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Another month, another protest by angry Canadians who happen to be married to non-Canadians. From Vancouver to Montreal people, perhaps like you, are angry and disappointed over the long delays in processing their applications to sponsor a spouse. Your sponsored spouse is usually unable to work or study or get on with their life until the application has been approved in principle. As Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) continually changes the rules and experiments with new programs and processes, their goal of faster processing times, especially as it applies to Sponsorship Applications, seems further than ever. Do you feel like this applies to you?

Consider outland spousal sponsorship applications; ones that are done through a visa office abroad. While inland spousal sponsorship applications currently take about 2 years to process, the outland application processing times are all over the map. And outland processing times have been getting longer. Consider the following tables, each with 2 snapshots of the data: one from March, 2011 and one from late January, 2015. And remember, these processing times are months after the sponsor has been approved, i.e. you need to add another 2 months on top of these times to get the true average processing time.


Ugly Processing Times

Visa Office Processing Time in Months
March, 2011
Processing Time in Months
July, 2015
Beijing, China 4 months 10 months
Cairo, Egypt 12 months 18 months
Manila, Philippines 9 months 17 months
Islamabad, Pakistan 21 months 40 months
New Delhi, India 6 months 16 months
Seoul, South Korea 6 months Visa Office Closed
Tokyo, Japan 5 months Visa Office Closed
Taipei, Taiwan 6 months Visa Office Closed
London, UK 8 months 28 months
Mexico City, Mexico 15 months 17 months
Santiago de Chile, chile 10 months 22 months
Kingston, Jamaica 16 months 23 months


Boringly Bad Processing Times

Visa Office Processing Time in Months
March, 2011
Processing Time in Months
July, 2015
Pretoria, South Africa 18 months 15 months
Tel Aviv, Israel 8 months 9 months
Kyiv, Ukraine 11 months 12 months
Warsaw, Poland 8 months 12 months
Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago
14 months 17 months
Havana, Cuba 7 months 10 months


Getting Better

Visa Office Processing Time in Months
March, 2011
Processing Time in Months
July, 2015
Abu Dhabi, UAE 27 months 13 months
Accra, Ghana 21 months 16 months
Nairobi, Kenya 29 months 22 months
Hong Kong 16 months 10 months
Paris, France 9 months 8 months
Rome, Italy 13 months 12 months
Bogota, ColomBia 15 months 12 months
Sao Paulo, Brazil 10 months 5 months


While there have been some offices that have reported shorter times, they are usually only somewhat shorter, or a case of a specific office reducing what had previously been very long waiting times. This is the case with Nairobi, where processing times were lowered from 29 months down slightly to 27 months. In general processing times are much higher or somewhat higher, with a few isolated examples where times went down slightly. Sao Paulo’s office reduced times from 10 months to 8 months over the same period is an example.

Why are processing times getting longer? What are some of the reasons for the long wait times faced by you the sponsor and your spouse? Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes of all this anger and frustration on the part of spouses and sponsors like you:

  • CPC Mississauga: The Case Processing Centre in Mississauga is the one that now handles all sponsorship applications. According to, CPC Mississauga is full of delays even when sending an Acknowledgement of Receipt, or AOR, out to the applicant so that you will know that your application has safely landed at the processing centre. Whether this situation is temporary and will be resolved at some point is uncertain.
  • Budget Cuts: As the Canadian economy downshifts a gear in the face of lower oil prices, the Conservative Government’s deficit reduction plan has meant that IRCC does not have the resources they need. Including the resources necessary to handle the volume of applications. The closing of visa offices abroad is a clear example of this problem.
  • Policy Conflicts: The Conservatives seem to have 2 separate and sometimes conflicting goals when it comes to immigration in general:
    • Reduce backlogs and improve efficiency thus lowering waiting times;
    • Bring in temporary foreign workers to help certain industries.

    That means that reuniting families or sponsoring spouses often take a back seat to more important priorities like Express Entry and Temporary Foreign Workers programs. And it also means that the Minister is constantly fiddling with the immigration rules and regulations to try to balance those two conflicting goals. 

One solution, according to former CIC manager Klaudios Mustakas, is to issue temporary work permits to sponsored spouses, valid until their application is approved or denied. And as we mentioned in our article Inland Sponsorship Work Permit Changes, IRCC has enacted a pilot program to offer open work permits to applicants under the Spouse or Common Law Partner in Canada, or SCLPC, class. While this does not address the unusually long processing times, it does allow your sponsored spouse to work and contribute to the family budget while you wait for IRCC to process your application. This, however, applies to inland sponsorship applications only. If you or your spouse are living abroad and using the outland route, your spouse can continue working in their home country while you wait for the application to be processed. How that works for you as the sponsor who has to choose between working in Canada and being with your spouse, is another matter. In the end, the only lasting solution is for IRCC to lower sponsorship processing times and reunite sponsors and spouses so that you and your spouse can pursue your dream of a life together in Canada.

Get Help Now


Sponsorship Review

Immigroup will review your completed spousal sponsorship application for $550+HST. Immigroup will make sure you have not made any mistakes on your application or in gathering the documentation of your relationship. We will assess your sponsorship letter and give you peace of mind that you are submitting an application with a very good chance of success. Don't lose sleep at night worrying about whether you've done enough. Call us at 1-866-760-2623 for a review.


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