How to make a Spousal Sponsorship Appeal

How to Make an Appeal of a refused Spousal Sponsorship Application

If your spousal sponsorship application was refused and you filed the application under the Outland Sponsorship stream, you have the right to make an appeal before the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).

If the refusal was due to missed documentation, an error on your part, or if it is clear that you did not prove that you meet all of the eligibility requirements, the best approach is to submit a new and improved spousal sponsorship application. However, if you can show that the refusal was due to an  an error in fact or in law on the part of IRCC, an appeal may be the best approach.

Steps for appealing a Refused spousal sponsorship application to the iAD

1. File your Notice of Appeal

To initiate your appeal, submit the Notice of Appeal form along with a copy of the refusal letter issued by IRCC. You may also include any additional documents that you believe were lacking in your original application. Note that you have 30 calendar days from the date of receiving the refusal to file your appeal. You have the option to represent yourself in the immigration appeal, or you may choose to be represented by an unpaid representative, such as a friend or family member. Alternatively, you can opt to hire an authorised representative such as a Canadian Immigration Consultant or lawyer.

2. Prepare your case

To win your appeal you have to demonstrate that the decision of IRCC, also known as the Minister or the respondent, should be changed in your favour. You must be able to provide evidence that will help your case and address the deficiencies or discrepancies on your application. Testimonies from witnesses such as friends or family members can also be presented in your appeal. 

3. Informal resolution

An Early Resolution Officer (ERO), employed by the IAD, may reach out to you or your counsel to gather extra information or evidence for your appeal, exploring the potential of resolving it without an oral hearing. In some instances, an appeal might be slated for an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) conference—a casual meeting involving you, Minister counsel, and the ERO. This session aims to clarify issues and reach a mutual decision, potentially bypassing the need for a formal hearing.

4. Schedule the Hearing

If your appeal cannot be resolved informally, you will be invited to an oral hearing. The IAD will contact you to schedule the hearing. Once your hearing date is established, you will receive a Notice to Appear specifying the date, time, and format of your hearing, whether virtual or in person. Appeal hearings may occur virtually through Microsoft Teams, in person at various locations across Canada, or via telephone. Detailed instructions regarding the virtual hearing process will be provided. If any party involved in the appeal cannot attend in person, they have the option to participate through telephone or Microsoft Teams.

5. Prepare for your hearing

Complete the list of witnesses who will testify no later than 30 days before the hearing. It helps to provide the name of each witness, your relationship to them, how long the testimony will take for each of them, whether they will need an interpreter, and in what language or dialect, and whether they will testify in person, by Microsoft Teams, or by telephone. Expert witnesses, like doctors, must submit a signed report in French or English detailing qualifications and evidence summary. Send this information to both the Minister’s Counsel and the IAD. For witnesses in Canada, you can request a summons from the IAD to ensure their appearance at the hearing.

6. Attend the Hearing

Arrive early for the hearing with all necessary documents. As the appellant, you'll likely be the first to testify, sharing your story and key appeal points. The member may pose questions at any time. If you have witnesses, they will be asked to wait outside the hearing room until they are called to testify. If the hearing is held virtually, witnesses should not be in the same room or be able to hear you when you are testifying. After witness testimonies, you or your counsel will provide final arguments, explaining why the evidence supports your appeal for the member's consideration.

7. Get the Decision

The decision is sometimes immediately provided at the end of the hearing, with a written confirmation sent afterward. If the appeal is not resolved during the hearing, the case is reserved. The IAD member considers the evidence post-hearing, and the decision is sent to you when ready, typically within 60 days.

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