All Overseas Processing FAQ

1. How long will it take to process the sponsorship application?

The overseas-processing time of a refugee sponsorship application varies in different Canadian visa offices abroad. To find out about the average processing time at a specific Visa Office, visit the IRCC website.

2. If the refugees are recognized by the UNHCR, do they still need to have an interview with a Canadian Visa Officer?

The Canadian government, conducts its own selection assessments. Even if an individual is accepted as a refugee in need of resettlement by the UNCHR, they will still have to go through the same process with a Visa Officer overseas and could even be rejected.

3. The refugee applicant does not speak English or French – will there be interpreters at the interview with the Canadian Visa Officer?

This may differ based on circumstances at a Visa Office. The Visa Office will need to be informed of the need for an interpreter and the language (and dialect) before the interview. If no Visa Office employee can interpret, the Visa Office may receive the assistance of UNHCR or International Organization for Migration (IOM) employees. When this is not possible they may have to rely on relatives or friends of the refugee applicant, other refugees or a hired interpreter.

4. How do we know if the refugee applicant has been accepted or not after the interview?

If a refugee applicant is informed and/or given information by the Canadian Visa Officer on how to obtain a medical exam, it means that the interview was successful. The acceptance of their case now depends on passing the medical, criminality and security checks (admissibility criteria). The interviewing Canadian Visa Officer will inform the refugee applicant if the interview was not successful after the interview. The decision will be confirmed in a letter from the Visa Office.

5. If a refugee moves to a different country of asylum, how will that affect the sponsorship process?

If a refugee sponsorship application has been submitted and an applicant then relocates to a different country of asylum, sponsors are expected to contact the Visa Office responsible for the case, and complete a Web form to update contact information. The prospect of another durable solution for the applicant (such as local integration in the new country of asylum) will need to be assessed and may affect the resettlement of the applicant. There is no guarantee that their cases will be processed faster because of the move.

6. Who arranges the flights details and handles the exit permits?

Generally, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) handles all travel-related matters for sponsored refugees. IOM staff book the flight and arrange for exit permits.

7. What if the refugee applicant does not have enough money for the flight to Canada?

Sponsored refugees who do not have enough money to pay for their own flight may be eligible for a travel loan provided by the Canadian Government and issued by the IOM. Sponsored refugees are responsible for paying back this loan once they have settled in Canada.