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Family Sponsorship/Sponsorship Appeal

If an overseas spousal sponsorship application has been refused, within a specific timeline, an appeal can be filed at the Immigration Appeal Decision to contest the refusal. An appeal should only be submitted if the application filed was strong and complete. Family is the most important thing in everyone's life, and nobody wants to leave apart from their family. It is a very disappointing and stressful for the spouses to receive a letter from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) refusing their spousal sponsorship application. The most unpleasant words to read in the letter is "the nature of relationship and marriage is not genuine." Bad faith or not genuine marriage is, in fact, the most common reason for spousal sponsorship refusal. ​ Immigration officers evaluate many factors to assess the genuineness of marriage before they come to the decision. Although wordings are same in the rejection letter, the immigration officers weigh the application in different factors. For the details of considerable factors for the denial of sponsorship application, please contact ND Paralegal Services. ​Therefore, you may recognize your case by reading the above phrase. An appeal of refused spousal sponsorship application is an option available for most of the family class applications.

Appeal Granted

Everyone does not have a right to appeal in spousal sponsorship applications. Learn if you can, when to submit a notice of appeal to IAD, timeline, what to do if appeal allowed or a decision is to refuse a request. Making appeal oneself is quite daunting, and it requires substantive legal understanding to make a strong argument, and it also need to provide legal citations to justify why the application should be granted. Call ND Paralegal Services if your appeal case is difficult.

Grounds For Appeal

There are some essential legal grounds to make a sponsorship appeal

The main grounds or reasons to appeal must argue within the following grounds:

  • The refusal/decision is wrong in law or fact.

  • There is a breach of a principle of natural justice / procedural fairness. For instance, you were not given a chance to respond to an officer’s concerns, i.e. the right to be heard is breached.

  • In some cases, humanitarian and compassionate considerations (H&C) were not assessed when requested.

Ineligible To Appeal

if the sponsored was found inadmissible to Canada under the following ground, you will not be eligible to appeal the family sponsorship. ​


  • Serious criminality

  • Organized crime

  • Security grounds

  • Violations of human or international rights

Reasons For Rejection of Sponsorship Applications


Ineligible To Sponsor

It is important to note that simply being a permanent resident of Canada or Canadian citizen does not make you eligible to sponsor your family member. You must fulfill the minimum requirements to become a sponsor. You should be an adult residing or intending to reside in Canada post completion of the sponsorship process.


Ineligible To Be Sponsored

The family member being sponsored must fulfill the basic eligibility requirements applicable to all permanent residence applicants. This is to ensure ineligible individuals don’t bypass mandatory requirements and obtain permanent residence in Canada through family sponsorship.


Only certain types of relatives are eligible for Canadian family sponsorship. One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “Can I sponsor my fiancé (e)?” The simple answer is no. Engagement is not sufficient to be eligible for family sponsorship. However, you may meet the definition of common-law or conjugal partner with your fiancé (e). If you don’t, you’ll have to wait to apply for sponsorship until after you are officially married.


One who is a security risk, guilty of human right violations, does not have a clean criminal record, or has significant health problems might not be eligible to be sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This restriction applies even to individuals who are otherwise eligible to sponsor except for the fact that their family member(s) don’t fulfill the eligibility requirements for sponsorship.


Permanent Resident Living Outside Canada

Sponsorship is not permitted when the sponsor is residing outside Canada. While Canadian citizens can initiate the sponsorship process even when residing outside Canada, a permanent resident’s application for sponsorship will be denied for this reason. The sponsorship application by the citizen will be allowed only if he/she proves intent to reside in Canada one the sponsored family member receives permanent residence.


Undeclared Family Members

Sponsorship is not permitted when the sponsor is residing outside Canada. While Canadian citizens can initiate the sponsorship process even when residing outside Canada, a permanent resident’s application for sponsorship will be denied for this reason. The sponsorship application by the citizen will be allowed only if he/she proves intent to reside in Canada one the sponsored family member receives permanent residence.


Misrepresentation In The Application Form

All parties involved in the sponsorship application—sponsor as well as sponsored family members—are required by law to provide accurate information in the application. Any misrepresentation, accidental or deliberate, shall result in the application being denied. Since the process requires comprehensive submissions related to personal details, nature of relationship, financial condition, health and medical tests, character certificate and other details, you must take due care to ensure the information submitted to the immigration authorities is true, accurate, and backed by necessary documentary evidence to minimize risk of denial of the application.


Marriage Of Convenience

While permanent residents and citizens are permitted to sponsor their foreign spouse or partner, such an application will be carefully vetted to prevent instances of marriage fraud. The application form requires detailed information about the sponsor’s relationship with their partner including details of commencement of the relationship, description of the solemnization of marriage and other aspects designed to assess the true nature of the relationship.


Unlike other grounds for denial, there is no universal and objective standard for rejection of application on grounds of marriage of convenience. The application must include sufficient evidence that the relationship is indeed genuine to satisfy the immigration officer’s doubts and queries. Be sure to avoid common red flags visa officers look for in spousal sponsorship applications.

Meeting In An Office

When To Start An Appeal?

You have 30 days after receiving the refusal letter to appeal to the IAD. Timeline is very limited to make sponsorship appeal, so it is wise to consult with the legal professional  as soon as you receive the rejection letter from the IRCC. There is benefit of filing an appeal to the IAD because you can submit new documents  to support the genuineness of a spousal relationships. Submitting the required information in a timely fashion ensures that the appeal process goes smoothly, boosting the odds in your favour. ND Paralegal Services can represent you in your sponsorship appeal application. Contact ND Paralegal Services to discuss about your legal issues.

How Long It Takes...

Most of the immigration appeals including Sponsorship appeals, residency appeals, and removal order appeals begin after filing a Notice of Appeal with the Immigration Appeal Division. After the Notice is filed, the Minister prepares a copy of the underlying application and decision to send to the parties. The IAD Rules require that Minister’s Record is sent within 120 days. A copy is provided to the appellant, the IAD, and the representative if listed by mail. The IAD will review the record and determines if the case is likely for early settlement through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) process. Counsel can commence request on his own renumbering the reasons that the appeal should be filtered into ADR. If the ADR is not available, then the appellant must wait for a hearing date before the IAD which can take upwards of 12 months depending on the volume of cases and members available to hear appeals.

When the appeals process is granted, a date will be set for the hearing. This date determines the deadlines for submitting information necessary to win your sponsorship appeal. For example, when appealing a marriage sponsorship that’s been denied because an officer doubts the validity of the nuptials, documents such as communication records, gift receipts and other proof of relationship should be submitted. The deadline for submission of this information is 20 days before the hearing date.


After the appeal hearing, a member may deliver an oral decision granting or denying the appeal. If the member does not make a decision at the hearing, then a written decision will be  sent typically within six weeks.

How Can Naba Help?

Before deciding on the best option to deal with a spousal sponsorship refusal, schedule a consultation with Naba Dhungana, a Licensed Paralegal, to clearly understand your options. His experience includes both representing clients at Immigration admissibility hearings and various levels of Immigration Appeals Division (IAD) appeals. If an appeal be the best option to your case he will let you know.

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