How to Sponsor my fiancée to Canada
For many Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada, it can seem difficult having to live away from your Fiancé; you are planning to spend your lives together, and you may not want to wait until after marriage to begin your new life. Or maybe you feel that you aren’t yet ready, and want to live together for a while before marriage to ensure you are compatible (anyone familiar with the show 90 day Fiancé is aware the US gives you 3 months to cohabit together before marriage). Can I Sponsor my Fiancée to Canada
Unfortunately, Canada does not allow you to sponsor your Fiancé until after the wedding, upon marriage you can submit an spousal sponsorship application. That being said, depending on the circumstances of your relationship, you may be eligible to sponsor your Fiancé if you qualify under one of the following categories:
Common-Law Partner Sponsorship:
If you and your partner have resided in the same household together in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 continuous months (short absences for things like business travel are acceptable), you may be able to sponsor your Fiancé as your ‘common law spouse’. This category of spousal sponsorship applies to both opposite sex, and same sex couples.
You must be able to prove that you currently have, or have had an established household together, for which you shared the responsibilities. This cohabitation could have taken place either within Canada, or abroad. It is important to convince the Officer that you shared a fully established and committed life with your partner; basically a marriage without the documentation or ceremony.
Proof of this joint life/household could include:
- Dually owned property or a home
- Shared Lease agreement
- Shared address (i.e. on your licenses, legal documents, etc)
- Household utilities/bills under both of your names
- Combined bank accounts
- Jointly owned vehicles
Conjugal Partner Sponsorship:
If you are in a permanent and physical relationship with a commitment equaling that of marriage or a common law relationship, who due to situations beyond their control, have not been able to live together, then you may be able to sponsor your Fiancé under as a ‘Conjugal Partner’.
If you have been in a conjugal relationship with your partner for a minimum of 1 year, but could not marry of live together due to barriers beyond your control, your relationship may qualify.
Some examples of barriers that Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognize include:
- An immigration barrier has prevented you from being together
- Marital status- your partner is married to someone else, and resides in a country where divorce is not permitted and/or possible
- Sexual orientation- your partner lives in a country where same-sex relationships or same-sex marriages are not permitted
- You can prove there was a circumstance preventing you from residing together, such as being refused long-term stays in each other’s country
If you have had the opportunity to live together or marry, and have chosen not to do so for personal reasons, or because you were not ready, there is a very high chance of your application being rejected, as the Officer may question your commitment to your partner.
Alternative ways to have your Fiancé come to Canada
If your Fiancé is already in Canada with valid status (such as on a valid work permit or study permit), then you may want to consider just waiting until after the wedding to sponsor them for Permanent Residence (PR), as you are already able to live together. If your goal is to remain engaged for several years before marriage and you do not want to wait that long to sponsor your Fiancé for PR, then you may want to consider living together for at least 1 year, then applying to sponsor your partner under the ‘common-law spouse’ category.
If your Fiancé is not living in Canada, there are a few other options you may want to consider in order for them to come to Canada either temporarily, or as a Permanent Resident:
Visa Exempt Visitor:
If you Fiancé is from a visa exempt country, such as America, then they are already entitled to visit Canada for up to 6 months at a time. If they would like to remain in Canada beyond 6 months, they can apply to extend their stay as a visitor without having to leave the country. This is again a good option for people who would like to cohabit for the minimum 1 year before sponsoring your Fiancé as a ‘common-law spouse’.
A Visitor Visa is a document that allows individuals from ‘visa required’ countries to enter and remain in Canada legally for up to 6 months at a time. Your Fiancé may not have to reapply for a new visitor visa for each visit if they are approved for a ‘multiple entry visa’, which could be issued for up to 10 years, or 1 month before the expiry date of your Fiancé’s passport. It is a good idea to ensure your Fiancé’s passport is not expiring soon before applying for a visitor visa!
Applying through Express Entry:
If your Fiancé meets the requirements for Express Entry, they may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence without being sponsored. This may be a good option for a few reasons:
- It means they are eligible to apply for PR based on their own credentials
- Processing times for PR applications submitted under the Express Entry (typically 6 months or less) stream are much faster than spousal sponsorship both inside Canada (up to 26 months) and outside Canada (up to 17 months)
- Permanent Residence under Express Entry does not have the same ‘conditional permanent residence’ stipulations that come with spousal sponsorship, and there is no ‘agreement & undertaking’ conditions for the sponsor to commit to
Factors considered by IRCC when determining eligibility for Express Entry:
- Education level
- Language abilities
- Valid Job Offer
- Provincial Nomination
- Adaptability (i.e. relatives in Canada, transferability skills, etc.)
How do I know which option is best for me
The best way to determine which option is the fastest way to bring your Fiancé to Canada with the highest success rate is to contact Akrami & Associates at 416-477-2545 for a consultation. We have worked with hundreds to couples in order to accomplish their Canadian Immigration goals. We can review your case, and provide you with the best strategies tailored to your particular situation depending on what programs you and your Fiancé qualify for.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!