By Atty. Henry Moyal
Q. I’m a Canadian born man who has met a Filipina online via Facebook. A friend of a friend sent me her profile. We chatted for many months before we married last year but we never met until my trip to the Philippines last summer. I want to sponsor her for immigration but I was told that we need to wait a few years to develop the relationship. We do not have any children and it is hard because my visits to see her are only for a short period of time. She is younger than me but we get along great. When is a good time to sponsor her and what should I expect to happen after the sponsorship is approved?
A. You can expect, at a minimum, an in depth interview by an immigration officer asking several questions pertaining to how you met and your relationship. There is no magic number as when you should file the sponsorship but waiting years to “develop the relationship” makes little sense to me. If the relationship is genuine and you can prove it then there should nothing to develop. If the relationship is still new and weak then you are likely going to be refused – especially if there is an age gap and you met on an internet chat site. Once refused though, you have an automatic right of appeal. Canada Immigration has become very suspicious of marriages of convenience and will not hesitate to refuse a case if they feel that the relationship was entered into in bad faith. If that happens you are facing an appeal which can take over a year to be heard in court. Therefore, make sure you use the new requirements for such spousal applications and obtain the proper legal advice before it is filed.
Q. I applied for permanent residence and added my spouse as my dependant. The Canadian Embassy is asking us to provide a record of marriage/certificate of no marriage. The problem is that my current spouse was actually married to someone else before we married. I agreed to marry him because his first wife disappeared and could not be found. I am afraid that his previous marriage will be a problem. Can we just file for an annulment now?
A. Filing for an annulment will not help your current situation. Firstly, an annulment can be costly and time consuming. Second, an annulment does not negate the fact that (a) your spouse committed bigamy and (b) your misrepresented yourself on the application by stating that your spouse is your husband when legally he is not. He is not legally married to you and is not your spouse. It would have been best to inform them that he was your common law partner in order to avoid this unfortunate scenario.
Q. I want to adopt my niece who has been left orphaned by the recent Typhoon Haiyan. I’m employed in Canada and will have no problem caring for her. How can I get her to Canada on a priority basis?
A. I am sorry to hear about your niece’s loss. If she is an orphan and under the age of 18 then you have two options. The first option is to apply for a visitor visa so she can enter Canada immediately. The second option is that you are able to sponsor her for permanent residence. If she is directly affected by the Typhoon , you must prove it and according to Canada Immigration’s recent announcement they will expedite the application process.
Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. For a free assessment visit www.moyal.com. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-888-847-2078.