Become Canadian by Marrying a Canadian

One of the rights reserved for Canadian citizens is that they can help their close family members become citizens as well. Even spouses!

However, citizenship is not automatically transferred to a spouse when they marry a Canadian citizen. Rather, it starts a process which includes immigration, permanent residency and then, finally, citizenship.

Getting Married

The first step in the entire process is, of course, getting married. It is important that the marriage is recognized in some way.

A marriage is considered recognized in a few different ways. Generally, when a couple gets married, they get a marriage certificate, proof of their new relationship.

Sometimes, a couple may be considered to be married simply by being together for a long period of time. This is called common-law marriage and rules about it vary from place to place.

During the process of getting a spouse citizenship, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will want to confirm that the marriage is genuine.

Couples can show that their marriage is genuine by having children together, living together, pooling funds and resources and numerous other things that come naturally in a relationship. The reason why the CIC looks at these things is to make sure that the marriage isn’t just taking place to take advantage of the Canadian immigration system.

Permanent Residency

Permanent Residency is an immigration status in Canada that allows an immigrant to live and work within the country for as long as they want.

Permanent Residency Cards (PR Cards) are documents that prove that an immigrant has permanent residency. However, if a PR Card expires, the immigrant’s permanent resident status does not go away.

Some ways in which someone can lose their permanent resident status is for that person to move away from Canada for a long time or to commit a crime that violates the permanent residency.

citizenship through marriageAfter the happy couple has married, the Canadian citizen spouse will apply for sponsorship of the immigrant spouse. The immigrant spouse will then apply for an immigration visa to Canada through one of Canada’s foreign consulates or with the CIC if already in Canada.

Permanent Residency is an important step in this process and must be completed before moving on to getting citizenship.

Citizenship

After a spouse has received permanent residency, they need to meet some other requirements in order to qualify for citizenship.

  • A spouse cannot have their permanent residency under examination, meaning that they aren’t being investigated for fraud or removal
  • Spouses have to have been physically within Canada for three years within the past four years. This works out to a total of 1,095 days within four years.
  • Spouses must be reasonably competent in either English or French (official languages of Canada)
  • They must also be familiar with Canada’s history, culture and government.

There will be a test in the citizenship process that tests language competency and knowledge of Canada.

This process may take several years to complete, but the benefits are worth it. With citizenship one can

  • Vote
  • Help other relatives immigrate
  • Never be removed from Canada
  • Carry a Canadian passport