Do I Become a Canadian Citizen When I Marry a Canadian?

May 15, 2020 by

If you’re hoping to relocate permanently to Canada, you might be wondering if having a Canadian spouse would qualify you for citizenship. Becoming a Canadian citizen is a process, and while your spouse can sponsor you and assist in some ways, marrying a Canadian will not, on its own, help you obtain citizenship. Becoming a citizen of Canada is a process with multiple steps, including a period of permanent residency, before you’re qualified to apply for full citizenship. If you’re interested in moving to Canada long-term, there are a lot of ways to achieve that goal outside of getting married. Let’s go over a couple of the most common ways to immigrate to Canada and obtain Canadian citizenship.

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Express Entry

Canada’s Express Entry program is one of the most efficient ways to immigrate. Canada actively seeks out skilled workers who qualify under one of their federal economic programs for employment in the country. Express Entry is designed to help Canada support its long term economic needs. Express Entry proactively recruits immigrants for Canada’s various economic immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Family Sponsorship

Reuniting families is an important part of Canada’s immigration policy, which is why family sponsorship is one route towards Canadian citizenship. A family member in Canada, including a spouse, can sponsor an immigrant to come to Canada on a permanent basis. You will still need to fit a number of other requirements if you wish to go from permanent residency to citizenship if you come to Canada via family sponsorship. These requirements include residing in Canada for a minimum number of days over the last five years, filing and paying taxes for three of the last five years, and being able to speak and write in one of Canada’s official languages.

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LMIA Work Visa

The LMIA program is for workers who secure a Canadian job offer. Their prospective employer in Canada can apply for an LMIA (labor market impact assessment) through Service Canada. The applicant will then apply for a work permit, which will allow the worker to move to and permanently reside in Canada once approved. LMIA jobs can be difficult to find, but there are plenty of resources available online to help you get started.

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

The PNP is growing in popularity as a way to immigrate to Canada. Individual provinces have essentially created their own immigration programs which can fast-track your application. Most PNPs involve accepting a job offer in the province. Many PNPs require that you reside in the province that you are applying to, so take note of that before you begin the process.

While there are a variety of ways to immigrate to Canada, simply having a Canadian spouse won’t give you Canadian citizenship. There are a number of ways to move to Canada on a permanent basis, and once you’re a permanent resident, Canada has a clear process to follow in order to meet the guidelines for applying for citizenship. Becoming a Canadian citizen requires a period of permanent residency where taxes are filed and paid in Canada, fluency in one of Canada’s official languages is achieved, and a test on Canada’s history and your responsibilities as a Canadian is passed. As you can see, it’s not easy to immigrate to Canada or to become a citizen, but Canada has always believed in the importance of immigration and has a robust system that allows multiple methods of entry. If you are married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident—or plan to be in the near future, you have a path to apply for citizenship. You’ll just have to meet a few other requirements first.

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