obtaining pr status for your spouse in Canada

m. werneburg, 2011.04.06

I am Canadian, from a family that can trace its Canadian roots to well before Confederation. My wife is Japanese. Our young son is both. When we recently moved to Canada, I assumed that it would be a simple matter to obtain resident status for my wife.

I was wrong. Filing for permanent residence for my wife turned out to be difficult and stressful. The requirements are demanding; the forms are obtuse; the process is opaque; and the wait times are insane. Behind it all is a fundamentally flawed approach by the government that treats spousal visa applications as an attempt to bring people into the country through marriages of convenience. Guilty until proven innocent. And throughout whatever is to come, my wife's in a waiting game: unable to work; unable to secure health coverage; and unable to leave the country.

where to start?

Right from the outset, it was hard to get a clear picture on the process involved, and which of the avenues we should pursue. After my first sally into this arena, I was not even sure what the objective was: some sort of spoudal visa? Permanent residence? Citizenship? Nor did I understand the starting point in all of this.

Like everyone else starting the process from Japan, I had available to me several sources:

These tended to contradict each other. The forms to be filled in particular seemed not to jibe with the stated goals on the website(s). Eventually, though, some points emerged.

So far, so good. So, too, was the surest route for a Canadian to secure their spouse's sponsorship. I'd have to demonstrate the ability to support my sponsored family financially: I'd need a job in Canada.

our strategy

Being Canadian, I had several insights that helped.

Naturally, applying from outside the country without a job lined up in Canada was a non-starter. Canada's not an easy place to find work if you don't have recent in-country experience, and as many job-searchers here will tell you, it's nearly impossible to get a response from a would-be employer if you're applying from a remote location. As an example, I'm currently assisting someone at my office in downtown Toronto to fill a job position: the hiring manager won't even consider applicants from as "far away" as the Toronto suburbs of Brampton or Burlington!

Obviously, it made much more sense for me to first find work in Canada. Having a job in a city means moving to that city, so the order of operations was clear:

  1. get to Toronto
  2. find a job
  3. bring Mari and our son
  4. find a home
  5. start the application for Mari's P.R.

This meant hinging our success on splitting up for an extended period. And so it was that I left my family on the other side of the globe and took my chances on Toronto's job market. Thanks to my networking in advance, this went well and I landed a job well before I had to return to Canada.

The move to the country went well enough, too. Japanese citizens don't need a visa to enter Canada. We just had to be sure to mention that we had goods that were coming separately.

Finding a home took a full month of course. Doing so in deep snow and sub-zero temperatures wasn't a joy, but we found a place that suited us.

At last we could turn our attentions to the P.R. application.

completing the application

The first 'gotcha' came when the police check back in Japan took nearly two months. If we'd done that portion before leaving Japan, it would have been a ten-day process. Doing so remotely added four-six unexplained weeks to the process.

The whole application hinged on that must-have portion being complete, so we put off the health-check (one of the costs in the process, at $175) and concentrated on the forms.

The forms, as noted above, contradicted the advice I'd had from the various humans I'd spoken to. In fact, they ran strongly against the concept of a Canadian applying to bring his spouse to the country. They are, instead, geared at foreigner-born Canadian "A" proving that he doesn't have other spouses--past or present, either inside Canada or not--while bringing foreigner "B" to the country. There was, for instance, no way in the forms to indicate that as a sponsor I was Canadian from birth. There was also no clear way short of an external letter attached to the applicable form to indicate that our son is already a Canadian citizen. The focus seemed to be "how many children (by parents other than you) is your sponsored spouse bringing to the country?" Again and again, we were asked things like 'who arranged our marriage', 'does your family know about this marriage', and even 'has your spouse met your children'.

As a result, I decided not to simply try to squeeze a meaningful impression of our marriage into the many small boxes on the forms. First I wrote a succinct history of our relationship from the time we met through to the present. This covered our first meetings with each other's families, the birth of our son (what more proof do we need that we're a real couple), the reasons we left Japan (the 2008 financial meltdown was a major factor, as job opportunities in Japan had dried up), vacations we'd taken together, and even our current life together in Canada. I peppered this telling of our history with photos, and attached separate prints of those same photos.

I then supplied a barrage of letters in support of the validity of our marriage, from such sources as:

I can't claim responsibility for the concept of this history and the letters. These ideas I got from a forum that's an excellent resource for people immigrating to Canada: CanadaVisa.com's forum.

As a Canadian citizen, I can understand why the forms are structured to weed out false marriages of convenience. But what I don't appreciate is that the process(es) are as opaque and error-prone as they are. I simply don't know what to expect, having filed the application this morning. I've read so many bewildering stories of legitimate couples who wound up struggling and even withdrawing their attempts at moving to Canada that I don't have a lot of confidence that things will go smoothly.


The hazards for a legitimate spousal sponsorship are two-fold. First, the seemingly-sensible "inland" process is a molasses-slow disaster. An applicant can expect two months to go by before their application is even opened! The first portion of this application process, the approval of the sponsor (a Canadian citizen) takes, in total, ten months. That's up from about six months only a few years ago. The second process, the approval of the sponsored spouse, takes an amount of time that can't be guessed in advance but seems guaranteed to take between eight months and twenty months. And that's on top of the first ten month period. During this entire process, there's no guarantee that the sponsored spouse can ever obtain the right to work, have health care, or even obtain a driver's license. They can't even leave the country while they're waiting. Having one spouse living on hold while months turn into years of waiting seems unacceptable on several counts. The family involved has to live on hold. Meanwhile Canada can't make the most of the sponsored spouse's residence in the country: they can't work; they can't pay tax; they can't take subsidized (and therefore affordable) courses. And if the interminable process fails, it can't be repeated: there's no appeal and no repeat application.

The second hazard is that the "outland" process can require us to make trips back to Japan at arbitrary times for an interview. This is an expense that we'll just have to face when and if it comes up, but the visa offices have been known to repeatedly set and then cancel appointments. And then there's the Catch-22/Kafkaeaque component: if we leave the country during an application it's entirely possible that our departure will sabotage the application. It seems that immigrations officers take it upon themselves to occasionally reject applicants coming and going from the country even when they have visa-free status (e.g. from another wealthy country such as Japan or the UK). But we've decided to chance it, and have settled on the "outland" process as the only sensible one. Better to run into a potential problem with an IO than sign up for a two year crap-shoot!

final word

The process cost us $1400, mostly in fees for the application's processing.

As mentioned, the forms are tricky. As "fillable" PDF's they fail because the actual fields in the PDF's are in places read-only and not "visible". But more importantly, they and the guides are grossly under-explained and the scant explanations often don't jibe with what's going on in the forms. In the coming days, I'll add to this page an explanation of some of the error-prone bits of the immigration forms to help anyone else going through the process.

Related articles

tips on getting a Canadian spousal PR


This is a collection of important notes that I picked up while going through the process of obtaining my wife's permanent residency in Canada.

leave a comment

By submitting this form you agree to the privacy terms.

reader comments

Hi, How long does it take for the sponsor to be approved? It's been one month since I applied and only now i got an email that they received an application and it is in process.


For us, it happened fairly quickly, maybe six weeks or so. When we went through this in 2011 they did not send that first acknowledgement, believe it or not. Did your notification come from the visa office overseas or here in Canada?


my friend and his girlfriend are planning to get married in Canada. my friend has a visitor visa to Canada. he is on working visa in US. Indian Citizen. what would be the best option since out-land/ inland takes same amount of time? will he get the temporary pr in three months? or will there be no status? will he be able to get work permit in 3-6 months? as what they say online?


Hi, Sam, I really don't know what to tell you, as I have never had any experience with working visas. But I strongly advise your friend to use the "outland" process. a) There's no way the inland process is as quick, it's usually a multiple of the processing time of the outland process and b) if something goes wrong, you can't re-apply if you use "inland". It's just common sense to use outland.

Whatever route your friend takes, it's important to start gathering the application and evidence sooner rather than later. The whole thing takes a terrific amount of time, and errors only compound the problem.






Hey its Avion again, thank you for the info. Is there any way i could get a quicker response from the Kingston CA office.


Perhaps if your spouse in Canada were to write to their MP?


Hello I would really love your help, My wife is Canadian, we got married January 2014 and she petitioned for me. It was received may 9th 2014 and she was approved, the papers was then sent to Jamaica for more processing, its now December 2014 and I have not herd anything from the Canadian emigration office in Jamaica. Can you tell me how long the wait it.


Hello, Avion;

Assume your wife filed under the outland process, you can review the wait times on the CIC website here:


The number in the row labeled "Spouse, common‑law partner or dependent child" is for your spouse to be approved as a sponsor. Check the "View by visa office" link in the last column to see the processing time for the next stage. At present, it looks like the process takes 27 months once the application is in Jamaica.

Good luck!


My spousal visa got rejected since they felt i had applied for the sake of visa.. what can be done.... i am waiting to have my traditional wedding done


Well, Sen, you didn't leave your email address but:

a) If you applied through the "inland" process, your attempt is at its end. There's no re-applying once you've failed on the inland process.

b) If, however, you applied through the "outland" process, you may once again submit an application. It's important to provide proof that your relationship is real. This is where the photos and other records of your life with your spouse are critical.


hi i am sajjad from Pakistan , i got married with my wife according to Islamic religion Last years on 27th July here in Thailand , as i live and work here and i have Thai Work permit , but that marriage was not recognize by the Thai Law , in order to our marriage to be recognize we have to register our marriage in to District office here in Bangkok , so we have already register our marriage on 8th August 2014 , since me and my wife spend time together last year and we have cute daughter born in canada on 8th May 2014 , i have complete all the documents for suposal sponsorship , and now my wife has already flown back to Canada , and submit my application for Suposal Sponsorship , my wife was previously divorce and have one daughter , the problem , my wife was taking the Help from the Govt but now before we register our marriage here in thailand she has already stop the finicial help from the Govt , and now i am supporting her as she cannot work b cos my daughter is very young . please tell me can my wife will be approve as my sponsor as she is not working , and i am supporting her , but she is not taking financial help from the Govt , thanks and appreciate your quick feed back Sajjad jameel sajjadgolfer014@gmail.com


Hello, Sajjad, thank you for writing.

I am not an expert in the area you're addressing, but I believe that you can make this work if you can show that you have the financial resources to support yourself and your wife (I'm assuming she's a Canadian citizen or has PR standing). For instance, will you be able to continue your current method of income if you move to Canada? Do you have substantial savings that could support you for 2-3 years in case you can't find income in Canada?

I think if you look at some of the Internet forums (I list some on my website) you'll find other people (even some from Pakistan) that can help you with questions like this.

P.S. It's spelled "spousal", not "suposal". ;)


Ohh god, reading all of this freaks me out a bit. My boyfriend is Colombian but with a Canadian citizenship and I'm Colombian, we were both long time friends for the past ten years when we were both living in Miami, Fl. I came back to live to Colombia and after years of friendship we started dating this year, we want to get married and he wants me to move to Canada, in fact I'm planning on requesting a tourist visa in a couple of days just to make sure I like it and if I could stand the cold weather (I'm planning on going on November). He has a steady, full time job in Calgary and I have a BA degree in graphic design from Colombia. Which of the applications should we apply to inland or outland (15 month waiting)? Or should I apply for a working permit? Thank you so much!


Hello, Julie. Welcome to the Great Confusion. I have no idea how work permits operate, you'll have to look elsewhere for that. I strongly recommend that you go with an outland procedure; I've been told that the inland route was designed for people already living in Canada without status. The way the program is designed, I believe it: for instance, you only get one shot - you cannot re-apply if you fail. We did the outland process even though my wife was already living in Canada.

Best of luck!


I am Canadian can and I sponsor my wife and she got the PR Card and we go to our to her country for almost 4 and half year and her PR card expired and I am back to Canada to stay forever what can I do to bring here back to Canada. she only stay 2 month since she got her PR Card and our child are Canadian so should I sponsor here again or what should I do to bring her back to Canada? Thanks for answer me by email


I have no idea, my friend. You should contact Immigration directly, and if you can't get any help perhaps contact your member of parliament.


Hi , I really hope you have an answer for me . I am Greek and my husband is Canadian (by birth). We are married 15 years and we have kids. If my husband go to Canada ...live with his mother who lives in Canada and after 4-6 months make the papers to sponsor me ....is the application going to be "outland" or " inland" . Many people telling us that as I am going to be in Greece with my kids and he is going to be in Canada when he has complete all the applications and photos and proves he can send the envelope from Canada to Mississauga. With this way ....its an " outland" "Inland " is when both we are in Canada. What do you know about that ?


Yes, definitely "outland" for your case. While neither route is "fast", the outland process is definitely much quicker. Also, it's safer: if something goes wrong, you can re-apply. You can't do that with the inland route. Also, you can usually visit Canada while your outland application is on progress (bring your kids and a copy of your application with you).


Hi Michael, Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us, all of you comments are very helpful. My Fiance is a Canadian citizen and I am a Chinese citizen. I have a Canadian visa with multiple entries valid until 2017 and I visited him in Canada this year for a few months and met his family and friends. We went to church together there and took a pre-marriage counseling course together. He has met my family and friends too in China. We are planning to get married in Canada this coming summer in 2014 and I plan to fly to Canada in Jan 2014 to plan the wedding. We will apply for PR right away after the wedding or honeymoon. So my questions are: 1. If we cannot book everything for the wedding within the 6 months of my next visit, should I apply for extension of my stay (as we read on CIC's website that you can apply for an extension 30 days prior to your status' expiry)? We figured, if the extension allows me to stay for another 6 months, then surely we will be able to get the wedding done. 2. After our wedding, when I am still in Canada, should we apply "inland" or "outland"? We read on CIC that for our situation, inland would take 22 months while outland would take about 10 months. If to apply "outland" when we are both in Canada, how do we do that? Do we need to mail everything to CIC in Ontario or the Canadian Visa Office in China? Or do I HAVE TO fly back to China to apply? (tickets are expensive and flight is so long and exhausting…) It frightens me that there's no appeal if you got rejected applying "inland" (which makes no sense!!! Are they going to separate a couple forever???!), even though I can't think of any reason why they would possibly reject us, I still wouldn't want to take the risk. 3. "Inland" or "Outland", can I obtain my police check and medical exam in Canada? (do you know the cost for the medical exam done in Canada?) Do I need to get the police check notarized in Canada and how? 4. If I have to fly back to China to apply "outland", can I go back to Canada to visit him on my tourist visa? I am concerned that they might reject my entry because of our application is in process. In that case, I'd probably cry at the airport and fall apart :( 5. My job allows me to work from home and my clients are not located in Canada. So if we apply in Canada, can I keep my job and work from home or will I not be allowed to work at all? 6. If we are to apply from within Canada after the wedding, what documents do I need to obtain now before going to Canada? I read that the police check is only valid for 3-6 months, so it might have expired by the time we apply for PR. Your wisdom would be so much appreciated as this is really heavy on us. Thank you, Michael! Dand


I'll try to answer your questions but bear in mind that I'm not an expert, merely someone who's been through it recently.

> We are planning to get married in Canada this coming summer in 2014


> We went to church together there and took a pre-marriage counseling course together.

> He has met my family and friends too in China.

That's great. Include photos of all of it in your application.

> If we cannot book everything for the wedding within the 6 months of my next visit, should

> I apply for extension of my stay

I don't know. Have a look at the forums I recommend on my web page, where you can find other people in similar circumstances (and from your country). Also, check the website of the Canadian embassy to China. Those sources will be much more accurate than I could be.

> After our wedding, when I am still in Canada, should we apply "inland" or "outland"?

Outland! I've been told that the inland process was designed as an avenue for amnesty for people who are already living in Canada. Do not use it.

> Do we need to mail everything to CIC in Ontario or the Canadian Visa Office in China?

When I went through it, all of the spousal applications for outland applications went through Mississauga. All of the inland applications went to Vegreville (IIRC) in Alberta. I don't think you'd ever mail your application package to a location outside Canada. The application is first processed in Canada, including reviewing your husband for suitability as a sponsor, then forwarded to the embassy/consulate in your country.

> can I obtain my police check and medical exam in Canada?

The police check is done by the police in your country, not the Canadian police. With my wife's case, we waited until we were here in Canada to order the background/police check, and it took two months. If we'd done it in Japan, it would have taken two weeks. BTW, when you receive the police report, I believe it cannot be opened.

You can do the medical exam in China or Canada or anywhere else, but the exam must be done by someone on the CIC's list. Here in Toronto believe it or not there were only limited options. I don't know what it might be like where you live in China. It's not a lot of money here in Canada (and my wife did not have medical insurance).

> If I have to fly back to China to apply "outland", can I go back to Canada to visit him

> on my tourist visa? I am concerned that they might reject my entry because of our

> application is in process.

Things like that do happen. Here in Canada, a lot of power is given to individual agents - if one decides to refuse you entry, you'll be sent back. That can even happen if you leave Canada because you were called to your country for an interview at the embassy, which is real madness. That said, my wife was here for six months, went back to Japan for a month with our son, and returned without incident. BUT: a) she had our son, a Canadian citizen and child of a Canadian citizen and b) she also had a full copy of her visa application with her to show the officials (if asked).

> My job allows me to work from home and my clients are not located in Canada. So if we

> apply in Canada, can I keep my job and work from home or will I not be allowed to work at all?

I believe that you would not be able to file an income tax report until you have an SIN, so by all means continue to work. Your arrangement sounds ideal, but bear in mind that I'm neither a tax accountant, nor a lawyer.

> If we are to apply from within Canada after the wedding, what documents do I need to

> obtain now before going to Canada? I read that the police check is only valid for 3-6 months,

> so it might have expired by the time we apply for PR.

My information is a bit out of date, but have a look at the forms and the website of the embassy in your country - the website of the embassy in Tokyo was a life-saver for us. By no means let your medical exam or background check expire, get the application in as quickly as you can once you have them.

> Your wisdom would be so much appreciated as this is really heavy on us. Thank you, Michael!

It's not wisdom, it's just experience. But you're very welcome Dand, and congratulations and best wishes to you and your fiance.


Thank you Michael for shareing your experience. Once completed and submitted the application you feel like you become an expert, that's at least the way I felt a couple of months ago when we finished the sponsorship application within Canada for my PR. At that moment, the worst is yet to come; as you tell, the applicant has no right to work, no health care... It´s simply very hard. In my case, I am from Spain and don´t have kids but I would like to take this "empty" time to have a child. I wonder if there is any kind of medical assistance for immigrants or if somebody could give me advice on private insurance. Thank you, Maria


Well, a child will certainly fill your time! 8^)

You can buy the sort of travelers insurance meant for people vacationing in Canada through companies like Blue Cross:


It does *not* cover pregnancy-related costs, so you will pay for all of your clinic visits and other things out of pocket. It will, however, cover the costs of any emergency hospitalization (and unlike provincial coverage, covers the cost of ambulance trips). I don't know why Canada's health insurance system works like this, but your choices are very limited.

Your child, born to a Canadian parent in a Canadian hospital, will have coverage from birth.

Congratulations, and all the best on your new life in Canada.


Hi Michael, My situation is a bit different due to the following factors. I have been married for three years, known my husband for nearly six and have spent most of my relationship with my husband travelling back and forth from the UK on my passport and staying for the six month term they allow on my own savings. We have not attempted to apply for a spousal visa either in Canada or the UK because until January of last year my husband was on a medical benefit for depression/anxiety/stress (before this he was a civil servant for the British military). This meant he was unable to sponsor me to come to the UK on a spousal visa (as they dont allow someone on benefit to sponsor their spouse) and I was afraid that because of his age (53) and his medical history that he would be refused entry to Canada on medical grounds. We decided that in order for us to be together I would apply to move to the UK and he would need to come off his medical benefit and find work. It has been a process from him switching from a medical benefit in the UK, to searching for work. He had to "prove" he was well enough to work, he had all kinds of forms to fill in, medical evaluations he to go to and tell his doctor that he was well enough to job seek. He then had to sign on for a Job Seeker's Allowance and try to obtain a job which in the current economic market (and because of the space of time he was out of work) has been near to impossible. He was finally switched from a medical benefit to Job Seekers Allowance in the UK in January of last year. He has been job searching to no avail since. The UK also put in place in July 2012 a stipulation that to sponsor a spouse you must either make over 18, 600GBP or have that in savings. Any place we have gone for advice pretty much states that unless I am seeking asylum or if my husband is a refugee, they will not help us. Its been a nightmare to put it simply. Right now that amount is in appeals but will not go to the high court until March. I fear putting in my application because my passport will be stuck in a limbo with me unable to travel and we will lose our entire processing fee if I need to ask for it back and I could still be stuck waiting for months to see my husband. Him being on JSA means he cannot take a holiday outside of the UK or even that will be taken away from him. This entire time we have tried to do things the legal way, but now considering that he is still job searching and no longer on benefit, I am considering trying to bring him to Canada. Being apart is becoming unbearable. What is the medical exam like? Should I apply for him while he is still in the UK? or should I buy a ticket for him to "visit" and try to apply while he is inland? How long is the general wait time if I apply for him while he is still in the UK? The stress of this all has been unbelievable and the work we have had to do to try to be together should be proof enough our relationship is real and viable. I have felt so disappointed in both the UK and Canadian processes and when reading the forms have been left confused and unsure of what to do. Any recommendations you have would be appreciated. Thank you!


It's not clear to me whether you now want to sponsor him to come to Canada, or whether you're still trying to find a way for him to sponsor you, but I'll relay something from our experience:

1. The medical exam is straight-forward, there's a chest x-ray and a thorough exam - bloodwork, everything. You have to go to an approved site to do this.

2. Applying with him already living in Canada is not technically illegal. You can file through the outland process with him in Canada as a visitor as long as he doesn't overstay the terms as a visitor. For my Japanese wife, this meant she could not stay longer than six months. The danger comes in the form of being barred re-entry should a Border Services agent decide to refuse your husband re-entry on his nth time while your application is in progress. The good news is that since he's British, he'll be among the very fastest applicants to receive approval. You can look up the wait times on the CIC website (the CIC website for the British embassy may be helpful in this regard, if it exists). Your husband will not be able to work in Canada, nor have provincial medical insurance. You will have to buy travel insurance for him while he's here, and its coverage is limited.

I strongly suggest that you go to the official sources and the forums I reference on my website and learn everything you can. You'll find plenty of Canadians with a British spouse on the forums. Appropriately armed, you'll be able to make a strategy accordingly.

Yes, the spousal sponsorship program (and in particular those forms!) are a mess all right. Canada has a very strange relationship with its expat community (demanding that expats sever all economic, material, and professional ties to be deemed non-resident for tax purposes, for instance) and a very inconsistent approach to immigration. Immigrants and expats don't/can't vote, I suppose.

I hope this has helped in some way.


Hi Michael, I dropped my partner at Glasgow airport this morning for a flight to Calgary. He is a Canadian Citizen and I am British. We have lived together in Glasgow, Scotland for the last 10 years and we have been together for 13 years. Fortunately for us he is now also a British citizen. He has been offered a wonderful job opportunity in Calgary and decided to take it up. He has applied to sponsor me as common law partner and we have waded our way through the forms, collected photos and testimonies from friends and family and provided copies of our joint mortgage and bank accounts here in the UK. I've done my police check and medical and I guess now we just keep our fingers crossed and wait. Being apart will be very hard however we didn't feel that me moving to Canada and being unable to work was a good idea and I certainly would rather be in the UK working and surrounded by friends and family while the whole process is ongoing. I am planning to travel to Canada to visit him for holidays so I am hoping there will be no issue with this. Do you know if you have to declare that you have a PR application in progress? Anyway it is interesting to hear everyone's stories and hopefully we will not experience too many problems but I guess you just never know. I will try to stay positive and keep busy during the wait. Thank you for sharing your experiences of this. Best wishes, Fiona


> I am planning to travel to Canada to visit him for holidays so I am hoping there will

> be no issue with this. Do you know if you have to declare that you have a PR

> application in progress?

I really don't know, to be honest, but since you're from a visa exempt country I don't expect that there will be a problem. My wife didn't have any problems, and she was living with me in Canada for the duration of our application (and not working). If I were you, I'd plan to declare the application's in progress for sure, and I'd bring a copy of the application and a all of your evidence etc just in case. Also, you didn't mention any kids but if you're travelling with your Canadian-citizen child(ren) that should help (just be sure to have a signed letter from your husband permitting you to travel with the kid(s)).

Thank you for sharing as well, and all the best to you and your husband. I hope you enjoy Calgary, I lived there myself for nine years.


Hi Michael, I just sent off my wife's sponsorship. we have been married over a year and living together 3 years in Kingston,Jamaica. Also we have two beautiful daughters together. I felt alone on this as to why the heck do they need 20 months i sent everything except blood and stool. We have never been apart for more than 3 days in 3 and half years of being together. I am now prepping for the sponsorship application being accepted. I am currently n Alberta and got work within 72 hrs of landing. just curious people who work for CIC and other agencies of government for Canada have told me for past few months now Canada doesn't like separating families and that our sponsorship will be priority and we could get approved within 8-12 months time not 20 months time. i don't know how valid this is coming from these sources could be a case of poor Chinese telephone. just want to know is there anything i can do to help speed up the process or send in to help them validate that our marriage is genuine. I was told once they deem our relationship genuine it should get approval. I m ranting here a bit but everything has been easy for me since i been back except not being with the family. skype helps and unlimited international calling helps but i missed the birth of our second daughter and she will be 4 months next tuesday. any advice will be appreciated. currently our application status on the CIC website is 'Application Received". How long does it take to transition to the next stage and what would the next application statuses be? My first daughter has her Canadian Citizenship and Canadian Passport already. once my second daughter can sit up for a photo i will send for her citizenship and passport which in itself takes almost a year altogether. I understand why they make the process so difficult mainly because so many are getting married just to come here. I feel like the good are suffering for the bad. I'm assuming why each country is given a months time table is dependent on how many applications received from that country. thanks for your time. -Brandon



First, there's nothing you can do to speed up the process once it's begun. As I've advised other readers, be ready to provide any changes in your situation as soon as they occur (e.g. change in residence, a pregnancy, etc.).

Secondly, I seriously doubt that you'll find that the processing time will be shorter than the posted times on the CIC website. With the strike by CIC staff ongoing, the waits can't go down!

If I were you, I'd take a look at some of the online forums where people discuss these matters. You'll pick up a lot of useful insights, and you'll get a better sense of what the real wait times are like right now for Jamaica. If nothing else some tips on how to stay sane during the time apart etc. I have a link or two on the article you found on my website.

Good luck to you and your family. I know it's tough, but this is the system we have. And congratulations on your marriage and on the birth of your child!


Yeah, well, Immigration at Mississauga lost my application. Mail tracking shows a guy signed for it in May 2013. I will need to do everything over again. My wife doesn't want to come now. So trust me, it could be worse. Much worse.

Ignatius Tremere

That's terrible. Sadly, it's not the first such case I've heard.

Where's your wife from?


Hi Michael, I'm about to get married in Japan, and my plan is to then go to Canada to live with my wife. I don't have a job yet to support her though. So I guess my best way to do the PR for her is similar to yours? 1. Go to Canada 2. Get a job 3. She joins me in Canada 4. Application for PR About number 4, can we file the application in Canada but still going through the outside country path, if it does make any sense? Or she has to apply in Japan before she joins me? Also, should she do her medical and background test in Japan? Last question! Can she join me right away after I found a job, any advices? Thank you! Regards David


Your plan sounds good to me. She can do her medical test here or there, but be sure to use one of the approved clinics/hospitals on the CIC's published list. Her background check will go MUCH faster if she does it in Japan (where it's ten days, as opposed to six-ten weeks done here in Canada!).

Yes, she can come join you at any time as long as she keeps to the terms of her visitor status. That is, staying in Canada for no longer than six months on any one visit—that was the duration three years ago anyway. There is a danger that she will be denied entry to Canada should she leave while your visa application is in the works, but I can't quantify that or even explain it. It seems that it's up to the whim of the border services guard you're dealing with. My wife accidentally overstayed her six month period by two weeks, left Japan for a family emergency, and re-entered without problem. But she had with her a) a copy of her entire PR application including all of the evidence (photos, everything), b) our son, who has dual citizenship, and c) a letter from me saying that she had my permission to be traveling with our son.

One other comment: you may find, unless you have a solid network in Canada and your overseas visit was brief, that finding a job after returning from overseas can be a bit of a challenge. For some reason, the "recent Canadian experience" thing may be applied to you in spades. I can't explain it. I was thirty years old, an experienced IT hand, and had never seen a job search take more than two weeks when I first came back to Canada (after fifteen months in Australia). It took me three years (in the midst of the post 9/11 mess, mind you) of dealing with "What, you went overseas?" If I were you, I'd start working on rekindling your network here and perhaps be ready to make more than one trip to Canada for the purposes of finding work.

All the best, and congratulations on your engagement.


Hi Michael, I've gathered information on your forum but I still have some questions. I have been living in Japan for almost 5 years and I'm a Canadian near the Toronto area. I have a girlfriend who will soon move in with me. We have pictures together, I met her family, she's coming to my brothers wedding next year (March 2014) so she'll get pictures taken with my family. I plan to go back to Canada with her in 1 to 2 years later. What is the best route we should take? The outland route? Should we get married in Japan then after start the outland route in order of her to stay with me in Canada? Any information would be greatly appreciated, Thank you!


We seem to have a fair bit in common, I was in Japan for five years as well. Yes, you want to do the outland route; I've been told that the inland route was originally designed as something like a perpetual amnesty plan for sponsoring spouses who've been living in Canada without status; it's a one-shot deal, it's slower, etc.

Getting married certainly wouldn't hurt your claim. Other than that, some wrinkles we uncovered (in no particular order):

1. Should she become pregnant, she won't have health coverage in Ontario that will cover pregnancy or child birth expenses until she has standing in. The private coverage you can buy in Canada simply doesn't cover those things.

2. She won't have an SIN until after she obtains her PR visa, so she won't be legally able to work, and I believe that staying here as a visitor she'd also by unable to enroll in school.

3. Flying back and forth during the process can be tricky; if you file the application then come here I'm not sure you can predict the outcome with the border services people; they sometimes seem to bar re-entry. Same thing if you move here, file, then she leaves and re-enters.

4. Living apart seems like a pointlessly difficult burden, but the inability to work/study or otherwise be productive has its strains as well.

Oh; the Tokyo visa office is now shuttered, so you'll be going through Manila. And all of the visa offices are currently undergoing a strike by the staff, so you'll have to watch for news on that front as well.


Hi Michael Thanks for all your helpful advice. I am in a same sex relationship and my girlfriend is an american citizen I am a Canadian citizen. We will be getting married next year and I will then begin the process to bring her to Canada. The obvious choice for us would be to take the outland application as it seems to be much quicker process. I know an American can be in Canada for up to 6 months. What I would like advice on is if we are to be married is it best for her to stay here until she is contacted to attend an interview in America. Or; is it best that she returns to America until contacted. I guess our concern is that once she leaves to attend the interview there will be a long wait before she may return. How likely is the border to turn someone away when they are going to visit their wife. What would be an average wait time between the interview and obtaining a pr if approved. Also will she be eligible to apply for a job and care card at that time. Thank you and best regards Christina


To put the quickest answers first: I don't know how long the wait between two stages of the process might be; but it's not a sure thing that either of you will be called for an interview. My wife wasn't.

As a visitor she will have no rights to work here and will have no access to public health coverage. In fact, she'll have to buy travel insurance. Curiously, while you can do this from Canadian carriers, it's nowhere near as comprehensive as the provincial plan (e.g. my wife had no coverage at all for her pregnancy until the health coverage through the province kicked in near the end). The way it works for adults is there is a waiting period after you've landed in the province: in Ontario this is three months; I understand it's different in other provinces. Once she's got her PR visa in her passport, you'll do the flag-poling thing at the US border and then she can go directly to the various offices to apply for a SIN, provincial health coverage, etc. The SIN takes a few weeks.

Given that she can stay here for six months at a time, it might work out for you to live here together and have her return to the US every six months so that she's not overstaying her visit. I've read a variety of anecdotes about problems with re-entry, but there seem to be many more who have no problem. I get the sense that people who give the appearance of treating the whole thing with due respect seem to have fewer problems. As I advised another visitor to the site recently, ensure that she takes a copy of the application paperwork with her when she leaves, so that she can show all of the forms and gathered proofs etc. My wife did this on an emergency trip to Japan and was fine.


Hello. I was wondering if someone might be able to help me on this one. I'm Colombian and married a canadian citizen, we have a beatiful baby girl and we applied from inside canada, about 6 months ago. My status in the country is legal because I came under a visitors visa and becuse I sent my work permit application with my permanent residency application, I can stay in the country legally. My question is: I have a multiple entry visa and I wish to go back to my country 1 month so my family can meet our baby. do you know if under my circunstances is that possible??? thank you.



No, I don't know what your status is but the re-entry visa should be valid no matter your application process. My wife was living with me and our son in Canada as a visitor and had her PR application in progress when she went back to her country (Japan). She managed to get back into the country without issue. That said, since Colombia is not an exempt country, you may find that some border services personnel will react differently. Some of our border services people are great, some not so much. My advice: carry your daughter's Canadian passport (do not attempt to leave Canada without your daughter having a passport), whatever proof you have that you're the child's mother, and a copy of your PR application including copies of all of the proofs that you collected, etc. It's a bit of a pain to drag such a folder around, but I've been told that it can save you a lot of grief.

P.S. Congrats on the little one, we have a baby girl as well.


I am so glad I came across your article and can get a better understanding of how frustrating this process can be. I have done much research over the last 2 years of dating my fiance. At one point he actually broke it off thinking he couldn't tolerate us living apart, but in the end we were meant to be. We are to be married in October in Canada, and plan on completing all paperwork immediately following. I am applying outland due to the supposed quickness of the application as well as I am going to live in the US to financially support myself/have health coverage and save for him and I to buy a house when I move to Canada. I have heard it is up to the border agent to let me into Canada once the process has been started but more acceptable to come and go into Canada with proof of established residence & work in US compared to applying inland where you are unable to return to Canada once you leave & application is in process. After 2 years of being apart and understanding it will take months, I plan to have all paperwork, letters from family/friends, photos in order to prevent delay in anyway that I can. I pray I am only looking at 8-10 months after marriage of being away from my soon to be hubby and step-daughter, I miss them a ton! Are there any other suggestions or words of wisdom from anyone that has had success with this process?? I never thought I'd be in love and follow someone to another country but I hope Canada's goverment doesn't keep a true genuine marriage/love apart! Good luck to everyone on here! ~Erica


To speed things along, it would be best to get your background check in your country (and in the US, once you've moved there) initiated as close as possible to the wedding date. They can take a couple of months. Also, schedule your medical tests for around the wedding date. If you're having anyone write letters confirming your relationship, make sure you get those in quickly. Get through all of the application forms and make sure you've got the correct information - don't leave any doubts unanswered. The best bet in that case is a forum (such as the ones I reference on my web page).

In the mean time, collect "proof" (e.g. photos) of the two of you spending time together: in public; with friends; with family.

Good luck with your application!


Dear Michael, Thank you for answering in advance all my questions. The information found in this forum is gold. However, I couldn't find answer to my situation yet: I wonder how should I process. I know that outland process is faster than inland. I'm canadian and my girlfriend or fiancée is cambodian and lives in Cambodia. We are planning to get married in Cambodia next year in January 5, 2014. The restaurant and the wedding planner have been reserved and deposit have been made, we have of course the receipt or the contract to confirm. My plane tickets has already been bought leaving Canada to Cambodia on Dec. 25. My families plane tickets also have been purchased. However, I find that Dec. 25 is way too long before I see my girlfriend again. Therefore, I'm planning to get her a Visitor visa for 1 month for August. Once she get here, we will get married here in Canada and do the outland process AFTER she's back to Cambodia. By processing that way, I figure it out that her application will be in CIC agent's hand for about 5 months already before we get married in Cambodia. The other alternative is I will go to Cambodia this August and get a civil marriage and then apply outland as well. Of course the wedding planned for January 5, 2014 is still on schedule. Which way is the best in your opinion? Do you think the CIC will grant her the Visitor Visa since we have proof that she will be back for our wedding in Cambodia? If we use the second alternative, would the CIC might grant her her PR even thought we didn't do yet our wedding ceremony? If they required wedding ceremony pictures, would they keep our file on hold and will ask us to send them pictures of our wedding ceremony? Today with the goverment cutting lots of public servant services and jobs, how long would it take generally in your opinion to complete the process compared to 6 months average it used to be? On the website, it say 26 months to process a spouse application at the Singapore visa office, do I really need to wait 26 months?!? I'm freak out, please reassure me, thanks a lot. Thank you SO MUCH for your answer. Sim



The lastest I heard last week was that the people who do this work at the visa offices were actually on strike. I don't know if that's over, but yes, generally the durations that are posted to the websites are about right! If I were you, I would marry in Canada, have the celebration in Cambodia, then file the application. You want your application to be as strong as possible when you file it. This means lots of evidence that the marriage is real, including photos of her with your family in Canada, photos of you with her family in Cambodia, and if possible, photos of your family and hers together. This also goes for friends. You want to have proof that the two of you are known to be together by her friends and your friends, and that you appear together in public.

I'm very sorry that our government has arranged things like this. In my case it took us a year from when we started gathering the proof and writing the application to when my wife had her PR, was landed, and had her health insurance (just in time, as she was pregnant). 26 months would normally sound insane but I believe it completely.


Hi Michael! Your information has been the BEST so far on the internet as it was very detailed and settled my mind a bit. My situation is that I am a Canadian citizen and I want to sponsor my Fiance who is currently in France (he is a French citizen). I am wondering which route would be best to take. He is thinking of applying to a working holiday visa in Canada, and then we would get married THEN apply for the visa. This way he could work up to a year and 6 months within Canada and be free to do as he likes. This would be an inland process. Another option is he comes soon and we get married, he goes back to France and we do the applications outland, while I am here and he is in France. Which option in your opinion is better? Also, he lived and worked in the UK for two years so we would have to get the criminal security clearance before he comes to Canada right? Another thing is I am a Master's student with fluctuating employment in the Government (I'm in the capital) but I hear even if I do not have a job while I am applying if I apply with a family member (like my mom) I can still be considered as a financially capable sponsor, does that work as well? I wish this whole process was easier and more clear but if you could answer my questions and point me in the right direction regarding online resources, it would MUCH appreciated. Thanks in advance, Katya


Congratulations on your decision to marry, I hope this visa stuff doesn't diminish your happiness in any way. It didn't ours!

And for that reason, I advocate that you try the working vacation visa route and tough it out while you're together. We couldn't imagine having spent a year apart, I don't think it would have worked out.

I can't comment on involving a parent in the application, I've never heard of anyone attempting a third party entering an application. But I can offer you some advice on the inland/outland thing: even if your fiancé is with you in Canada, use the "outland" process. From what I've read, it was always considered the normal route, and the "inland" route was designed for people with no standing in the country. I don't think this is what you want.

But please drop into some of the forums as I recommend on my website. There are some extremely knowledgeable and helpful people there. You've done well to start researching this stuff, keep it up.


i know this is older now, but my wife and I have been trying this now for four years and it never gets easier. Your so right with the wait, we have applied four times and with little or no word from immigration. Once we went through the Canadian embassy in Bern, Switzerland and we have not received anything in the mail.... just nothing. I mean even when you call Canadian immigration the representative on the phone told me that there is NO WAY to tell if they got my application or not until the time of processing. I am Canadian and my wife is swiss we were married in Canada and even our son was born in Canada ($5000 birth). I can live and work in Switzerland no problem immigration there took two weeks SERIOUSLY!!! TWO WEEKS. We just went to the village office and handed them the correct paperwork and 9 days later we got a phone call to come to Aarau for me to get my photo taken for an auslander ausweiss (sp) a week later I got my card in the mail... just like that. The difficult thing is that my wife hates how dense the population is in Switzerland and after spending a summer with me at my parents farm she also wanted to have a more laid back (less stressful) life like that. I have farmed my whole life so when it comes to getting a job in Switzerland I'm at a loss. No papers means no Job, even when you spend 1200 on german courses and a work placement agency. So like yourself I too thought canadian immigration would be a simple venture. 4applications later 4 years 11months and still counting The most heartbreaking thing is about every spring if we never heard anything back from Canadian Immigration ( about every 12 months) we apply again. Well this time my wife asked me if we could immigrate somewhere else besides canada. She hates having to get all our pictures rounded up from our wedding and go in for her ''Yearly'' medical for the soul purpose of waiting and not knowing whether or not we will be approved, plus the fact that after 3months she can't drive in canada just stay at home. I know some couples go for years trying to get their spouse into Canada but I suppose we're the ones that just give up and go somewhere else. Sure makes a fella disappointed in his country. Well I hope everyone else has better luck than we did


I wish I could say that your story surprises me. Can I ask which method you're using to apply? Sure the "outland" method? I'm just flabbergasted that you've applied repeatedly and have never heard anything?

Can you have your parents contact their MP, perhaps? Surely *someone* can help!


Wow! I've been online for the past 8 hours reading article after article in numerous forums about moving to Canada, applying for PR, getting spousal sponsorship etc. and found this such a helpful post! Thank you! I am from the US, my boyfriend is Canadian & we've re-connected for the third time in our lives after 14 years! We are planning on getting married. We know its gonna take a lot of time to file for PR for me so my question is this; Would it make sense for us to get married the next time I'm in Canada, start the outland filing process and then I come back here to work until I get the PR status? It's already difficult not being able to see him much now, but I wonder once we're married if the CIC looks unfavorably on the fact that I wouldn't be living with him or does that matter? OR Do I go live with him for 6 months (giving up my apartment which would be my current US permanent address), we get married, then start the outland filing process and ask for an extension to my stay to be there longer after the 6 months is up? I have read hundreds of posts today and still haven't seen this same scenario...thanks so much for sharing your story & for helping others through this arduous process.


Hello, Diane, thanks for taking the time to write.

Your story isn't really that unique, I would think you'd find arguments for both courses of action among people who've tried one or the other. We did the latter of your two choices because a) we were already married and had only one apartment and b) wanted to stay together - Japan and Canada are many Skype hours apart, and travel cost between them is nuts.

I can't comment authoritatively on whether "the CIC looks unfavorably on the fact that I wouldn't be living with him" but it didn't seem to impact our application at all. Then again, we were already married and had a child (plus, I had been a volunteer with the Canadian consular services with the embassy's emergency warden program - I was more-or-less familiar to the staff at the embassy).

I would suggest that you look at the practicalities: e.g.:

1. If you marry now, would your family and his be able to attend a wedding together - this is the sort of thing that the CIC folk seem to like as proof of a valid marriage.

2. Frankly speaking, consider what six (more) months being apart will be like - remember that you'd possibly have a good deal of difficulty crossing the border with an application in the works. This "seems" (wherever you see me use this word, beware that I'm writing based on the urging of other people I've spoken/corresponded with about these topics) to be entirely in the hands of the individual border guard you talk to upon arrival - your husband would be the one doing all of the travel. Also consider that the strains of the process (and your not being able to work or study in Canada if you're living in Canada) can cause friction between you and spouse. In which of your situations are you more likely to face greater stress and strain, and more likely to overcome the stresses and strains? P.S. I don't know if six months is the real scope of it: these things can drag on in for a good deal longer. Ours was ten months all in.

3. Conversely, the opposite also holds true. We were warned repeatedly that my wife should not attempt to leave the country while our application was in progress. Due, again, to the difficulties some people "seem" to face re-entering Canada if they have a PR application in the works. I was told by several correspondents about horror stories like PR applications needing to be re-started, being forbidden, etc etc. So, if you go with moving to Canada and then go home to see your family, things could go badly for you if you attempt re-entry. We wound up doing this due to a family emergency in Japan (these, you can't plan for) and everyone on the forums told me, "Are you crazy?"

4. If you took the second route, you wouldn't be able to work in Canada, nor have health insurance for the duration plus an additional three month application phase even after you are granted PR status. If you become pregnant, there is no form of health coverage that will cover things adequately. My wife became pregnant during our ten months PR wait, and the only insurance I could buy was strictly for emergencies, not for conditions such as pregnancy.

5. How are you going to find work in Canada if you're in the US? Or can you work remotely for an American employer or work out some other solution.

Whatever you do, I strongly recommend that you use the outland application.

Those are my thoughts. Beware the "seem"s, they may all amount to needless worry. All the best with your undertaking and your new life in Canada. We started all of this just over two years ago, and it's already fading from memory. We're happily together with two children (one born in Japan, one here) and all is going well. I don't know if you've ever lived outside of the US before, but I can tell you from having lived not only in Japan but in Australia as well that living abroad is still living abroad: even a country that's very similar to your own is quite an adventure. Mari likes several things about Canada that have surprised her, it's her first foreign residency.

P.S. Maybe a third solution could be, "Come to Canada, get married, live together, go to the US after your six months are up, and stay in the US for the (hopefully brief) duration?"


Hi, thank you for your article, it covers all the important points, indeed. I also have few questions as my patience is due to explode. First of all, here is our story: my husband is Canadian citizen by birth, I am from UK and have a child from my previous marriage. we applied INLAND, our application was received in March 2012 which is more than a year ago. Very true that they open the application after 3 months only! Then, if anything is missing, they will let you know. Like in our case we partly paid by bank drafts which on the phone to CIC they said is ok, bet when they opened our application, they decided it's not ok so we had to pay that portion by credit card, as well. The main thing is, they do one action at a time which is once in 3 months, I can't believe it. It's been 13 months now and my husband still haven't got his letter that states he's approved as my sponsor! Because UK is an except country and because we applied INLAND (and I applied for Open Work Permit together with the Spousal Sponsorship Application), I do not have to extend my visitor status as I am protected by the Canadian Law. But, according to their policies after 8 months of waiting, I should of have my Open Work Permit already!!!!! We've got absolutely nothing! They only contacted us in December, telling that I have to mail them original Police Certificates from all the countries I've been residing more than 6 months, also Medical Exam for myself and my child, and Notarized Statutory Declaration from my ex husband who confirms my full custody over my child and that he doesn't mind that we live in Canada. We paid fortune to get these additional documents to get them back and forth from overseas in two weeks time. They got everything on Dec 31st 2012. Today is April 2013 and still nothing. The worst thing is that no Medical Cover, especially for my child. My husband can put us under his Blue Cross, but we have to have our MSP number. Another insane thing is that we can't leave the country. There are many things coming up now like my husband's sister's destination wedding, our friends' destination wedding, visiting my parents in UK etc. To top the story up, I called CIC last week and she said to not contact them by the end of August. If we haven't heard from them by that time, give them a call back. Ain't that against the Law? I can call them every day if I want, can't I? Ridiculous. Also we are in contact with the local MP office, seems absolutely pointlessly, as she does absolutely nothing albeit she could. Anyways, my question of today is, because my husband is filing his taxes, can he put me and my child in his tax form, even though I have no status in this country at the moment, no SIN number, no nothing. And if yes, does he anyhow benefit financially from the government putting me on his taxes as his dependant, 'cause I m not allowed to work here, but it's been 1.5years since we're married in Canada. Thank you for your answer in advance. Dana



I'm sorry to hear of your struggles, and hope that this hasn't soured you too much on Canada.

First of all, I'm not qualified to answer your tax question in any way.

Secondly, when it comes to the CIC "service" line, I wouldn't push it. That line is specifically geared to answer very basic questions, they are not meant to be looking at anyone's file and answering specific questions. I'm sorry to hear that your MP isn't more help, the office of my MP helped me considerably when my documents went astray and the visa office in Tokyo couldn't/wouldn't respond.

But to the main point - I have been told that the inland process was specifically created (long after the outland process had been established) to process spouses who are "out of status" in Canada. For people from exempt countries like the UK (and in my wife's case, Japan) it's considered to be much more efficient to use the outland process. And cases like yours are the ones that seem to prove the point. I don't know what else to tell you other than to suggest that you find a forum like the ones I reference on the page on my website and find others who are in the same situation as you and disprove the axiom that misery loves company. 8(

All the best with your application. Good luck, and be patient. Maybe it helps that spring should be arriving soon.

P.S. Even though we applied 'outland' (two long years ago this month!), my wife didn't have her PR stamp until 9-10 months had elapsed. Almost everyone in the group who had spouse coming from an exempt European country or the US went through before anyone else. Believe it or not, you would seem to be in the fastest lane for 'inland' applications, all other things being equal.


Hi, I know the differences between inland and outland applications. However everywhere I am reading suggests to apply outland as it is much quicker. My boyfriend and I just got married here in Canada while he was on a visitor's visa. So now we will start the paperwork. On CIC's website outland process for Jamaica says 18 months. For inland it says stage 1 = 6, then stage 2 = 8 months totalling 14 months. I am thinking to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker. But why does everyone say outland is SO much faster?? Are the time frames wrong on CIC website? To me it is a no brainer to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker for Jamaicans, and once approved as a sponsor my husband can apply for the work permit and health insurance. (Yes I know we cannot appeal if rejected). Am I missing something ?? Thank you for your input. Jenna


Those "inland" processing times seem very unrealistic. From what I've read in people's personal experience, I think 18-24 months is more typical regardless of country of origin.


Thank you for the response. Sorry about the email address, I only realized after I hit send that I needed to send it! :) So I guess what you are saying is that inland processing times on CIC website aren't that accurate. I have read tons of messages on forums, but do you know specifically where I could find out about other people's experiences inland vs outland for Jamaicans? Thanks so much! Jenna


Good to hear from you again. 8^)

I think that the posted times on the CIC website, if they make inland seem quicker than outland, must be pretty optimistic. I have never heard of a country where inland was even close to outland in processing speed. Post a query with your express concerns, you'll get a response, I'm quite sure.

And good luck!


Hi, I know the differences between inland and outland applications. However everywhere I am reading suggests to apply outland as it is much quicker. My boyfriend and I just got married here in Canada while he was on a visitor's visa. So now we will start the paperwork. On CIC's website outland process for Jamaica says 18 months. For inland it says stage 1 = 6, then stage 2 = 8 months totalling 14 months. I am thinking to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker. But why does everyone say outland is SO much faster?? Are the time frames wrong on CIC website? To me it is a no brainer to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker for Jamaicans, and once approved as a sponsor my husband can apply for the work permit and health insurance. (Yes I know we cannot appeal if rejected). Am I missing something ?? Thank you for your input. Jenna


The one thing you were missing is a return email address, Jenna! 8^)

But seriously, 14 months is a very, very fast turnaround compared to what people actually experience using the inland route. On the message forums you see stories where inland applications easily range to 2 or even 3 years. It's your choice but I strongly recommend the outland route.


hi everyone, i have a lot of question in mind and i found this site...Thank God :) me and my boyfriend planing to get married next year 2014 january and he will bring me there in vancouver to apply for spousal sponsorship and we don't know how it works. is it a good decision to get married outside canada? or better to do there the marriage and apply straight away for spousal sponsorship after the wedding ? and can i gather my police clearance here in singapore bef going to vancouver? coz I'm a PR here and staying here for 10 years now, and my other option is to get married here in singapore then go for outland application... where should i apply here in singapore or philippines? coz for philippines it takes only 12mons. and here in singapore it takes 24mons. im just wondering coz im holding a philippine passport but residing here in singapore. if we decide to get married bef 2014 it will be held by june 2013 then apply outland...then after that we going to be separated again coz he have work in vancouver and i have work here and he cannot bring me there to have the PR status right away and it makes us frustrated and sad....we been in this relationship since 2010 and every six months we visit each other..i did visited him in vancouver once, he did the most since he don't need to apply for visa to come over here in singapore and we go back to philippines together most of the time to visit his mother and siblings.. we really don't know what is the best decision... we cannot take it anymore to be apart, please help us to think and help us see the other side of this situation that we are in. Thanks a lot and God bless us all :)


I strongly suggest that you arm yourself with all of the official information you can, and then find a support group such as the forums I link to on my website. There are many people from the Philippines doing what you're doing, you're not alone.


hello,please i need someone who will help sponsor me to canada.i am a graduate here in my country cameroon and i am very hard working.i can do just any kind of job be it intelectual or physican. please you can contact me through chechunglucien@yahoo.fr Best regards


Hi, Lucien, I saw your comments to my website. My notes were intended for Canadians who have married abroad and are bringing a spouse to Canada. If you're looking for sponsorship under an employment, I suggest you start here:


or here:


or even at unoffical sources like this:


Best of luck!!


Hey Michael, I am also Michael and I have a Japanese wife. I'm a Canadian citizen and we are thinking of getting a spouse PR in Canada. As of now, I saw the new rule stating "Effective October 25, 2012, sponsored spouses or partners must now live together in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years from the day they receive permanent residence status in Canada." We've been married for a year already and in addition, I'll be living in Japan for three years so that will not be a problem. I would like to have a smooth transition when we move to Canada in three years. We do not have any children at the moment. I like to plan ahead so what kind of precaution or any advice would you recommend? When should I start applying?


Hello, we have a lot in common. 8^)

In addition to the comments that I posted to the web page you found, I would stress:

a) use the 'outland' process, which I suppose for you means applying through Manila (I think you still have to mail the application to the site in Mississauga).

b) make sure you have lots of photo evidence of your relationship being a public one, e.g. you're with friends and both families

c) consider whether you want to arrive in Canada, find work, then apply (still using the outland process); come back to Canada on your own, find work and of course leaving her in Japan while your application is in the works (bear in mind that even after our application was received it took six months, and that was when the Tokyo visa office was still functioning); or somehow find work while still outside of Canada and then apply from there and only move to Canada together. We chose the first option, many people do the latter and are apart for a long time.

Good luck, fellow Michael-in-Japan. I'm actually in Miyazaki prefecture at the moment and am reminded of all that I've left behind in coming back to Canada.


I find myself in the same situation as you - moving to Canada with Japanese spouse + child. I thought getting a spousal visa would be as quick and painless as it was in Japan so I was shocked to see what the process is really like. I have a couple questions 1) While waiting for the PR application, your wife stayed in Canada on a tourist visa ? Do you know if you can stay indefinitely while waiting for the application ? Or does she have to leave every 6 months? 2) While you were waiting - what did you do about health insurance for your wife ?


Dan, you didn't leave an email address; good luck with your wife's landing.

To answer your questions:

1) Yes, my wife stayed as a visitor (no visa per se). She left the country once just after the six month mark (it should have been before that period, we screwed up) but she was able to re-enter without problem. I frequently encourage people to join one+ of the forums where people discuss these things - you can find out the current rules there.

2) We bought insurance through Blue Cross (and one or two others). It covers only a limited set of things such as emergency response, and not many other things such as hospital care during pregnancy or any kind of medications (to my recollection) though it does cover ambulance transportation, which isn't covered by provincial health care.


HELLO my wife has been in canada for the past 4 years and out of that 3 years she has been here with no status. we just got married and i wanted to apply under the spousal sponsorship from inside canada also she had worked with no work permit but she has got no removal order and cic does not know. can u pls help me out as if i can send in the application for spousal though she has no status for the past 3 years?how do i go about it? his dad is in malaysia and staying illegal and her mom is in japan where she is originally from. thanking u in advance ash


Hi, Ash.

I saw your comment on my website last week. I've been considering a response since that time but the best thing I think you can do is join a forum like the one below and ask your questions there:



Hi Michael, In my case I have been working in Canada for 5years and have PR.... and I am planning to bring my wife (now fiance from India) to Canada and then Apply thru the In-land application, do you know of any cases where there have been no success of this being approved. Or it just an uncertain process because it is relatively new. Your advice is much appreciated.


Join some of the forums that I point to in my website and you'll soon see that there are indeed cases where inland applications are rejected. And once an inland application is rejected, you cannot apply again.

Given the extra time involved with an inland application, and the added risk of not being able to apply a second time, I recommend that you look at the outland application process.

Best of luck, and congratulations on your engagement!


I seem to be... At a loss. I'm under the impression that you need to have a criminal record check for all the places you've lived for 6 months or more, but I do not know how to go about getting such a thing, because my local police department turned me away, telling me they don't do stuff like that. I'm really at a loss. Have you come across something like this? This seems to be one of the hugest huddles for us to have to overcome.


Check with the Canadian embassy or consulate that's managing your application. At the time of our application, the embassy in Tokyo had posted some information, and my wife was able to find the right application form and police department. We then took the police report to the Japanese consulate here in Canada for notarized translation.

It probably varies quite a bit country to country. For instance, here in Canada there are private firms you can go to for a background check. Again, I'd start with the Canadian embassy or consulate handling your case.

Best of luck to you!


Michael, I really appreciate this article you've written. My Girlfriend she is Canadian by birth and i am Indian by birth right now i am in India and she is in Japan on her student visa. she doing her medical practice there. i need your help as suggestion as she can sponsor me visa from Japan. what is best for us where we can get married in India or Canada and how she can sponsor a visa from outside of Canada means from Japan.please suggest a good way of marriage and get a sponsorship and visa.


I don't think it matters where you get married, but my advice is to:

1. Get married somewhere that family members from both sides can attend, if at all possible.

2. Spend a lot of your time in public in the company of friends (and if possible, family) who will be in your photos, demonstrating that your relationship is public knowledge.

3. Visit with both families prior to the marriage.

4. Download the forms from the Canadian government's website and be familiar with all of the questions they'll ask. You'll want to do all of the things they ask about, like #1-3 above.

5. Pay strict attention to your visa requirements if you decide to come visit in Canada at any time. Do not overstay your visa.

You'll want to choose the "outland" application process, not the relatively new "inland" application process.

If you can wait until she has her medical degree, it might smooth the way if she can show that she has the financial wherewithal to support you for the duration of the sponsorship period plus the two-year visa "gelling" period (due to a brand new law, you must demonstrate that you're living together for two years once you have the visa). A doctor shouldn't have any problems there.

For general advice, check out online forums like the one I reference in the article.

Good luck with your quest!


Michael, I really appreciate this article you've written. My girlfriend and I met while she was visiting vancouver, currently we've been apart for going on 3-4 years now - she has come to visit a few times and we've kept up our correspondence - we have kept all our emails and most of our IM chats - while i am working and going to school, eventually i will travel to japan and meet her family and have a small civil ceremony. then we will begin the outland application process. she is preparing her criminal record check in japan and her medical records - i will attempt to get a criminal record check done for her while she is in canada. i agree, the application forms are opaque/poorly worded - there is no form that says "i'm a 7th generation canadian and this is my wife - fuck your red tape" .. anyways, in order to guarantee smooth sailing, any tips? we are going through the manilla office, i suppose? do i still need to go through a 'sponsorship application' if i marry her in japan with a japanese marriage certificate? how high should my income be? currently i live and work in vancouver, so my income is SFA. there are a few questions i am forgetting, it's 7am; this is how she and i communicate: i lose sleep, every damn night. can't wait to just get it over with. when i see all the thousands of losers flooding in to the country and defrauding our system it pisses me off even more. she speaks fluent english and we just want to make progress. any suggestions are appreciated!

Naked Official #9000

7th generation, yeah you'd think that would do it, wouldn't you. Similarly, I'm the 11th to have lived here and my ancestors settled land all over the eastern half of the country. Nowadays it's all about optics, short-term politics, and pretending the rest of the world doesn't exist. I mean; we had a son, isn't it clear what's going on? /end rant

To answer your question: use the "outland" process; get on some of the forums where people exchange tips and follow their advice; if anything gets jammed up, contact your MP - they have staff for dealing with these very things; gather references inside Canada that know you both (if possible); if at all possible, have someone from your family attend the civil ceremony or the reception (have a reception with her family in attendance.

Since she's Japanese (welcome to the club) she can stay in Canada as long as your application (even an outland application) is underway, but it might make more sense to have her leave every six months (the term for a Japanese citizen w/o standing in Canada, last I knew). But if she has to leave the country it'd be best if she had a complete copy of the application forms and proof with her while re-entering; some of the border people can apparently make a snap decision to send her back. Naturally, with no standing in the country she won't qualify for health care, for an SIN (so no work), and there are no programs for her.

Best of luck!


Now I am freaking out! We will do the outbound route as we are currently out of Canada anyway and we can survive where we are for the time it takes.... the thing getting me right now is I don't have a job to go back to and only have enough available cash to support my family for a few months upon arrival...and unless I convince an uncle or a freind to put me on the employment roster "for a while" this could really cause a problem.... like stated in the story, (which was very well written) even if I can convince an employer to hire me while I am not in Canada, how many will accept: Date available to start: "when the gov't approves my wife's PR"?


First of all, don't freak out. You'll get through this. Find other people going through what you're doing, and follow on the good advice and sense of support/community you'll get from them along the way. Having selected the outland route puts you on the right track.

Figuring out the job/visa chicken-egg scenario isn't easy. But people do it every day. It sounds like you already have some workable ideas. Also, I'd strongly recommend that you start networking like a lunatic: prepare job leads based on people who know you're coming back and who know your skill sets etc. It's what I did for several months before my return, and I had three very solid opportunities take shape in a matter of a couple of weeks. I am still working at the job I selected, nearly two years later, so it doesn't necessarily have to be a desperation thing. When it comes to finding work, things can turn in your favour in the blink of an eye.

Best of luck to you!


Hello Michael, I am glad to heart worked out. My wife and I are in a similar situation, all because her previous employer stopped giving out LMO letters a month before we decided to apply. We have submitted once already and realized there were some aspects that needed to be changed, therefore we requested that the application be returned before it was rejected. To date it has been 11 months that my wife has been unable to work, and according the the governments website it will be another 10 months before everything is finalized. I am truly frustrated with my government and the lack of care they have for their citizens.

Frustrated in CAN

From the way this lunacy plays out you might almost get the impression that our benighted government WANTS people to work under the table, wouldn't you?

By sad comparison, in Japan (where they openly restrict immigration, and where they only "accept" 25 refugees a year, on average) a spousal visa takes six weeks. Six. Weeks. No interviews, no silently ignoring applicants for months at a time, no confusion about application routes, no arbitrary decisions based on the foreign spouse's country of origin.

It's maddening. I wish you and your wife all the best.


Hi, my situation is a bit different than all the above I'm wondering if you have across it before. I am a Canadian citizen currently residing in the US because I am completing my PhD here. I still have 4 years left To complete my degree and so will be here for those years. I am married and my husband is from the middle east. I have heard and read online that since I am in a situation where I have a legitimate reason to reside outside Canada, my husband who would be accompanying me would have the right to apply for and get a PR status. Is this true? And if so, what avenue is best to take? Would we apply using the Outland process as well? Would I have to sponsor him then apply for PR? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!


I don't think the government in any way questions the "legitimacy" of your living abroad, they just verify that the marriage is real. While I am not a qualified expert on any of these things, I believe that you should check the timing of your application carefully, as it is my understanding that you have to apply under circumstances that a) you can demonstrate the financial means to support your husband (e.g. you have a job waiting for you in Canada) and b) that you intend on relocating to Canada at a specific and upcoming date. In your case I imagine that it would be better to apply much closer to the date you intend to return (e.g. within 18 months of returning). But please don't take my word for these things, have a look at some of the online immigration forums where knowledgeable people hang out and answer questions.

Best of luck, Rita!


I will be in that situation. I need to know the route to follow. I reside now in the US going to school. My fiancee lives in the UK and we are planning to move to Canada. He is a UK citizen and I am Canadian. Where I start?


Hello, Marie;

You can start with this unofficial immigration wiki:


It's been put together by people who have been through the experience. My strongest advice is:

1. Follow the so-called "outland" procedure, some guidance from the gov't is here:


And here are the forms.


(Your v.o. is London, not Buffalo.)

2. Start gathering proof of your relationship such as emails, photos of you together, photos of you with each other's family and friends, records of how you came to be engaged and where you have been seen in public together, if you own any property together, if you have any children together. Start gathering letters of reference (it's better if they're prominent people) in support of your relationship's validity (e.g. we even supplied one from our landlady). It would be best if you can show that you have a job in Canada.

3. Wait. A lot. The current government is not supportive of this entire process, and wait times have been escalating. The whole thing took us from January to October, and we were relatively lucky (e.g. note that several people who applied in April of 2011 still haven't gotten anywhere: https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AsXgiZGqzRb8dFhYVUxqYzRrU0hvemVGaDFoSEhKVFE&output=html


Going through the same crap. Canadian perm/res sucks.


It does indeed. Good luck with your long wait. (P.S. Did you apply inland or outland?)


Hey, My Girlfriend and I are in a similar situation with the visa, we are going to get married and just wondering what is the best route. It seems that the "outland" option is best, however she is worried that if she needs to fly home for a family emergency it could effect the application. Also, am I right in thinking that we could her PR in about 6-12months plus the time it takes to process the marriage certificate etc?


The "outland" option is by far the best. Depending on her country of origin, the entire thing could be wrapped up in well under four months (I've witnessed this for people coming from the UK and Austria, for instance). You can also reapply through the outland route if your application fails or if you withdraw. Note that if you leave the country during the outland route there's a good chance that you'll get back in if you simply present yourselves and have a copy of your PR application in hand. That's what my wife did this summer when she returned to see her grandmother, who's not well. We took a chance, though, because it was up to the whim of the individual immigration officer. Do not be fooled, Canada's system is not as flexible and encouraging as its critics would have you believe.

The "inland" process was a more recent addition to the government's policies, and it was created to allow people who'd been living in Canada illegally with a means of landing. It takes about two years. And during that time you absolutely cannot leave the country. Moreover, it's a one-shot thing—if you withdraw your application or it fails for some reason, you can't apply again.

I suggest you join this forum and find some useful threads or start your own:


My other advice:

1. Decide if you can really put up with months and months of waiting in limbo. If she's going to live with you in Canada she will be unable to


rand()m quote

(In which I leave the final word to someone else.)

Though defensive violence will always be a sad necessity in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.

-St. Augustine

privacy · copyright · sitemap · website traffic