Spouse, partner and interdependency visas: application process

If you wish to obtain a permanent resident visa to immigrate to Canada under the spousal, unmarried partner, or same sex partner visa category, it is important that the application process is followed correctly. 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.

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.

After the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) receives your application, an adjudicator at the immigration center 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.

Once your application reaches a Canadian visa office, a final decision will be made. Immigration officials may decide to conduct a marriage visa interview to verify the information in your application, or they may request additional supporting documentation from you and/or your loved one. At this stage, much depends on whether your application is clearly approvable, meaning that all information and required documentation has been included in your application packet. Embassies and Consulates may request original documents, legible photocopies, or notarized statements.

If everything is in order, the visa interview goes well (if one is required by the Canadian immigration authorities to make a decision), and both partners have provided sufficient proof that their relationship is genuine, ongoing, and that they entered into marriage or partnership in good faith, and not to evade Canadian immigration laws, permanent resident visa will likely be granted at this stage. The applicant and any accompanying children must enter Canada before the visa expires. 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.

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. A confirmation of Permanent Residence (a permanent resident card) will then be mailed to a Canadian address provided in the application forms.

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.

Read next:

Marriage visa interview: what to expect

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