July 24, 2008

Fiance Visa? | How to sponsor a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner to Canada

What are the requirements for fiance visa? How to process sponsorship visa? I have a boyfriend in Canada, can he sponsor me so that I can work in Canada? If we will get married, can my spouse sponsor me?

But is there really a fiance visa program?

Fiance Visa Canada

No. There is no fiance visa category in Canada's family class sponsorship. Information about application to sponsor spouse under Family Class Program is available for free at http://cic.gc.ca.

A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada can sponsor his spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative (such as a parent or grandparent) to become a permanent resident. There are two different processes for sponsoring your family. One process is used for sponsoring your spouse, conjugal or common-law partner and/or dependent children. Another process is used to sponsor other eligible relatives.

On this post, I'll write about sponsoring spouses or partners.

Sponsoring a spouse or a partner
(The following information were taken from Citizenship and Immigration Canada*)

You can sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. To be a sponsor, you must be 18 years of age or older.

You can apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or accompanying dependent children live with you in Canada, even if they do not have legal status in Canada. However, all the other requirements must be met.

You can also apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children live outside Canada, and if they meet all the requirements.

When you sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada, you must promise to support them financially. Therefore, you have to meet certain income requirements. If you have previously sponsored relatives to come to Canada and they have later turned to the government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.

To be a sponsor

  • You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself.

  • You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.

  • You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.
  • You may not be eligible to be a sponsor if you:

  • failed to provide financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor another relative in the past
  • defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support
  • received government financial assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • were convicted of a violent criminal offense, any offense against a relative or any sexual offense—depending on circumstances such as the nature of the offense, how long ago it occurred and whether a pardon was issued
  • defaulted on an immigration loan—late or missed payments
  • are in prison or
  • have declared bankruptcy and have not been released from it yet.
  • Note:If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s immigration sponsorship requirements, after Citizenship and Immigration Canada approves you as a sponsor.


    You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid.

    If you were married in Canada:

  • You must have a marriage certificate issued by the province or territory where the marriage took place.
  • If you were married outside Canada:

  • The marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it took place and under Canadian law.
  • A marriage performed in an embassy or consulate must comply with the law of the country where it took place, not the country of nationality of the embassy or consulate.
  • Sponsoring your same-s-e-x partner as a spouse

    You can apply to sponsor your same-s-e-x partner as a spouse if:

  • you are a Canadian citizen and permanent resident and
  • you were married in Canada and issued a marriage certificate by a Canadian province or territory on or after the following dates:

  • o British Columbia (on or after July 8, 2003) o Manitoba (on or after September 16, 2004) o New Brunswick (on or after July 4, 2005) o Newfoundland and Labrador (on or after December 21, 2004) o Nova Scotia (on or after September 24, 2004) o Ontario (on or after June 10, 2003) o Quebec (on or after March 19, 2004) o Saskatchewan (on or after November 5, 2004) o Yukon (on or after July 14, 2004) o all other provinces or territories (on or after July 20, 2005).
    If you were married outside Canada, you may apply to sponsor your same-s ex partner as a spouse as long as the marriage is legally recognized according to both the law of the place where the marriage occurred and under Canadian law. This applies to same-se x marriages performed in the following jurisdictions:
    • Belgium 
    • the Netherlands 
    • South Africa 
    • Spain 
    • the State of Massachusetts.
    Common-law partner

    You are a common-law partner—either of the opposite sex or same sex—if:

  • you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year in a continuous 12-month period that was not interrupted. (You are allowed short absences for business travel or family reasons, however.)
  • You will need proof that you and your common-law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household together. This can be in the form of:
    • joint bank accounts or credit cards 
    • joint ownership of a home 
    • joint residential leases 
    • joint rental receipts 
    • joint utilities (electricity, gas, telephone) 
    • joint management of household expenses 
    • proof of joint purchases, especially for household items or 
    • mail addressed to either person or both people at the same address. 

    Conjugal partner

    This category is for partners—either of the opposite s-e-x or same s-e-x —in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses by living together.

    A conjugal relationship is more than a physical relationship. It means you depend on each other, there is some permanence to the relationship and there is the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law relationship.

    You may apply as a conjugal partner if:

    • you have maintained a conjugal relationship with your sponsor for at least one year and you have been prevented from living together or marrying because of: 
    o an immigration barrier
    o your marital status (for example, you are married to someone else and living in a country where divorce is not possible) or
    o your sexual orientation (for example, you are in a same-s-e-x relationship and same-s-e-x marriage is not permitted where you live)
    • you can provide evidence there was a reason you could not live together (for example, you were refused long-term stays in each other’s country). 
    You should not apply as a conjugal partner if:
    • You could have lived together but chose not to. This shows that you did not have the level of commitment required for a conjugal relationship. (For example, one of you may not have wanted to give up a job or a course of study, or your relationship was not yet at the point where you were ready to live together.) 
    • You cannot provide evidence there was a reason that kept you from living together. 
    • You are engaged to be married. In this case, you should either apply as a spouse once the marriage has taken place or apply as a common-law partner if you have lived together continuously for at least 12 months. 
    Relationships that are not eligible

    You cannot be sponsored as a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner if:
    you are under 16 years of age you (or your sponsor) were married to someone else at the time of your marriage
    • you have lived apart from your sponsor for at least one year and either you (or your sponsor) are the common-law or conjugal partner of another person 
    • your sponsor immigrated to Canada and, at the time they applied for permanent residence, you were a family member who should have been examined to see if you met immigration requirements, but you were not examined or
    • your sponsor previously sponsored another spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, and three years have not passed since that person became a permanent resident. 
    The information above should be enough guide in order for you to have a successful application. Bear in mind, however, that if your marriage was done just for convenience or is just done for the sole purpose of getting a permanent resident status in Canada, there is a great chance that the Visa Officer will know it and your application will be refused. On the other hand, some applications are being refused even if the marriages were genuine due to poor documentation and inconsistent information that were being provided.

    To convince the Visa Office that your marriage was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring status or privilege under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, here three important things to consider -

  • Submit the correct forms and provide all the required information. Do not leave any field blank. If it's not applicable, put N/A on it. Be consistent with the information you will provide

  • Demonstrate strong communication or commitment to the marital relationship and that you are mutually interdependent

  • Provide verifiable documents to corroborate information that will be provided
  • Again, there is no Fiance Visa category in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada. It's either you get married or submit proof that you are common-law or conjugal partners. Remember though, that getting married, even if legal, does not guarantee a visa!

    If you are planning to bring your fiance to Canada, you must get married first and sponsor your spouse.  But if you can't get married due to legal barrier, you may sponsor your spouse if you can establish a conjugal or common-law relationship.  This is the common approach for same-sex partners.

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