Marrying while immigrating to Canada

The immigration process could take several months or even years. Consequently, it is customary for people to face changes in their lives while waiting. One of those changes is marriage. How marrying while immigrating to Canada could affect your application? Let’s explore this family structure change and how it affects immigration to Canada.

The definition of marriage

From the immigration point of view, marriage must meet the following requirements. When marrying while immigrating, consider all of these:

  • Two people from the same or opposite sex officially marry each other. Of course, signing official papers must support their marriage.
  • The jurisdiction they marry must recognize their marriage. For example, if two people get married in Israel, the government of Israel must recognize their marriage. Therefore, marriage is not a marriage if the local authorities do not recognize it.
  • The immediate purpose of marriage cannot be immigration to Canada. Consequently, IRCC does not recognize a marriage primarily for immigration to Canada or is not genuine. Fake or sham marriages could result in refusals and even inadmissibility to Canada.
  • Both parties have to be physically present at the location of the marriage. Of course, this means IRCC does not accept online marriages or marriages by proxy. This requirement is under family reunification criteria. However, it is best practice if you consider it for marriage while immigrating to Canada.

Beware of misrepresentation! It could result in the refusal of the application. Moreover, you could face a five-year ban from Canada.

Marrying when IRCC has not approved your application yet

If IRCC has not decided on your application, you must inform them when you get married. However, make sure to include supporting forms and documents:

  • Depending on your application type, you may need to fill out the following forms for your spouse. However, consult with a professional for advice.
  • Include official documents that support your marriage. For example:
    • The marriage certificate
    • The family registration certificate, if applicable
    • An updated birth registration or ID that shows the marriage, if applicable
    • Any other official document that shows marriage has taken place
  • Add documents that show the marriage is genuine. Here are some examples. However, this list is neither inclusive nor exclusive:
    • Letters from friends and relatives supporting your genuine relationship
    • Financial dependency documents such as joint bank accounts, property ownership and collective investments
    • Showing trust in each other such as mentioning the other person as your beneficiary in your will or life insurance
    • Cohabitation documents such as joint property lease agreements or similar addresses on bills or government-issued documents
    • Photos of you on different occasions
    • Documents showing your wedding reception or ceremony bookings
    • Financial transactions between both of you
    • Email exchanges, chat history, phone call history, etc.
  • You need to pay the processing fee for your spouse. The current cost for most immigration options is $570 (subject to change). Moreover, you may need to pay the biometrics fee of $85. Of course, you eventually have to pay the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (currently $515).

Marrying when IRCC has approved you, but you have not landed.

Let’s say you get married after IRCC approves your application, but you are still outside Canada. DO NOT TRAVEL TO CANADA! You heard me right. In this situation, you first need to inform IRCC of this change. As a result, they will re-evaluate your application. If you travel without informing the immigration authorities, you could face serious problems, such as:

The list is not comprehensive. Therefore, make sure to declare your spouse first. Moreover, you must include all the forms and documents I mentioned before. You may travel to Canada only after IRCC gives you the green light. Of course, they will examine your spouse for medical and other grounds of inadmissibility. Even if your spouse doesn’t accompany you to Canada, you must declare them before landing.

Marriage after landing

Whether you land physically or receive an eCOPR, you are a permanent resident of Canada. Therefore, IRCC has already closed your immigration application. If you marry after immigration, you may consider sponsoring your spouse to Canada. However, the process differs for inland and outside Canada cases. Read the following articles for more information:

What if your spouse has a child?

When marrying while immigrating to Canada, your spouse could have one or more children. Of course, I’m referring to dependent children. The children may or may not accompany your spouse to Canada. Regardless, IRCC must examine them for medical and other grounds of inadmissibility. Moreover, if they are accompanying your spouse in immigration to Canada, you must consider the following:

  • If they are over 18, fill out the IMM 5669 (Schedule A). Also, include a signed IMM 5476 if you have a representative.
  • You may need to update IMM 0008 for yourself and include the children.
  • Sometimes your spouse does not have full custody of their children. Therefore, you need the consent letter of their other guardian or court order that allows your spouse to take them to Canada. IRCC perceives travelling to Canada without the other parent’s consent as kidnapping. Moreover, kidnapping is serious criminality under the Immigration Law.
  • Include official documents that show the relationship of children to your spouse.

Let us help!

If you marry while immigrating to Canada, book a consultation session with me. Of course, you may fill out the following form for sponsorship applications. Alternatively, please fill out our assessment form to explore other options.

    What is your status in Canada


    Do you live inside or outside Canada?

    Have you paid taxes in Canada for the last 5 years (NOA required)

    What kind of sponsorship are you interested in

    Is the sponsor eligible to sponsor a family member to Canada?

    How many family members does the sponsor have including the sponsored persons?

    What is your annual income rate?

    Additional information (optional but helpful)

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

    Are you currently inside Canada?

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    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.