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Canadian or America ?


Spousal sponsorship is treated as a priority by both countries. Both permit sponsorship for a spouse residing within the country and outside the country. Both permit the immigrating spouse to apply for citizenship after three years of permanent resident status, and both allow dual citizenship. In the U.S., loss of status results from leaving the country with the intent of making some other country your permanent home.

Even if you do not intend to abandon your permanent resident status, an absence of longer than six months can potentially pose problems. Canada, on the other hand, employs more of a physical presence test, where a permanent resident must be physically present in Canada (or qualify under a listed exception) for at least 730 days in any given five year period, or may lose permanent resident status. In theory, it is possible for the individuals in a couple to qualify as permanent residents in each other’s countries and maintain their home citizenship as well. Common law marriages and same sex marriages, which have been recognized in the new Canadian immigration law, are recognized in only a handful of states in the U.S., and are not a settled area of immigration law there. They can potentially be valid for immigration purposes depending on the laws of the place of residence.

In the U.S., spouses of Permanent Resident sponsors are subject to country quotas and extra time delays while their applications are processed. On the other hand, US immigration maintains a special status for fiancé(e)s, while Canadian law has removed that designation. Finally, neither country demands proof of income as a basis for sponsorship, yet both seek to avoid negative financial impact on their country’s social safety net by rejecting those applications where this would obviously result.


The interconnectedness of our world has led to greater movement of people across national borders. In recognition of the growing global community, Canadian and US immigration laws attempt to aid in reconnecting couples and families who reside in different places. However, factors of security and public policy permeate the system.

There are different options available for couples in different situations. Legal experience in this area will greatly benefit those who desire a smooth resolution of their immigration needs.

Here are four questions for you:

Do you and your spouse have an immigration problem?
Are you confused about what to do?
Are you overwhelmed by all the paperwork?
Do you find it hard to get a straight answer from immigration officials?


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