Questions to Ask
Here are a few questions that you may need to ask.
- Will the marriage take place in or out of Canada?
- If you get married in Canada, can you stay in Canada permanently?
- Can your husband have more than one wife at the same time?
- Will you be sponsored?
- Does your husband have a legal obligation to apply for your sponsorship?
- What are the legal responsibilities of your husband as a sponsor?
- What are your obligations as a sponsored person?
- What does your husband expect of a wife?
- What are your rights in marriage?
- Do you have a legal responsibility to care for your in-laws?
- Do you have to have children?
- After your marriage, if you have children from a previous relationship, will they be allowed to come with you to Canada?
Will the marriage take place in or out of Canada?
Where the marriage is performed will affect whether it is recognized by Canadian authorities as valid in Canada. It also may affect what you can do if you wish to obtain a divorce or separate from your husband if the marriage is not successful. For more detailed information, go to Location of Your Marriage Ceremony.
If you get married in Canada, can you stay in Canada permanently?
Can your husband have more than one wife at the same time?
No. In Canada, your husband can only have one wife. Canada does not recognize other kinds of marriages recognized in some countries, such as polygamous marriages (polygamy). Be sure that your partner is free to marry you under the laws of Canada. If he is not free to marry you, he will not be able to sponsor you, even if you believe yourself to be married within your religious beliefs and culture. For more information, go to Marital Status.
Will you be sponsored?
You need to be sponsored in order to become a permanent resident, also known as a landed immigrant. In order to sponsor you, your husband will have to sign a sponsorship agreement with the Canadian authorities agreeing to sponsor you and any family members you are bringing with you. Do not assume that your dependents automatically will gain entry along with you. Each person must be approved for entry. Please note, you must still name all your dependants on your application forms even if he is not sponsoring your dependants. For more information, go to Permanent Resident – Sponsorship.
Does your husband have a legal obligation to apply for your sponsorship?
No. When you are planning to marry from overseas, your husband does not have an obligation to sponsor you to come to Canada. Work out the sponsorship details with him before your marriage ceremony, or you may find yourself unable to come to Canada while still being legally married. Your husband has to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen to sponsor you. He must also be 18 years old or older and must be living in Canada when you become a permanant resident. Once your husband has sponsored you, he has certain legal obligations but he does not have to sponsor you.
What are the legal responsibilities of your husband as a sponsor?
Your husband as the sponsor has to support you financially for three years under the immigration law. Even if your husband does not know his responsibilities or obligations as a sponsor, he will not be excused from fulfilling them once he signs a sponsorship agreement. For more information, go to Permanent Resident – Sponsorship.
What are your obligations as a sponsored person?
As a sponsored person, you do not have additional responsibilities to your husband. This means that you are not legally obligated to do what your husband says or what he wants because he is your sponsor. Legally you do not have to bear his children or take care of his parents if you do not want to do so. You have the same responsibilities as any other permanent resident or Canadian citizen. You are responsible for following the laws of Canada and the province where you live. Your responsibility is towards the Canadian government, not your husband. You have to take actions to become self-supporting. This means that while you are being sponsored and your husband is taking care of your basic needs, you have to be finding ways to support yourself financially. Often, this means looking for work, taking English language classes, and learning about Canadian society. This will help you integrate into Canadian society.
What does your husband expect of a wife?
You should find out if your husband has any cultural expectations of you as a wife. Discuss what the family roles will be, who will be doing the cooking and cleaning, and what the sexual expectations in the marriage will be. Finding out about things in advance can prevent many misunderstandings and fighting. Asking detailed questions will also help screen the prospective spouse and determine the real intentions behind the marriage proposal.
What are your rights in marriage?
Do you have a legal responsibility to care for your in-laws?
No, you do not have a legal responsibility to care for your husband’s parents. Before marrying, ask whether the in-laws will be living with you and what your husband expects you to do for them. Will you be caring for his other children and his aging parents? Ask questions and get answers.
Do you have to have children?
There is no legal obligation for you to bear children in marriage. In Canada, women have a legal right under the law to reproductive choice. This means that you may choose if and when to bear children or not to bear any children. You are entitled to medical care and to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. These are legal rights under Canadian law. You have the right to be alone with your doctor and to discuss your body and how to handle childbearing issues. Under the privacy laws of Canada, your doctor cannot tell your spouse what you talked about unless you agree.
After your marriage, if you have children from a previous relationship, will they be allowed to come with you to Canada?
Your children will have to be sponsored by your husband in order to come to Canada with you. If they are under 22 years old, your husband will have to sponsor them for 10 years or until they turn 25, whichever comes first. If your children are over 22, your husband will have to sponsor them for three years.