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Marriage to a Foreigner FAQ

Support help line: 1-866-760-2623

Marrying a foreigner in Canada is a straight-forward process, though there are slight variations in the process between provinces. In order to marry, you need:

  • a completed marriage license application
  • the correct fee (often in cash)
  • photo IDs for borh parties (passports are best)
  • proof of single status for the foreigner (such as a divorce certificate, duly translated)
Contact your City Hall or or municipal office for more details and the application form.

I want to sponsor my spouse to live with me in Canada. Should I apply from Canada or from the country where she is a citizen?

It is faster to sponsor your spouse from the country where she currently lives. You can reside in Canada or in the country where she lives whilst undergoing the sponsorship process. If you reside outside of Canada during this process, you can enter and exit Canada as often as you want.


My girlfriend lives in Cuba with her ageing mother. When we marry we want to move to Canada and bring her mother with us. Is it possible for me to sponsor my girlfriend and her mother?

Your girlfriend’s mother does not qualify for sponsorship under the spousal sponsorship program. Once you are married, you must first sponsor your girlfriend and she must apply for permanent resident status in Canada. Once she is a permanent resident she can apply to sponsor her mother.


Can my partner just apply for permanent residence in Canada without me having to make a sponsorship agreement?

Yes. Your partner can apply independently to live in Canada under one of the other immigration categories e.g. as a Skilled Worker, however they must prove their eligibility under that class. The immigration process may be slower than had you sponsored them to live with you.


When my husband comes to Canada can he work legally here?

If you successfully sponsor your husband and he obtains permanent residence status in Canada he will be able to legally work or study here. If he does not have legal residence status or a valid work visa he will risk deportation.


How can I bring my foreign spouse to live with me in Canada?

You must sponsor your spouse under the Family Class of sponsorship. You can do this if she lives in another country or if she lives with you in Canada, even if her status is not legal here. As a sponsor you have to agree to support them financially for 3 years, whether they remain with you or not. At the same time your spouse must apply for permanent residence in Canada.


I met my Thai girlfriend on the internet and have visited her twice since we first met. Later this year we are planning to get married and for her to come and live in Canada. What do I need to prove my marriage to her is genuine?

You must prove that the relationship is genuine by providing evidence such as photos of the two of you together at different time periods e.g. some on your first visit, some on your second, proof of your trips to Thailand e.g. boarding passes, phone records showing her phone number and proving regular contact, emails or letters showing regular correspondence. If you have evidence of joint affairs, such as a joint bank account or property owned together, or if you send money on a regular basis to her this will also help prove your case.


I am a Canadian citizen and am planning on marrying my Chinese girlfriend this year. Once we are married will she automatically qualify for Canadian citizenship?

No. Marriage to a Canadian citizen does not automatically qualify for Canadian citizenship. You must first sponsor your partner to live in Canada and at the same time your partner must apply for permanent residence. This can be done from Canada or from the country where she is a permanent resident. Once you spouse has been a permanently resident in Canada for 3 years or 1,095 days in a 4 year period, she can apply for Canadian citizenship.


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