I want to sponsor my wife to Canada – she is currently in Canada as a visitor. Should I submit an in-Canada sponsorship application or an overseas spousal sponsorship?
An in-Canada sponsorship application is very different than an overseas sponsorship application. It is important to understand the differences as this can greatly impact processing times as well as travel.
First, the processing times for an overseas application are usually shorter. An in-Canada application can take as long as 2-3 years to process, during which time your spouse will not be able to leave Canada. Should your spouse leave Canada and return, the border officer may choose to “cancel” the pending in-Canada application given the travel outside Canada.
Second, an in-Canada application is primarily intended for those spouses who are already in Canada but do not have legal status to remain in Canada; or for those spouses who are already in Canada but cannot return to their country of citizenship for various reasons (fear, lack of travel document, etc.).
Your wife is currently in Canada as a visitor. She can stay in Canada with you while the overseas application processes, as long as she maintains and renews her status as a visitor (Temporary Resident Visa, Visitor Record, Extensions, etc.).
Finally, if the in-Canada application is refused, you do not have the right to appeal the decision at the Immigration Appeal Division. The right of appeal is a fundamental right which can eventually allow your spouse to become a permanent resident if your application was refused for erroneous and unreasonable reasons. Further, sometimes, the only way to have an approval on a spousal sponsorship, is to go through the appeal process (Ex: complex criminality related sponsorships, financial refusal, etc.).