Where family class applications are processed

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

After the decision on sponsorship eligibility, CPC-M triages certain applications to streamline the processing of non-complex cases:

  • sponsorship applications for spouses (FC1), common-law partners (FCC)
  • parents or grandparents (FC4)
  • appeal-allowed cases

Cases that meet a list of established criteria are referred to a centralized processing centre in Canada that processes applications in the same manner as they are processed overseas. The remainder are sent to the appropriate visa office for processing.

The processing office may use the country information library for research, request country-specific background information from the visa office or transfer the application there for further review, if necessary.

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Spouse or common-law partner in Canada class

CPC-M is responsible for processing and assessing both the sponsorship and application for permanent residence from spouse and common-law partners in Canada who apply under the Spouse or Common-law partner in Canada class.

Cases processed by CPC-M

CPC-M may process and make a final decision on applications without referral to a local IRCC office in any of the following situations:

  • the sponsor does not meet the requirements or the definition of sponsor
  • the applicant is not a spouse or common-law partner
  • the applicant has committed a minor criminal offence which makes them inadmissible
  • the applicant does not meet the requirements of the class
    • a person included in the application as a dependent child does not meet the R2 definition of a “dependent child”. In such cases, the applicant is informed and given the opportunity to provide additional information to establish dependence as defined in R2, within 60 days of the date of their letter. If additional information is not provided within this time frame, processing of the application continues for the applicant and any eligible family member(s) included. Right of Permanent Residence Fees submitted for ineligible family members are refunded.
    • a  person does not meet the definition of common-law partner if they have not lived together with the sponsor for one year
  • the applicant does not meet the status requirement of the class but meets the criteria regarding lack of status for processing under the spousal public policy (unless expedited processing is required)
  • the applicant has requested H&C consideration and a positive decision can be made without referral to a local IRCC office

Criteria for referral to an inland IRCC office

CPC-M should refer cases to an IRRC local office if an interview is warranted or when serious criminality is involved. Examples of situations that may be handled by an IRCC local office are:

  • suspected relationships of convenience, including relationships that have been dissolved for the purposes of acquiring any status or privilege under IRPA and then resumed
  • suspected misrepresentation
  • serious criminality or security:
    • security (A34)
    • human or international rights violations (A35)
    • serious criminality [A36(1)]
    • organized criminality (A37)
  • medical inadmissibility [A38(1)(a) or (b)].

Review by an IRCC local office

The local IRCC office may interview an applicant and/or a sponsor to assess concerns raised by the CPC, including any of the following:

  • the need to confirm identity and relationship
  • the authenticity of the relationship
  • possible misrepresentation, including misrepresentation in obtaining temporary resident status. Persons who have used a fraudulent or improperly obtained passport, travel document or visa to gain entry to Canada are excluded from being granted permanent residence under the spousal public policy if the document was not surrendered or seized upon arrival and the applicant subsequently used these fraudulent or improperly obtained documents to acquire temporary or permanent resident status
  • violation of the legislation or conditions of temporary residence
  • inadmissibility for reasons of serious criminality or security
  • the applicant requested humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration and a positive H&C decision could not be made at the CPC. The local IRCC office should instruct the applicant to bring any necessary documents to the interview. When asking questions, the officer should focus on identified areas of concern that will assist in reaching a decision.
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