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How to get married in Canada and apply for a spousal visa

    Canada is a popular destination for couples who want to tie the knot and start a new life together. But getting married in Canada and applying for a spousal visa is not as simple as it may seem.
    There are many rules and requirements that both the sponsor and the sponsored person must meet, and the process can take several months or even years to complete.

    How to get married in Canada and apply for a spousal visa

    In this blog post, we will explore the steps and challenges involved in getting married in Canada and applying for a spousal visa, based on the information available from the official sources12 and the experiences of real people who have gone through the process.

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    Must Read: How to Get Canada Permanent Residency (PR) through Marriage

    Getting married in Canada as a visitor

    The first step to getting married in Canada is to obtain a marriage license from the province or territory where you plan to get married.

    Each province or territory has its own rules and fees for issuing a marriage license, so you should check the official website of the relevant authority before you travel.

    You also need to make sure that you are legally eligible to get married in Canada. You must be at least 18 years old, or have parental consent if you are 16 or 17.

    You must not be already married to someone else, or be closely related to your partner by blood or adoption. You must also have valid identification documents, such as a passport, a birth certificate, or a divorce certificate if you were previously married.

    You don’t need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to get married in Canada. You can get married as a visitor or on a temporary resident visa, as long as you meet the requirements of the province or territory where you want to get married.

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    However, getting married in Canada does not automatically grant you the right to stay or work in Canada. You still need to apply for a spousal visa if you want to live with your partner in Canada.

    Applying for a spousal visa

    A spousal visa is a type of family sponsorship visa that allows a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner to become a permanent resident of Canada.

    The sponsor and the sponsored person must prove that their relationship is genuine and not primarily for immigration purposes1.

    There are two types of spousal visa applications: inland and outland.

    An inland application is when both the sponsor and the sponsored person are already living in Canada, and the sponsored person has a valid temporary status, such as a visitor visa, a work permit, or a study permit.

    An outland application is when the sponsored person is living outside Canada or chooses to apply from outside Canada even if they are in Canada.

    The advantage of an inland application is that the sponsored person can apply for an open work permit at the same time as the spousal visa application, which allows them to work for any employer in Canada while waiting for the decision.

    The disadvantage is that the processing time can be longer, and the sponsored person cannot leave Canada until the application is approved unless they have a valid travel document1.

    The advantage of an outland application is that the processing time can be shorter, and the sponsored person can travel in and out of Canada while the application is in progress, as long as they have a valid visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA).

    The disadvantage is that the sponsored person cannot work in Canada until they become a permanent resident, and they may face difficulties in obtaining a visitor visa or an eTA if the immigration officer suspects that they intend to stay in Canada permanently.

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    The spousal visa application process involves several steps, such as filling out online forms, paying fees, submitting supporting documents, giving biometrics, undergoing medical exams, and attending interviews.

    The application package and the instruction guide are available on the official website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)4.

    The application fee for the sponsor and the sponsored person is $1,080 CAD, which includes the processing fee, the right of permanent residence fee, and the biometrics fee. The application fee increased on April 30, 20222.

    The processing time for spousal visa applications varies depending on the type of application, the country of origin of the sponsored person, and the complexity of the case.

    According to the IRCC website, the current average processing time for inland applications is 12 months, and for outland applications is 10 months5.

    However, some applications may take longer or shorter than the average, depending on various factors, such as the completeness of the application, the volume of applications, the security checks, and the COVID-19 pandemic5.

    Challenges and tips

    Getting married in Canada and applying for a spousal visa can be a rewarding but challenging experience for many couples. Some of the common challenges and tips that have been shared by people who have gone through the process are:

    Finding reliable and up-to-date information. The rules and requirements for getting married in Canada and applying for a spousal visa can change frequently, and sometimes without notice.

    It is important to check the official sources regularly and to consult with a reputable immigration lawyer or consultant if you have any doubts or questions.

    You can also find helpful information and advice from other people who have gone through the process on online forums and blogs, such as [CanadaVisa] and [Moving2Canada].

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    Proving the genuineness of the relationship. One of the main criteria for a spousal visa application is to prove that the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person is genuine and not primarily for immigration purposes.

    This can be challenging, especially for couples who have not lived together for a long time, or who have cultural or religious differences.

    The best way to prove the genuineness of the relationship is to provide as much evidence as possible, such as photos, chat logs, phone records, letters, emails, travel tickets, joint bank accounts, joint leases, joint bills, wedding invitations, wedding certificates, and testimonies from friends and family1.

    Dealing with the uncertainty and the waiting time. The spousal visa application process can be stressful and frustrating, as there is no guarantee of approval, and the waiting time can be long and unpredictable.

    Some couples may face separation, financial difficulties, emotional distress, and anxiety during the process.

    The best way to deal with the uncertainty and the waiting time is to stay positive, communicate regularly, support each other, and plan for the future.

    You can also track the status of your application online, or contact the IRCC through the web form, the call centre, or the email address provided on the IRCC website.

    Conclusion

    Getting married in Canada and applying for a spousal visa is a complex and lengthy process that requires a lot of preparation, patience, and perseverance.

    However, it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for couples who want to start a new life together in Canada.

    By following the official guidelines, providing sufficient evidence, and overcoming the challenges, you can achieve your dream of living with your partner in Canada.