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Applying For a Spousal Visa? How To Prove You Have a Real Marriage

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Family Class and Spousal Sponsorship

Applying For a Spousal Visa? How To Prove You Have a Real Marriage

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your foreign spouse or partner to move to Canada. Canada immigration law allows for same-sex marriage and same-sex common-law partners to qualify for a spousal visa. The Canadian government places a high priority on family reunification and keeping families intact. Spousal Sponsorship is an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) program that provides an opportunity for Canadians and permanent residents to bring their legal spouse or common-law partner to Canada. Applicants must prove their relationship is a real marriage and not a marriage of convenience.

It is a crime for a foreign national to enter into a false marriage and marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the purpose of entering or working in Canada. During the Spousal Sponsorship application process, IRCC will require applicants to prove they have a "real marriage' and not a marriage strictly for immigration purposes.

Who Is Eligible for Spousal Sponsorship?

You are eligible to sponsor your spouse or partner if:

  • You’re at least 18 years old
  • You’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada
    • If you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside Canada.
  • You’re able to prove that you’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • you can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor
  • You must also be able to show that you can provide basic needs for yourself and your spouse or partner

Expedited Processing of Spousal Sponsorship Applications

Due to the backlog created by the global pandemic, IRCC has committed to a 66% increase in the number of staff processing spousal applications with the goal to process them more quickly and to reduce couples’ wait times.

How To Prove You Have A Real Marriage

Spousal Sponsorship is a legal contract with the Government of Canada. If you sponsor your spouse, you must give them financial support for 3 years even if the marriage or relationship fails.

IRCC considers marriage fraud and sham marriages, including a marriage of convenience, a serious issue and Canadian citizens or permanent residents who engage in marriage fraud for the purpose of immigration may be charged with a crime. IRCC agents use document checks, visits to people’s homes and interviews with both sponsors and applicants to prove that a marriage is real and not a marriage of convenience.

    Items that IRCC says can be used as proof of a marriage or common-law relationship include:

    • shared ownership of residential property
    • joint leases or rental agreements
    • bills for shared utility accounts, such as:
      • gas
      • electricity
      • telephone
      • joint utility accounts
    • important documents for both of you showing the same address, such as:
      • driver’s licenses
      • insurance policies
    • identification documents

    If you believe you are the victim of marriage fraud,

    Learn More:

    Start Your Spousal Sponsorship Application Now

    Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah says couples who have not yet applied to start their Spousal Sponsorship application:

    Wait times on immigration applications are long enough now - but they're only going to get longer! Start your spousal sponsorship application today so you and your loved one can be reunited in Canada.


    Spousal sponsorship applications can be confusing. At Ackah Law, we advise that you consult an immigration lawyer who has experience in Family Class Spousal Sponsorship applications so that you don't waste time or money - or risk having your immigration application rejected.

      Contact Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (587) 324-2232 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

      Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

      Founder/Managing Lawyer

      Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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