Falling in love is a beautiful thing.
But… when your better half is from another country…
Well, that can get complicated.
If you’re a Canadian citizen with a spouse from the US—and the two of you are wanting to live in Canada, then you’ll need to file some paperwork.
While a temporary solution is ensuring your spouse has a visa while they’re here—this is only meant to be temporary.
For long-term residency, you need to ensure you follow the proper immigration steps, starting with permanent residency.
If you don’t take the right steps, file the right paperwork, or you simply try to avoid the process entirely, it could end with your spouse being deported.
In this article, we’ll cover 5 things you need to consider when sponsoring your American spouse into Canada.
Top 5 Considerations When Sponsoring an American Spouse into Canada
Immigration into Canada is quite the process.
Not only does it require a ton of paperwork, but it can also take a long time.
You need to make sure you understand the fundamentals of the process if you want to ensure your application is approved—(and approved fast).
1. Who Is Eligible to Sponsor Their Spouse into Canada?
The truth is, not everyone is eligible to sponsor a spouse into Canada.
In order to qualify as an eligible sponsor, you need to meet these basic requirements:
- Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
- Live in Canada (or you plan to return to Canada once spouse becomes a permanent resident of Canada)
- Are able (and you’re willing) to provide basic financial needs of your spouse for three years
These are the most basic requirements for the sponsor, although there are more nuanced requirements depending on your situation. For more information on spousal sponsorships, click here.
2. Sponsorship Interviews
One of the most important steps in the spousal sponsorship process is the interview(s).
Canadian immigration isn’t a foolproof process.
In order to sponsor an American citizen into Canada to gain permanent residency, you need to have a real relationship with them.
It isn’t enough that you’re married or living with one another as common-law partners.
You need to prove to Canadian immigration that you have a genuine relationship with one another.
Because spousal sponsorship is one of the easiest ways to immigrate into another country, there are many people who commit marriage fraud to speed up the process.
To help reduce fraudulent marriages and sponsorships, Canadian immigration officers will sometimes interview either the Canadian sponsor or the American applicant (or both) to ensure the genuineness of their relationship.
While these interviews aren’t too common, if an immigration officer has any concern about the genuineness of the relationship, they may require interviews.
3. Common-Law Application Requirements
If you aren’t married to your partner, you could still qualify for spousal sponsorship. Common-law status with your partner is another way you can help them immigrate into Canada.
It’s important to note that common-law applicants will often have to show more proof of the genuineness of their relationship than married couples.
They need to prove the legal threshold of common-law status, which is to live together for at least one year in a committed relationship.
If you’re common-law with your partner, you may also have to show supporting common-law documents such as:
- Joint bank accounts or credit cards
- Joint lease or mortgage in both names
- Driver’s licenses or other provincial IDs with the same address
- Utility bills at the same address
- Car insurance at the same address
If you are unable to provide sufficient documentation to prove common-law status, you may be denied.
4. Obligations as a Canadian Sponsor
When you agree to become a sponsor for an American citizen (including your spouse), you have to sign a document promising to support the American applicant financially.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to financial obligations:
- You must be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter
- You must be able to provide health care such as dental and eye care that isn’t covered by public health
- If your spouse has children, you must be able to provide the above care for them as well
- You need to ensure the person(s) you sponsor won’t need any financial support from the government like social assistance. If they take any, you will be required to pay it back.
- This document is a binding promise of support—you are legally obligated to support the applicant for the length of the undertaking period regardless of any changes (i.e. spouse becomes Canadian citizen, divorce or separation, move to a different province or country, or you have financial problems).
5. Criminal Convictions
If your American spouse has a clean record, then you’ll have an easier time with your application.
However, if they have any criminal convictions in Canada or the US, it can negatively impact their application process to gain permanent residency.
If the applicant from the US has been convicted of a crime, they must be proven to be rehabilitated by individual rehabilitation or deemed rehabilitation.
Need Help Sponsoring Your American Spouse into Canada?
Are you a Canadian citizen with a spouse from the US?
Do you need help getting your American spouse their Canadian permanent residency?
If so, you’ll want to reach out to a Canadian lawyer to help you with the process. For help getting your US spouse permanent residency in Canada, or, if you have any questions about the spousal sponsorship process, reach out to us at Falcon Law.
Right now, we’re offering free virtual consultations for spousal sponsorships services in Canada.
Click here to book a consultation today.