Dear Miss Powell,
Ever since I met my sweetheart in Jamaica, I have been reading The Gleaner online and I enjoy your articles. My sweetheart is a really nice girl and she asked me to sponsor her to come to Canada. I am a Canadian citizen, and I really like this girl, but I'm not sure I want to marry her. It's still too early to decide that. But she is really a nice girl, and I would like to help her. What does it take to sponsor a nice girl from Jamaica?
If you are Canadian citizen or permanent resident you may sponsor an individual to come to Canada if you satisfy the requirements of being a sponsor.
Based on the information you provided, you may be able to sponsor your sweetheart if you are able to establish that you are in a genuine and committed relationship. That means that you have been in a relationship for at least one year, but due to circumstances beyond your control, you are not able to establish that you have been living together for a minimum of one year.
There must be a significant commitment to each other in order to qualify. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recognises that there are some genuine relationships that exist where Canadians and permanent residents have partners in a foreign country and have created the conjugal partner category to deal specifically with this kind of situation.
To sponsor someone means that you will be responsible for their care and support for a minimum period of time. This means that you will need to prove that you are able to financially support your sweetheart upon her arrival in Canada and must satisfy other requirements such as not being bankrupt, or in prison.
You must note that CIC will delve into the details of your relationship to ensure that you are in a genuine relationship. They will need information such as:
Some people find these questions highly intrusive, however, if you are in a genuine relationship, there is nothing to be concerned about. Furthermore, with the assistance of a qualified lawyer, this should be a minor hurdle to cross so that you can be together.
The other important factor is that your sweetheart needs to be able to pass the medical and criminal checks before she will be granted a permanent resident visa and other landing documents.
You should also note that as of October 25, 2012, CIC has amended the rules relating to persons who immigrate under this category. If persons have been in a relationship for less than two years and do not have children, then the person being sponsored would be given a conditional permanent residence status. This means that your sweetheart would be required to live with you for at least two years before receiving an unconditional permanent resident status.
Best wishes to you and your sweetheart.
Deidre S. Powell is an international lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Her main office is located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, commercial, real estate, personal injury, family and administration of estates. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration or Tel: 613.695.8777