Notice – Faster processing times for spouses and partners

Ottawa, December 15, 2016 — Family reunification is a key immigration commitment for the Government of Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is speeding up processing for spousal sponsorship applicants. On December 7, 2016, we announced important changes to enable processing of most spousal sponsorship applications within a 12-month time frame. Cases that are more complex would need more time to process.

If you’re a new applicant

Use the new application package to apply to sponsor your spouse, partner or child, whether they are in Canada or outside Canada. See what’s new with the application package.

We will process the majority (about 80 percent) of applications within 12 months from the day we receive them. Find out what you can expect from the new process.

If you’ve already started filling out an application using the old application package, you can still use it. We will continue to accept new applications using the old package if we receive them on or before January 31, 2017. After this date, we will accept only applications using the new package.

In using the new application package, be sure to include all the forms and documents listed on the appropriate checklist. If you don’t include all the required forms and documents, we won’t accept your application for processing, and it will be sent back to you.

If you’ve already applied

As announced on December 7, 2016, we are working to finalize the majority (about 80 percent) of applications already received within 12 months, by the end of December 2017.

If you’ve already been waiting to have your application finalized for some time, the new changes do not mean you’ll have to wait an additional 12 months. We will continue to process applications in the order they’re received.

To help us process your file faster, you do not need to contact us, but please

Important information for all applicants

Please be sure to respond quickly to our requests for information.

  • If we ask you to give us additional information, please answer promptly and follow the instructions we give you in our request.

The success of our efforts to reduce wait times for everyone relies on your cooperation.

All applications will continue to undergo the necessary screening to ensure that individuals do not pose a safety, security or health risk to Canadians and that the relationships are genuine.

For more information, see

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