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.