The first thing I’d like to tackle today are the two most common “immigration myths”. I used to spend a lot of time in various immigration forums, and the same questions would always pop up.
“Somebody (such as a lawyer) can help me speed up the process”.
To go through the Canadian immigration process, you normally do not need to hire an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant (both known as immigration representatives). Although the process appears complex at first, if you spend a little bit of time trying to understand it, you can perfectly fill up all the forms by yourself.
Knowing that, many immigration representatives advertise that they can improve your chances of obtaining the permanent residence in Canada. Some even claim that your application will be processed faster if you use their services.
Can they really improve your chance of receiving the permanent residence? Well, I’d say that is a bit exaggerated. Sure, they probably know how to fill up the paperwork. But if you are eligible, you are eligible, if you are not… well, an immigration lawyer or consultant can’t change that!
One thing is for sure, hiring an immigration lawyers will not speed up you claim with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Nobody has this power… application are treated on a first come first serve basis, with some possible exception due to status (refugee for example).You will not have better chance to be accepted if you go with an immigration representative.
Bottom line: immigrating to Canada is not cheap. Between the application fees, the right of permanent residence fees, the medical exams etc. you already have a lot to pay. Hiring a representative can easily double your budget. That said, if your case is very complicated, you may benefit from professional advice. In this case, choose your representative carefully.
Citizenship & Immigration states that “the only representatives who may charge a fee to represent or advise you on immigration and refugee matters with the Government of Canada are […] lawyers members […] of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society, immigration consultants who are members […] of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, and notaries who are members […] of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. The Government of Canada will not deal with non-authorized representatives who charge a fee for their service.”
“I need to be married to a Canadian citizen to immigrate to Canada”. Variant: “It’s much easier to immigrate to Canada when you are married to a Canadian citizen.”
Sign up on any immigration forum, add in your profile that you are “in Canada” and you will soon receive dozens of private emails: “you are so pretty, I love you, let’s get married!”, or “u r sexy pls IM me I want come Canada”.
I have no doubt that you are indeed very sexy, but there is another explanation to your sudden sex-appeal. Indeed, a lot of people think that if you marry a Canadian citizen, you automatically are accepted to immigrate to Canada (some even think you automatically get Canadian citizenship!).
Let me get that straight: it is absolutely not true.
If you are married to a Canadian citizen, you have no special rights. Same thing if you are the common-law partner of a Canadian citizen by the way. Yes, you heard me: no special rights. I think in the U.S.A, you can get a “fiance visa”… well, not in Canada.
Now, if you want to live with your spouse in Canada, you will have to go through the immigration process like everybody else. You will probably apply in the sponsorship category (more on that in a couple of weeks), and it will take a few months (even sometimes a few years) to obtain the permanent residence. Besides, be aware that Citizenship & Immigration agents are trained to detect “marriage of convenience” and take marriage fraud very seriously…
Now, I’m not telling you to not marry a Canadian (they are very nice, I have one at home!) but it’s by no mean a guaranteed way to immigrate to Canada. You have been warned!
Juliette Giannesini is a French woman, living in English Canada. She went through the immigration process to settle in Canada and eventually became a Canadian citizen in 2009. She is the author of the blog Correr Es Mi Destino, featuring articles on life in Canada, immigration and travels.