The spouse visa category is designed for couples that have entered into a marriage that is legally sanctioned and recognized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The spouse of the sponsor may be currently living in Canada, or the sponsor may be married to a foreign national residing overseas. In addition to meeting all of the basic eligibility requirements, sponsors and foreign applicants must meet all of the following additional requirements to be eligible for a Canadian spousal visa:
- The marriage must be recognized as a legally-binding union by the Canadian government. If the ceremony was performed outside of Canada, the marriage must be recognized by both the Government of Canada and the jurisdiction in which the ceremony was performed.
- If either partner was the legal spouse of another individual at the time the ceremony was performed, a Canadian spousal visa will not be granted.
- If the sponsor and the applicant have been living apart for a period exceeding one year, the foreign applicant will not be eligible for a Canadian spousal visa.
- As a sponsor, if you are the common law or conjugal partner of another individual, you are ineligible to sponsor a foreign spouse for a Canadian marriage visa.
- If the visa beneficiary is the common law or conjugal partner of another sponsor, a spousal visa will not be issued.
- Under Canadian immigration law, you must be in possession of your marriage certificate.
- If you were married outside of Canada in a foreign Embassy or Consulate, the marriage must be legally binding according to the laws of the country in which the ceremony was performed. The recognition of the union by the country represented by the Embassy or Consulate is not sufficient to meet this requirement.
If you meet the criteria for approval, and all required documentation is submitted to the Canadian immigration authorities, it is quite likely that your family sponsorship application will be approved, and your wife or husband will be granted permanent residence status to live and work in Canada.
An immigration official may even decide to waive the marriage visa interview requirement if the entire case does not raise any serious “red flags”, and the application is complete and accurate. If the adjudicating officer is not satisfied based on the written petition, however, the beneficiary and/or the sponsor may be required to attend a selection marriage visa interview to convince the immigration department that their relationship is genuine and ongoing. The final decision as to whether the foreign spouse qualifies for permanent resident status will be made by the immigration official during the selection interview.