Jun 08, 2009 @ 01:35 am by Patricia Wells

Patricia Wells, Barrister and Solicitor, invites you to an information seminar on spousal sponsorships.  Seminars take place every month (with some exceptions) on Thursdays from 5 – 6:30 p.m., at the offices of Patricia Wells. Call or email to register for the next monthly seminar.

You will find answers to the following questions and more:

  • How much does it cost to sponsor my spouse? What are the costs apart from the immigration fee?
  • How long does the sponsorship process take? What can I do to make it faster?
  • Can I sponsor my spouse even if s/he is in Canada illegally? Even if s/he has been deported before?
  • Can I sponsor my spouse even if we are not legally married, or if one of us is still married to someone else?
  • Will my spouse have to leave Canada?
  • Can my spouse sponsor my children too, even if they are outside Canada?

Please bring any other questions you have.

The charge for the seminar is $50.00 per person. For more information, or to register (space is limited, so advance registration is required) please email me at or call my office in Toronto at 416-535-6873.

I am in Canada as a tourist and my status expires in a few days. What can I do?

Jan 16, 2008 @ 05:07 pm by Patricia Wells

If you are in Canada, you can apply to extend your status. You must fill in the necessary form (available at Immigration’s website:, and send it in with the necessary fee – $75 per person.


You should make sure your application arrives at Immigration (in Vegreville, Alberta) BEFORE your status expires. If your application arrives after that date for whatever reason (including if you send it late), you will have to pay an extra fee of $200 per person. If you pay the $200 extra fee, you are even allowed to send in your application up to 90 days after your status expires, if you explain why it was sent late.

As long as your application for extension arrives at Immigration before your status expires, you will still be considered a LEGAL visitor in Canada, even if you don’t receive your new document until after your status expires.

Speak to a lawyer for more detailed information.

If I get married to a Canadian, can I stay in Canada?

Nov 09, 2007 @ 12:34 am by Patricia Wells

Many people think that the easiest way to stay in Canada is by getting married to a Canadian.  This is not necessarily true.  Here are the facts:

  • yes, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant) usually has the right to sponsor their husband, wife, same-sex partner or common-law partner
  • and yes, the sponsorship can usually be started whether the partner or spouse is in Canada already or still in the home country
  • and yes, if the partner or spouse is in Canada already, it does not usually matter whether they are legal or illegal.

However, sponsoring a spouse or partner is not a fast or easy process:

  • From the time the sponsorship is submitted, it can take from 6 months to more than 2 years for the spouse or partner to get their “papers” (permanent resident card)
  • If the Canadian immigration authorities do not believe you have a “genuine relationship” you will never get your papers – you will be refused.

So it is not enough just to get married, or to send in a sponsorship application.  You will have to show the immigration authorities your relationship is genuine.

My advice? If you are in a genuine marriage or common-law relationship, being sponsored is the easiest way to come to Canada or stay in Canada as a permanent resident.  But if you are only thinking of getting married to a Canadian because you think it is a fast and easy way to get your papers – it is not.

And remember – if you get married and then Immigration refuses your sponsorship application because they don’t believe your relationship is genuine, you will still be married, but with no immigration papers. And divorce can be expensive.

Please talk to an immigration lawyer if you have questions about any of this.

I am a permanent resident (landed immigrant). How long can I stay outside Canada without losing my status?

Oct 10, 2007 @ 12:25 am by Patricia Wells

A permanent resident is allowed to live or travel outside Canada for up to 3 years out of every 5 years, with no questions asked.  In other words, you must be physically present in Canada for 2 years out of every 5 years in order to keep your permanent resident status. Please note: this rule changed in 2002.  Before that, a permanent resident could stay outside Canada only 6 months before risking losing that status.  Since 2002, this is no longer the case.

You must have a Permanent Resident Card in order to travel back to Canada.

If you are a Convention refugee, or if you need to be outside Canada for more than 3 years, your situation may be more complicated.  Talk to a lawyer.


Jul 30, 2007 @ 03:48 pm by Patricia Wells

This topic is not exactly “about immigration” but we are including this information because clients sometimes ask Patricia Wells about this question.

If you wish to get married in Ontario, but you were divorced in another country (perhaps Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, Peru…), you will be given a “Foreign Divorce” package when you go to get your marriage licence.  This means you must find an Ontario lawyer to send a legal opinion to the Ontario government, explaining why your foreign divorce is “equivalent” to an Ontario divorce.

Patricia Wells, among other lawyers, provides this service.

If you contact Patricia Wells, she will ask you to make an appointment with her to answer some questions about your previous marriage and the divorce.  Before the appointment, make sure you have your original divorce document available.*  Also, before your appointment, make sure you have the marriage licence application form filled in by both you and your intended marriage partner.  Finally, take to the appointment with Patricia Wells all the documents you were given at the Ontario marriage licence office.

After the interview, Patricia Wells can generally have your opinion letter ready for pick-up later that day, or the next day.

You will then have to send the legal opinion letter along with your divorce document, translation if applicable, filled-out marriage licence application, and completed “Statement of Sole Responsibility” to: Office of the Registrar General, P.O. Box 4600, 189 Red River Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 6L8

You will then receive back, within a few days or weeks, an authorization from the Office of the Registrar General, which you will take back to the marriage licence office in order to get your Ontario marriage licence.  (You must apply for the marriage licence within 3 months, or else your authorization will expire.)

* If your divorce document is not in English or French, it must be translated. Contact Patricia Wells if you require a certified translation of your divorce.


Oct 25, 2006 @ 02:15 pm by Patricia Wells

If you are in Canada, you can be sponsored by your husband, wife, or common-law partner, as long as he or she is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (landed immigrant).You will not have to leave Canada in order to apply for permanent residence. You may remain in Caanda while your application is processed.Your sponsor and yourself will have to fill out the forms in the “Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada” application kit, which is found on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

What does “common-law partner” mean?

If you and your partner are living together now, but are not married, and if you have lived together for 12 months or more, you are considered “common-law partners” for immigration purposes.

What if my husband, wife or common-law partner is the same sex as me?

You can still be sponsored, either as a spouse or as a common-law partner – as a “spouse” if you were legally married in a place where same-sex marriage is legal (for example, Ontario). If not, as a “common-law partner” (as long as you have lived together 12 months or more).

What if I am legally married to someone else?

You can still be sponsored as a “common-law partner,” even if you or your sponsor is still married to someone else. (However, there may be complications if your common-law partner sponsored his or her spouse before, or if your common-law partner was sponsored to come to Canada.)

What if I am illegal in Canada?

You can still be sponsored as a “spouse or common-law partner in Canada” even if you have no status in Canada. This law changed on February 18, 2005 – before that, you had to have legal status in Caanda to be sponsored, but that is no longer the case.


Oct 19, 2006 @ 10:13 pm by Patricia Wells

Welcome to the new!

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