the first place. Keep in mind that the applicant must live with their sponsor in Canada. Therefore, if they change their address from the sponsor or leave Canada, they could face a refusal.

Let us help! If you intend to sponsor your spouse or common-law partner, you may book a consultation with us.

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