I am a Canadian looking to move back to Canada, Vancouver to be exact and was wondering if anybody had any information on spouse sponsorship. I've tried calling the Canadian Consulate in Houston, Dallas and Seattle and all three have directed me to the Citizen and Immigration website which has answered most of my questions, but it still would be nice to actually talk things over with somebody.
My specific questions relate to what is the best option, should I look to apply for sponsorship once I am in Canada or do it now, while I am still in the US? If I apply in Canada, and send an application for an open work permit for my spouse, what is the actual time frame on getting the open work permit approved? I know that the sponsorship application can take somewhere between 12 and 18 months, but does the open work permit take that long or does it typically get approved within the first month or two? What are the stipulations on leaving the Country during the application process and does it apply to American Citizens?
Any and all information, insight and thoughts would be much appreciated!
The best option is decided by your circumstances, each has advantages and disadvantages. Read Leon's post, the first one in this thread. Americans are usually best sponsored Outland, rather than Inland. She would not qualify for an OWP in that case, but her processing could be completed in less time than the 10+ months required for stage 1 of Inland processing, plus another 8-9 for second stage.
If you choose Inland, she would not get an OWP until first stage processing is completed, again this is around 10+ months.
Inland applicants are not to leave the country during processing, this applies across the board. Outland applicants may visit, leave and return as permitted by the border agents at the port of entry. In the case of American spouses, many choose to have their application processed Outland, even while visiting with their spouses in Canada. Being visa-exempt, they may be admitted for up to 6 months at a time as a visitor.
If you will have a hard time establishing proof of intent to re-settle in Canada, start the process after you return. If you already have concrete plans in place to return, start the process and apply while you are still outside Canada. As a citizen, you have that option.