1. The first stage of preparation
In the first stages of the immigrant visa application process, the sponsor and the beneficiary must file numerous forms and supporting documents to convince the Canadian immigration authorities that they qualify for the requested immigration benefit. The list of documents and forms that will have to be completed at this stage is quite expansive. The exact forms and supporting documents that must be submitted will vary, depending on the type of visa for which you are applying and whether your partner or spouse is currently residing in Canada.
You will need the following documents for your application
· Provide a marriage certificate from the province or territory where you got married if you were married in Canada.
· Provide proof of a valid marriage if you were married outside of Canada; the marriage must be legally valid in the place you were married as well as under Canadian law.
· Provide proof of a valid marriage if you were married in an embassy or consulate; the marriage must be legal according to the country where the embassy or consulate is located.
· Demonstrate that you will live in Canada once your spouse or common-law or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident (In the case the sponsor does reside in Canada when applying for the visa).
· Sign an agreement that confirms that the sponsor and the person being sponsored understand their mutual obligations and responsibilities. Both the sponsor and the person being sponsored need to sign this agreement.
· Sign an undertaking promising to provide for the basic needs of their spouse or common-law partner; the sponsor is required to sign this agreement.
· Demonstrate the genuine nature of your relationship with your spouse or common-law or conjugal partner. It is essential to demonstrate that your relationship with your partner is genuine and they are immigrating to Canada because of you and not just because of their desire to live and work in the country.
· Proof of a genuine relationship can be demonstrated by:
o A marriage certificate
o Frequent communication, such as letters, emails and phone calls
o Photos of you and your partner together
o Joint agreements, such as a lease agreement and/or bank accounts
For a common-law partner, you can give proof of your genuine relationship by:
· Showing you have shared property
· Showing you share a lease or rental agreement
· Showing you pay utility bills together
· Showing you have the same address on important documents (driver’s license, insurance policies
2. Submitting your application
At this point, a number of documents must be submitted to the appropriate immigration department to prove you are financially capable of supporting your foreign spouse or partner and that your relationship is bona fide and ongoing. At this stage, processing fees associated with the residence visa application process must also be remitted to the Canadian government.
Sponsorship application (per application)
Principal applicant, if under 19 and not a spouse or common-law partner (including a dependent child of the sponsor, a child to be adopted, and an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew, or grandchild)
Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of the principal applicant or, where a transitional provision applies, a family member of the principal applicant who is 22 or older
After the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives your application, an adjudicator at the immigration centre will ensure that all required information has been submitted, and that you meet all of the requirements to be considered an eligible sponsor. The visa applicants will also be assessed to determine whether they are legally eligible to immigrate to Canada under the spouse or partner immigration category. Certain health conditions or past criminal activity may render them excludable from the country, or inadmissible to Canada if based outside of the country.
If any additional fees or documents are required, they will be requested at this point. If everything is in order, your application will be passed on to a Canadian visa office overseas for further processing.
3. Visa Interview
Once it has been determined by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that both the sponsor and the visa applicant meet basic permanent resident visa eligibility requirements, the entire case file is sent to a Canadian visa office overseas for the next stage of processing.
At this point, a consular official will decide whether they wish to conduct a selection marriage visa interview, or if they will choose to waive this requirement. The decision about whether an interview will be conducted is made on a case-by-case basis. Much depends on whether the application is clearly approvable. Family sponsorship applications that are not completed correctly, or contain a lack of supporting documentation will increase the likelihood that an interview will be required.
During the marriage visa interview, you will be required to verify the information in your application, or they may request additional supporting documentation from you and/or your loved one.
The immigration officer will also ask a number of questions to find out more about your case and to ensure that the information on your spousal or partner visa application is honest and accurate
If the immigration official is satisfied with the interview, and there is no request for additional documentation, a permanent resident visa will likely be granted at this stage. The applicant and any accompanying children must enter Canada before the visa expires.
Before they enter, all applicants are required to undergo medical screening and examination to be eligible to immigrate to Canada, and these results are valid for a period of one year. The applicant and any dependent children usually have between six and nine months to enter Canada after they have received their permanent resident visas.
4. Entering Canada
Upon arrival, a Canadian immigration official at a port of entry will request the visa holder’s Confirmation of Permanent Residence and an immigrant visa. A CIC officer will check that the visa is still valid. They will also request to see the visa holder’s passport, ask the beneficiary questions pertaining to information included in the application, and inquire about any funds that are being brought into Canada.
If there are no concerns or problems, your spouse or partner will be legally authorized to enter Canada as a permanent resident. Confirmation of Permanent Residence (a permanent resident card) will then be mailed to a Canadian address provided in the application forms.
The Government of Canada is committed to processing spousal/common-law partner sponsorship applications within 12 months from the day they are received.
As a permanent resident, your foreign spouse or partner will be permitted to live, study and work in Canada. Lawful permanent residents are also entitled to receive certain social benefits and health care.
However, it is important to bear in mind that permanent resident status may be revoked or cancelled under certain circumstances. For instance, if a serious crime is committed, or your spouse or partner has lived outside of Canada for more than three out of the last five years, the Canadian government has the right to revoke permanent residency.
For this reason, permanent residents may wish to apply for Canadian citizenship, which gives them the same rights and privileges as Canadian-born citizens. To be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, your foreign spouse or partner must have lived in Canada for three years.