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The Leading Cause of Returned Sponsorship Applications

Navigating the spousal sponsorship process can be a complex journey filled with paperwork, documentation, and waiting. For couples eager to reunite or begin their lives together in Canada, understanding the potential pitfalls can significantly smooth out the application process. One of the most common setbacks applicants face is the return of their spousal sponsorship application by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In this blog, we will delve into the number one reason spousal sponsorship applications get returned without being processed and provide insights into how applicants can avoid this issue.

Missing or Incomplete Documentation: The Culprit

The primary reason for the return of spousal sponsorship applications is missing or incomplete documentation. The IRCC places utmost importance on ensuring that all necessary documents are included with the application. This not only helps verify the legitimacy of the relationship but also aids in the evaluation of the application. Incomplete or missing documents can lead to delays, additional stress, and disappointment for applicants.

Key Documents Required

Application Forms

It's crucial to complete all forms accurately and ensure that they are signed and dated where required. Missing signatures or improperly filled forms can result in the application being sent back.

Proof of Relationship

This is perhaps the most critical aspect of a spousal sponsorship application. Documentation that establishes the genuineness of the relationship includes marriage certificates, joint financial statements, photographs together, correspondence, and any other evidence of shared life experiences.

Identity and Civil Status Documents

Both the sponsor and the sponsored partner need to provide valid identification and civil status documents. These could include passports, birth certificates, divorce or death certificates (if applicable), and any legal name change documents.

Police Certificates and Medical Examinations

Criminal background checks (police certificates) are usually required from all countries where the sponsor and the sponsored partner have lived for a certain period. Medical examinations are also mandatory and need to be conducted by IRCC-approved physicians.

Financial Documents

The sponsor must demonstrate their financial capacity to support the sponsored partner in Canada. This might involve providing tax returns, pay stubs, employment letters, and proof of assets.

Language Proficiency

Depending on the situation, language test results might be needed to demonstrate the sponsored partner's language proficiency in English or French.

Child's Documentation (if applicable)

If there are dependent children, their documents including birth certificates and, if applicable, adoption papers, custody agreements, or other relevant documents must be included.

How to Prevent the Issue

Thorough Research

Before beginning the application process, both sponsors and sponsored partners should familiarize themselves with the application requirements. IRCC provides detailed checklists that outline what documents are needed.


Keeping all documentation organized and maintaining a checklist can help ensure that nothing is overlooked during the application process.


Before submitting the application, take the time to review all forms and documents. Ensuring accuracy and completeness can save time and prevent potential setbacks.

Seek Professional Help

If the application process seems overwhelming, consider seeking assistance from a qualified immigration consultant or lawyer. Their expertise can guide you through the process and reduce the chances of errors.


The journey of reuniting with a loved one or starting a new life together in Canada through spousal sponsorship is undoubtedly worth the effort. However, it's essential to be vigilant about the documentation aspect to avoid unnecessary delays and frustrations. By ensuring all necessary forms and documents are accurately prepared and submitted, applicants can significantly increase their chances of a successful spousal sponsorship application process. Remember, the number one reason for the return of these applications by the IRCC is missing or incomplete documentation, so careful attention to detail is key.

For help with your journey, contact us at We look forward to starting your sponsorship application today!

Immigration Station Canada will work with you and guide you through the best process to achieve your goals, wherever they lead!


About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford, St. Catharines, and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the contact form.

How Can We Help? We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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