You or your spouse is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen and the other is not. You would like to sponsor your spouse or maybe you would like your spouse to sponsor you. Sponsoring your spouse or being sponsored by your spouse is by far one of the easiest ways to immigrate to Canada, but can be complex, costly, and time consuming.
The best thing to do is to start early. You should make sure that you keep physical records of your relationship including photographs. If you are married and living in Canada, it is generally a little bit easier because you will probably already have lots of paperwork and other evidence demonstrating that you are in a serious and long-term relationship. If it is an overseas relationship, then showing Citizenship and Immigration Canada the progressive development of the relationship is important. You should have records that show when you first started communicating and how that eventually progressed to the current day. You can get joint credit cards, name the other as a beneficiary on insurance papers, and keep records of text conversations and emails that are exchanged. You should make sure that your family and friends are aware of the relationship. If you have Facebook or other social media accounts, use it as an opportunity to create a digital record of your relationship that the government can secretly snoop on and confirm that what you say is true.
You could be married or common law and have lived together for at least one year. It really does not make a big difference to the Canadian government. You should have pictures of your anniversary or some proof that you have a day when the relationship became conjugal. This does not mean that you need to send the government X-rated pictures, although if you do you will not be the first ones to do so. People have been known to do so in frustration because they believe that the government is moving too slowly or does not believe the relationship is legitimate. Generally speaking, I doubt that it helps the processing of your files whether or not the pictures may amuse, surprise, or disgust those tasked with reviewing the files.
Matthew J. Van Den Hooven
Matthew is a lawyer based in Nanaimo, B.C. Please note that the accuracy of the information in this blog is not guaranteed and that the law does change. It is not a replacement for independent legal advice. Contact Matthew to arrange for an appointment today.