Meanwhile, in Canada…

Three readers sent me their immigration questions lately, and I’m sharing them with you.

Usual disclaimer: please note that I am not an immigration specialist and that this is my two cents. You should always check with Citizenship & Immigration.

Is there a minimum income threshold to sponsor a spouse and should I use an immigration lawyer?

I have been reading your blog and it has been very useful. Last year September I got civilly married with a Mexican in Canada. We have continued to travelling between Mexico and Canada. We are having our religious wedding this June in Canada. We are both self-employed but we are planning to finally settle into within one years’ time in Canada.

We are now doing the application together with her as the applicant and me as the sponsor. However, we have some concerns.

First, as I mentioned before, I am self-employed. It is a new business which made a loss last year. I understand that I can have my parents as co-signers but overall I am still not clear about this. Should we reconsider and try the application under her business or is it more complicated?

Second, we are also a bit confused about obtaining an immigration lawyer (or representative) or to do it on our own. They said it will roughly take five months for her to receive her PR considering our situation. They also said to fully submit the application after the religious wedding. Do you think we should do it on our own?

You are Canadian, right? If so, you are probably eligible to sponsor her, check the requirements here.

Unlike when you are sponsoring a parent or a grandparent, for a spouse or partner, you do not need to meet income requirements. You cannot receive government financial help (i.e. Ontario Works) but the situation of your business is irrelevant (that said, I hope it improves… I am self-employed too and I know it’s tough!).

That said, to be a sponsor, you must agree in writing to give financial support to your relative if they need it. For a spouse or partner, this lasts for three years from the date they become a permanent resident (source: CIC).

Keep in mind that it may take more than 5 months for her to get her PR. Visa offices are very busy and it can take up to 24 months in some cases.

Except if your case is particularly complex, you do not need to hire a lawyer or a representative. Trust me, it’s money wasted and most people fill out the paperwork alone. A representative won’t speed up the process.

I want to immigrate to Canada

Good day! Feel great to know about you. I’ve read your blog and my mind gets the urge to ask you all the doubts that has been inside my head ever since the idea of immigration struck me and that’s like for a decade now.

To brief you up, I’m 26 and I’m doing my own trading business in India. I’m thinking of immigrating to Canada and to get into export-import business where I can import goods from India or vice versa. Now, can you help me with selecting the kind of application I must seek for. I don’t have IELTS yet but I could do it once I straighten these things out. Awaiting your reply.

I can’t tell you which immigration category is best for you. I encourage you to do some research on CIC’s website. You can determine your eligibility by taking the free test online on the government’s website.

Generally speaking, to qualify as a skilled worker, you must have the skills/work experience needed in Canada. The process is fairly transparent but you need to qualify.

Can I leave Canada while my application is being processed?

As I was googling some of the immigration info, your website came up and I found your 10 post series on Immigration to be SO helpful. It was clear and concise and frankly, easier to understand than phone-hopping.

I do have a question that I didn’t see in your series. I noticed that there was a mention of a travel document (if you’re waiting for permanent residence but need to leave Canada). My question is in regards to this.

Right now we are living in the US while my husband works in Canada. We plan to do our sponsorship application (our kids already have their Canadian born-abroad certificate, so I’m not sure they even need to be sponsored? That’s another question!) within the US and then move up this summer, whether we have the permanent residency or not.

If something happens to a family member after we’ve moved to Canada, am I able to obtain a document—or some sort of “death in the family” exception—that I can travel in case of emergency?

Thank you so much for your time. Also, thank you for the wonderful series you put together. I’m sure it took a lot of time before you even typed it—It’s well thought out and arranged!

Your kids likely have Canadian citizenship through their dad, so no need to apply for permanent residence for them. They will need some Canadian paperwork (SIN number, health card, etc.) but this should be easy to get in Canada as long as you have proof of their citizenship.

You need to be sponsored. Shouldn’t be an issue, obviously, considering you are married with kids (so I’m assuming the relationship is genuine!). It’s a process though, and it can take a while (months) because visa offices are busy.

As a US citizen, you can stay in Canada as a tourist for up to 6 months, with no or few questions asked. You won’t be able to work, though.

Since you don’t need a visa to travel to Canada as a tourist, you can travel back and forth as needed. You will always be able to leave Canada, that’s for sure. The issue is sometimes re-entering the country while your application is being processed. It’s unlikely (yet technically possible from a legal point of view) that they wouldn’t let you go back in (source here).

I went back and forth a lot as a French citizen and never had any issues. Just be aware that there is theory and practice. My 2 cents… you will be fine. But I can’t guarantee it.

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  1. Holly Nelson April 19, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Great answers, you and your website are such a great source of information to people!

    1. Zhu April 19, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      I wish I had the perfect answer for you, though 🙁

  2. chirag July 18, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I have applied for Pr and now my process time is get over but i did received any update from cic office.what should i do know as they are not replying to my email.

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