Canada is undoubtedly one of the most popular immigration destinations in the world, and for good reasons. Known for its tolerance and acceptance of diverse races, beliefs, values, religions, and cultures, it is a place where people from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds can truly feel at home.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), which is responsible for overseeing virtually every aspect of the Canadian immigration process, recognises the importance of reuniting families. In fact, family reunification is an important goal of Canada’s public policy. Spouses, partners, and dependent children who come to Canada through a Canadian sponsor are referred to by CIC as the Family Class.
Family immigration law in Canada is quite different compared to other English-speaking countries such as England, New Zealand, USA and Australia. Unlike the UK, USA and Australia, Canadian immigration law does not offer a benefit of a fiancee visa category. For instance, permanent residents and citizens of the UK and Australia can bring a foreign national to their country on a prospective marriage visa. There is a special K-1 fiancee visa category in US immigration law that allows a US citizen to bring a foreign fiancee to America for the purposes of getting married. Unfortunately, there is no similar visa category in Canadian immigration law. Canadian sponsors, who wish to bring a foreign fiancee to Canada, must choose between the unmarried partner and conjugal visa categories. The conjugal partner visa is commonly used by Canadian citizens and permanent residents in lieu of the traditional fiancee visa.
While the definition of a partnership is quite strict, Canadian immigration law recognises that certain factors may prevent couples from living together for an extensive period of time, or entering into a legal marriage or civil partnership. Canadian sponsors have a clearly defined and legally-binding obligation to provide financial support for their foreign spouse, partner, or same sex partner. This obligation also applies to any dependent children who are given derivative status on an immigrant visa application.
Canada grants immigrant visas to couples who are not only married or living together, but also to those who are not able to meet the requirements for a spouse or common law visa due to extenuating circumstances. If you have a foreign partner or spouse, and are hoping to bring them to Canada on a permanent resident visa, there are three types of visas that you may be eligible to pursue. To learn more about each of these visas, and whether you are eligible to sponsor your loved one to immigrate to Canada, please choose from one of the following migration categories: