Bringing Your Spouse or Partner to Canada: Faster Options Explained



Family reunification is at the heart of Canadian immigration policy, aiming to bring together spouses, partners, children, and parents with their loved ones who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. However, lengthy processing times for sponsorship applications can often cause significant delays in reuniting families. In this blog post, we’ll explore two options provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that may expedite the process of bringing your spouse or partner to Canada.

Option 1: Open Work Permits

Spouses, common-law partners, and conjugal partners who are being sponsored for permanent residence in Canada may be eligible for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP). To qualify, they must:


  • Prove a genuine relationship with their sponsor.
  • Be included in an application for permanent residence with an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter.
  • Reside in Canada with their sponsor.

Processing Time: IRCC aims to process new work permit applications within 60 days.


Option 2: Visitor Visa

Applying for a Visitor Visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), maybe another route for your spouse or partner to join you in Canada sooner. General requirements include:


  • Possessing a valid travel document
  • Being in good health
  • Having no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • Demonstrating ties to their home country and intention to return after the visit
  • Having sufficient funds for their stay

Processing Time: IRCC strives to process new visitor visa applications within 14 days.


Application Process for Visitor Visa

If your spouse or partner is visiting you in Canada, they may need additional documents such as:


  • Proof of Relationship Document (e.g., marriage certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union)
  • Identity Document (valid passport or travel document)
  • Family Information Document (for applicants aged 18 or older)
  • Use of a Representative Form (if applicable)

Note that while submitting all listed documents is not mandatory, it may strengthen the application.


Key Considerations

  • Both options are available only after submitting a permanent residence application for spousal sponsorship and receiving an AOR.
  • Spousal sponsorship applicants eligible for a visitor visa after receiving their AOR may benefit from faster processing.
  • While IRCC aims to meet service standards, processing times may vary.

Canada’s Commitment to Family Reunification

In May 2023, IRCC introduced measures to enhance family-class immigration and reunification efforts. These included faster processing for spousal visitor visas and temporary public policies like OWP extensions.



Navigating the immigration process can be complex, but these options offer hope for couples seeking to reunite in Canada sooner. Whether through an Open Work Permit or a Visitor Visa, there are pathways to bring your spouse or partner closer to you faster than expected. Stay informed, follow the guidelines, and consult with immigration experts for personalized advice on your situation.



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