For Africans Seeking to Move to Canada Through Marriage, relocating to Canada from Africa can be a great opportunity, but being prepared is important. This guide covers everything you need to know, from choosing a program to settling in your new home.
Pursuing a new life in Canada, a land known for its vast opportunities, cultural diversity, and quality of life, is a dream many individuals share worldwide. For Africans seeking to make this dream a reality, one avenue that offers a pathway to Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) is through marriage. This journey is not just a geographical transition but a significant blend of personal commitment and legal immigration processes. It brings together love stories and migration routes, blending the promise of a future with the prospect of building a life in the Great White North.
In this guide, we will explore the steps, requirements, and considerations for Africans looking to embark on the path to secure a Permanent Residency in Canada through marriage. From the legal aspects to the personal intricacies, this guide provides a comprehensive roadmap for those eager to make Canada their new home through the bonds of matrimony.
Africans Seeking to Move to Canada Through Marriage – To apply for sponsoring your spouse, partner, or child
To apply for sponsoring your spouse, partner, or child, you must follow the online application process, which became mandatory as of September 23, 2022. However, suppose you cannot apply online and require accommodations, including those for a disability. In that case, you can request the application in an alternative format, such as paper, braille, or large print.
The application process involves two main parts:
- Sponsor Application: as the sponsor, you need to apply to become a sponsor.
- Sponsored Person’s Application: Your spouse, partner, or child must apply for permanent residence.
It’s important to note that if you want to sponsor your adopted child or an orphaned family member, you should follow the instructions for sponsoring your adopted child.
If you reside in Quebec, there may be additional steps to take for sponsoring your spouse, partner, or child in the province of Quebec.
The overall process of sponsoring your spouse, partner, or child involves four main steps. The specific details for each step should be available on the official government website, but the general steps typically include:
- Check Your Eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements to be a sponsor. These requirements include factors like age, immigration status, and financial capability.
- Gather Required Documents: Collect all the documentation and forms for the sponsor and the sponsored person.
- Submit Your Application: Complete the online sponsorship application and the sponsored person’s permanent residence application. Pay the required fees.
- Wait for a Decision: After submission, your application will be processed, and you will receive a decision. If approved, your spouse, partner, or child will be granted permanent residence in Canada.
The specific requirements and forms may vary depending on your situation and the program you are applying through, so it’s essential to carefully review the official guidelines and consult with the relevant authorities or immigration consultants to ensure you follow the correct procedures for your specific case.
To begin the sponsorship process, follow these steps:
- Apply to Sponsor:
For the Sponsor:
– Download and complete the PDF forms provided in the application package.
– Digitally sign these forms, along with the person you’re sponsoring (the principal applicant).
For the Principal Applicant (Person Being Sponsored):
– Upload the completed and digitally signed forms to their online application.
– Electronically sign the entire application, including the forms of any other family members if applicable.
Get the Application Package:
– The application package contains the following documents and resources:
– A document checklist for the sponsor and the persons you intend to sponsor.
– You and the persons you wish to sponsor need to complete the required forms.
– An instruction guide designed to assist you and your family in correctly fill out the forms.
Africans Seeking to Move to Canada Through Marriage – Assisting Your Spouse, Partner, or Child with Their Application:
If you intend to assist your family members with their applications or wish to check on their application status, there are specific steps you need to follow. This typically means you would act as their representative in the process. To proceed, you must request permission and provide the necessary forms along with your application.
Please refer to the official immigration authorities’ website for the most up-to-date application forms, guidelines, and requirements, as they may change over time.
When you sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner under spousal sponsorship in Canada, you have certain ongoing obligations:
- Financial Support: You are responsible for meeting the basic financial needs of your sponsored spouse, including everyday living expenses and health needs, for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
- Social Assistance: Before signing the undertaking agreement, you must ensure that your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner does not require social assistance from the government. If your sponsored family member receives financial help from the government during the period you are legally responsible for them, you are required to repay the full amount they received. Failure to repay this amount will result in your inability to sponsor another eligible family member until the debt is settled.
- Continued Financial Responsibility: Your financial obligation remains in effect even under the following circumstances:
– If your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner becomes a Canadian citizen.
– In the event of the end of your relationship with the sponsored person.
– If your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner relocates to another country or province.
– Even if you encounter financial difficulties or challenges.
It’s important to understand that sponsoring a spouse or partner is a significant commitment that goes beyond the immigration process. Your obligation to support their basic needs for three years is a legal commitment that must be upheld.
Regarding the need for a job, you do not need a job to sponsor your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner to come to Canada. Unlike some other sponsorship programs, there is no minimum income requirement for spousal sponsorship. However, you may need to demonstrate to the immigration officer that you have sufficient funds to fulfill your undertaking agreement and support your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner in Canada. Providing proof of your ability to support your sponsored family member is advisable to ensure a smooth application process.
Africans Seeking to Move to Canada Through Marriage – The Five Most Popular Routes for Immigration from Africa to Canada
1. Express Entry
Express Entry is the quickest and most sought-after route for individuals aiming to establish a new life in Canada. It efficiently manages and processes applications for those desiring Canadian permanent residence.
Ideal candidates typically possess university or college degrees, have valuable work experience, and demonstrate moderate English and French proficiency. African professionals often excel in the Express Entry pool. Candidates eligible for the following programs can also apply through Express Entry:
A free online assessment tool is the easiest way to check your eligibility.
2. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories each operate their immigration programs known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These programs are customized to meet the provinces’ specific economic and demographic needs, making them a favored option due to their potential for rapid access to Canadian permanent residence.
If nominated through a PNP aligned with Express Entry, you will gain an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, guaranteeing an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in the next Express Entry draw.
3. Family Sponsorship
Family reunification is a central tenet of Canadian immigration. Canada provides various immigration programs that enable Canadians to sponsor their family members for immigration to Canada.
To sponsor a family member as a permanent resident under family class sponsorship, the sponsor must meet the following conditions:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident aged at least 18 years.
- Reside in Canada (if a permanent resident), although Canadian citizens can sponsor family members while living outside the country.
- Have sufficient resources to financially support the sponsored person for the required duration.
Additionally, the sponsor must meet additional criteria such as not receiving social assistance (except for disability), fulfilling financial obligations, maintaining a clean criminal record, and more.
4. Canada’s StartUp Visa Program
If you are an innovative entrepreneur with a groundbreaking business idea, you might qualify for immigration to Canada through the StartUp Visa Program. Canada seeks talented entrepreneurs who aim to stimulate the Canadian economy and create job opportunities.
Eligible candidates can initially come to Canada on a work permit and receive Canadian permanent residence once they establish their business.
5. Other Federal Economic Programs
Hold a job offer in a high-demand field or a rural or Atlantic region of Canada. You may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through other federal economic programs. The Canadian government offers a range of economic pilot programs to address labor or demographic gaps in specific regions or sectors across the country.
FAQs on Africans Seeking to Move to Canada Through Marriage
- How much does it cost to immigrate to Canada from Nigeria?
The cost of immigrating to Canada from Nigeria typically amounts to about CAD 2,300 for a single applicant and approximately CAD 4,500 for a couple. However, these costs may vary depending on the specific immigration program you are applying for. It’s important to note that this total cost does not include the settlement funds most applicants must demonstrate for Canadian immigration, which can vary based on family size, starting at around CAD 13,000 for a single applicant.
- Do I need to take the IELTS exam to immigrate to Canada from Nigeria?
In most cases, individuals wishing to immigrate to Canada from Nigeria must take one of Canada’s official language proficiency exams. Almost all Canadian immigration programs mandate that applicants provide French or English language test results from a recognized testing organization. To demonstrate your English language proficiency, you can take either the IELTS or CELPIP test, both of which have testing locations in Nigeria. The Canadian government does not have a preference for one test over the other, so you can choose the one that is most convenient for you.
Supportive Resources for Nigerian Immigrants
Canada offers a warm welcome to Nigerian immigrants and provides numerous resources to facilitate their transition:
- Nigerian Canadian Association: This nonprofit organization offers comprehensive support, including housing, education, health, social services, cultural services, economic aid, and more, tailored to the needs of Nigerian Canadians and other immigrants.
- Igbo Union of Canada: Celebrating indigenous culture, this organization serves as a community hub for Igbospeaking communities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- Nigeria High Commission: Located in Ottawa, this institution offers consular and visa services to Nigerian citizens and visitors.
- Nigerian Canadian Business Network: This networking group acts as the voice of the Nigerian business community in Canada, facilitating personal and professional development.
- Foreign Path: For those aspiring to be international students, Emmanuel Ilondior’s inspiring film recounts his journey as an international student in Canada, offering valuable insights into life abroad.
As the Nigerian community in Canada continues to thrive and contribute to the nation’s growth, Canada remains an attractive destination. It promises economic opportunities, political stability, and a rich cultural tapestry, creating an environment where the Nigerian dream can flourish. Canada welcomes individuals seeking a brighter tomorrow with open arms and the resources to empower their journey.
- Does my spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner need a job offer to be sponsored under the spousal sponsorship program?
– No, your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner is not required to have a job offer in Canada to be eligible under the spousal sponsorship program.
- Does my spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner need to demonstrate English or French language proficiency?
– No, your sponsored spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner is not obligated to demonstrate proficiency in English or French during the sponsorship application. However, they may need to take a language proficiency exam when applying for Canadian citizenship.
- My spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner has a serious medical condition, can I still sponsor them?
– Generally, your spouse’s medical condition should not pose an issue with their sponsorship application as long as it does not endanger public health or safety. There are specific categories of medical inadmissibility, but excessive demand on health or social services typically does not apply to sponsored spouses or common-law partners.
- How do I submit a spousal, conjugal, or common-law sponsorship application?
– You can submit spousal sponsorship applications via mail or through the IRCC’s new permanent residence application portal.
- Can I leave Canada while my spousal sponsorship application is processing?
– The ability to leave Canada while your spousal sponsorship application is processing depends on the specific program you are applying for. If you are applying under the In Canada Sponsorship Class, it’s generally advised to stay in Canada during the process. Leaving the country may pose risks, especially if re-entry becomes uncertain due to travel restrictions.
– If your sponsored spouse has applied for an open work permit and is on maintained status in Canada, leaving may affect their status. They would need to wait for their work permit application’s approval to return.
– Permanent residents must remain in Canada during the processing of a common-law sponsorship application.
- What documents do I need to submit a spousal, conjugal, or common-law sponsorship application?
– When applying to sponsor a spouse, certain documents are typically required, including completed application forms, proof of status in Canada, identity documents, marriage certificates, police certificates, medical certificates, and more. Specific requirements may vary based on your situation and the program you are applying under.
- How do I demonstrate my relationship in a common-law or conjugal partnership?
– In common-law or conjugal partnerships, immigration officers expect to see evidence of your relationship. This can include various documents such as shared residence, economic support, recognition by friends and family, and other indicators of a serious, committed, and long-term relationship. Legal documentation or a specific date is not required; it’s the overall demonstration of your significant emotional and interpersonal ties that matters. If you lack some documents, you can provide letters of explanation or sworn declarations from family and friends to attest to your partnership.
- Can my spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner include their family members on our spousal sponsorship application?
– Yes, your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner may include any accompanying dependent children on their application for permanent residence.
- Is an interview required for spousal sponsorship?
– Immigration interviews are relatively uncommon in spousal sponsorship cases. They typically occur when there is a lack of supporting documents for the relationship, contradictions between information on forms and documents, significant age or religious differences, a short period between meeting your spouse and marriage, or limited cohabitation. However, they are not the norm.
– A qualified immigration attorney can help prepare your application to minimize any doubts about the validity of your relationship, but the decision to interview a couple is at the discretion of the visa officer.
- What are the reasons a sponsorship application is refused?
– To be eligible for spousal sponsorship, you need to prove the legitimacy of your relationship. Visa officers consider various factors based on the nature of your relationship, including traditional elements like wedding photos and more unique indicators. Providing additional evidence to support the genuineness of your relationship, especially if it’s unconventional, is advisable. Letters of explanation can help visa officers understand your situation better.
– Note that marriage ceremonies conducted over the internet are not accepted for Canadian immigration purposes.
- Can I re-apply if my spousal sponsorship application is refused?
– Yes, you can re-apply if your spousal sponsorship application is refused. However, it’s crucial to address the reasons for the refusal in your new application with additional information or documentation.
- Can I cancel my spousal or partner sponsorship application?
– You can withdraw your sponsorship application at any time before the person you’re sponsoring becomes a permanent resident of Canada.
- Is there a limit to the number of spousal sponsorship applications accepted by Canada?
– Unlike Parent and Grandparent sponsorship, there is no intake cap for spousal sponsorship. Canada continues to accept spousal sponsorship applications throughout the year.
- Do I get permanent residence if I marry a Canadian?
– No, marrying a Canadian does not automatically grant the spouse Canadian permanent residence. Once married or in a common-law relationship, you can apply for spousal sponsorship. Only after the spousal sponsorship application is approved will the married spouse become a Canadian permanent resident.
- Can my spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner come to Canada while waiting for approval?
– While awaiting approval, your spouse or partner can come to Canada, but there is no special visa for applicants in this situation. Applying for a temporary visa may be challenging if they already have a pending permanent residence application.
– In such cases, it’s advisable to apply for a temporary visa, and once you are together in Canada, transition to the inland sponsorship category. This allows the sponsored spouse to change their status to an open work permit, enabling them to work for any employer while their application is in process.
- Can I sponsor my conjugal or common-law partner if I am legally married to someone else?
– If you wish to sponsor your common-law partner while legally married to another person, you must provide evidence of a broken marriage and living separately from your spouse for at least one year. The time of physical separation from your spouse can be counted toward time cohabitating with the common-law partner you wish to sponsor. To demonstrate the end of the spousal relationship, provide additional documentation, such as a formal declaration, separation agreement, court order regarding custody, or documents showing the removal of the legally married spouse from insurance policies or wills.
- Can I sponsor my common-law partner if we do not live together?
– Yes, you can sponsor your common-law partner even if you are not currently living together. Extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies or employment-related reasons, may lead to temporary separation. To be eligible, you must have lived together for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship and provide evidence of your intention to live together in Canada upon being sponsored. You should also demonstrate that, while living apart, you have continued to maintain your common-law relationship.