Committing to spend the rest of your life with someone is a significant milestone. For most people, the process of getting married is quite straightforward and effortless. However, if your spouse is not a Canadian citizen, the situation may be slightly more complicated. While love has no boundaries or borders, countries certainly do. Sponsoring your spouse to immigrate to Canada can be overwhelming and stressful. To ensure that you are prepared for this Canadian Immigration process, below are some of the points to take into consideration if you are marrying a person from another country.
Sponsorship Requirements for Canadian Immigration
First, you need to make sure that you meet the requirements to become a sponsor. You must be at least 18 years old, be living in Canada as a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act. In some circumstances, to facilitate your assessment and approval as a sponsor, you should also be able to show that you can provide basic needs for yourself, your spouse and any dependent children.
Some of the reasons as to why you may not be able to sponsor include:
- you have been convicted of a violent or sexual crime;
- you have declared bankruptcy which has not been discharged;
- you have previously sponsored someone and did not pay back the social assistance that they eventually received while the undertaking you signed was in place; and/or,
- you are acting as a sponsor, but already sponsored a spouse or partner in the past and it has not yet been three years since they became a permanent resident.
For more fulsome guidelines regarding spousal sponsorship eligibility guidelines, visit the Government of Canada website. Please note that if you are a resident of the province of Quebec, there are different conditions that you must meet in order to be a sponsor.
Canadian Immigration Costs
Like everything else, Canadian immigration comes with a cost. The application to sponsor is $75, plus $475 for the sponsorship application and $150 for each dependent child. Some applicants are also required to pay a biometrics fee to submit their application. If both applications are approved, then there is an additional cost of $490 to become a permanent resident of Canada, which is referred to as right of permanent residence fee. You must also agree to provide three years of financial support for your spouse as well as seven years for dependent children, or until they reach 25 years of age, as the case may be.
You can plan and save for the foreseeable costs; however, many other unexpected life events can transpire that end up costing you more than expected (such as illness, accidents, car bills etc.).
While Canadian immigration means dealing with many legalities and financial aspects, there are also qualitative or subjective points to consider. Canada has become the home of many immigrants from all around the world, but sadly, some newcomers may face cultural shock and challenges in some communities. Hence, you will need to be prepared to support your spouse and children through these potential situations.
For example, if religion is important for your spouse, make sure that the community where you choose to live has a place of worship for them. This will play an important role in maintaining their faith, staying connected to their beliefs, integrating into the community and getting settled into life in Canada.
Your spouse may be leaving their family behind in order to move to Canada to start their life with you. Know that this can be very stressful for many and return trips to their home country may also be necessary.
Marriage is a long-term commitment of love and learning, and can be one of the most exciting adventures in life. This can certainly be the case if you are marrying someone from another country and new culture. Every situation is slightly different, varying in complexity. Ensure that your marriage starts off smoothly by knowing what to expect from the Canadian immigration process. Many find that the process is more efficient when using the services of an immigration lawyer who facilitates the sponsorship application process.