You may think that if you are a Canadian citizen, but have kids or get married while you are overseas, that there would be no problem bringing your family back to Canada. However, Citizenship laws may not make that as easy as you would think, and some have had problems bringing their own children into Canada when they come back to the country.
Man Has Problems Bringing Kids Back to Canada
This is exactly what has happened to one man, who is a Canadian citizen, although he was born in Libya. He is a Canadian citizen by virtue of the fact that his parents were Canadian citizens at the time of his birth, and thus, Canadian citizenship automatically was confirmed on him despite his place of birth.
Years later, he had children of his own, coincidentally, also born while he was working in a different country, China. Upon trying to bring them home, they were denied entry by Canada because Citizenship law only allows the first generation of children who are born overseas to Canadian citizens to have citizenship. The man himself was the first generation to be born overseas and be granted citizenship—his kids were now the second generation and thus did not qualify for this exception.
Making the case more bizarre, even though born in China, his daughter could not be Chinese citizen under Chinese laws. Luckily, she did qualify for Irish citizenship because of her father’s heritage. Surprisingly, his son, also born in China could obtain citizenship to China.
Law Change Brings Confusion
If this all sounds like it makes little sense or is contrary to what most people think they know about Canadian Citizenship law, that is because the laws changed in 2009. Before that date, the laws were pretty easy—if you are born to Canadian citizen parents overseas, you by virtue are a citizen of Canada.
The man’s kids who were now in immigration limbo were born three months after that law changed. He has not seen his wife or kids for the last seven months. This strange quirk in Canadian citizenship law is concerning to those who travel abroad frequently for pleasure or business.
The best the Canadian government can offer the man is suggesting that he sponsor his kids as dependent children. The Canadian government says it is committed to keeping families together, and the requirements to sponsor family members are not very onerous, but it is still an administrative process and the length of time for approval often keeps families apart.
The Process of Sponsorship
Sponsoring family members as immigrants to Canada requires individuals to submit various forms and documents. The average processing times for a family class sponsorship for spouses, common-law,/conjugal partners or dependent children is about twelve months. There are various stringent requirements for the Sponsor and the family members being sponsored. This include, but are not limited to, things such as age, financial capacity, criminality, medical history and previous immigration history.
There are different requirements for a Permanent Resident of Canada wanting to Sponsor their family members to Canada than for a Canadian Citizen. It is very important to know where you stand with regards to your eligibility to sponsor a family member prior to submitting an sponsorship application
Sponsorship is not just for children, but can be used for partnerships such as spouses common-law and conjugal partners.
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Common-law partners must have been living together for at least 12 months consecutively. Time spent apart from each other must have been short and temporary—in other words, one partner cannot have resided somewhere else during that time. Common-law partners of either sex need to demonstrate that they are “genuine,” and are not partners just for the purpose of gaining entry into Canada.
will need to show proof of their cohabitation in the form of shared utility bills, shared ownership of land or property, rental agreements, insurance policies, or other documents that have both of their names at the same address.
A conjugal partner is a person who is living outside of Canada in a conjugal relationship with the Sponsor for at least one year and could not live with the Sponsor as a couple because of reasons beyond their control (ie. Immigration, religious reasons).You would need to show significant amount of attachment between you two to depict a mutally interdependt relationship short of living together for a year and marriage. It is important to note if sponsoring a conjugal partner, he or she cannot be living in Canada .
As you may expect, legally married spouses will need to show marriage certificates, but those certificates must be valid not just in the country in which you married, but in Canada, as well. If you were married overseas, you may want to check with a Canadian embassy to make sure the marriage laws where you married conform with Canadian laws.
Sponsorship is not the most ideal way for families to get permanent residency for their natural children or spouses, but given the change in the law, it may be the only way for many.
Do not assume you know Canadian immigration or citizenship laws. If you have a question about Canadian immigration or citizenship laws, contact the Preszler Law Firm for help or for answers to your immigration questions before a problem arises, and to help you navigate the Canadian immigration system.