a couple getting married online - Does IRCC Recognize Virtual Marriages (Proxy Marriages) a couple getting married online - Does IRCC Recognize Virtual Marriages (Proxy Marriages)


Does IRCC Recognize Virtual Marriages (Proxy Marriages)?

#familyvisa #spouse

In a statement by  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), they do not recognise virtual marriages (or proxy marriage). In this kind of marriage, one or both of the persons getting married are not physically present. Instead, another person represents them in the marriage. In this regard, only those sponsors excluded from this whose applications were received before June 11, 2015.


Reason for Not Accepting Virtual Marriages

The reason for not accepting virtual marriages is that the Canadian government prioritised women's vulnerability in the context of immigration and forced marriage. 

In case of forced marriage, the use of proxy, fax, telephone, internet or FaceTime, Skype etc. help facilitate it. Those who are getting married are not physically present, thus making it more difficult to know if they have their consent to the marriage. 


Exception of Accepting Virtual Marriage

The Government of Canada will only accept virtual marriage if you serve in the Canadian Armed Forces. That is also only in the following cases.

  • Your marriage took place in a country where virtual marriage is legal.

  • Marriage was held outside Canada.

  • You cannot be physically present in marriage because of service-related travel restrictions. 


Confirmation by officer 

In such a case, an officer will identify the sponsor's employer using IMM 5532 (Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation form). Suppose it comes out that the applicant was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces or is currently serving. In that case, an officer will send a letter which requests submissions. Or he will take an interview asking why they were unable to be physically present. 


Alternative Options for Spouses

Knowing your virtual marriage is not acceptable in Canada does not end your chances to bring your spouse. There are two possible options to bring your spouse to Canada. 


Applying for a Work Permit

You have an option to apply for your spouse's work permit to bring them to Canada. After they come to Canada, you both can arrange your wedding ceremony by being physically present in it. Thus, it will give you legal recognition of being a married couple. 


Common-law Status of Spouses

Those spouses who have lived with each other for a year, maintaining a conjugal relationship, can come to Canada as they can be considered common-law partners. According to Canadian Immigration Law, common-law partners have the same rights and benefits as legally wedded spouses.


Eligibility Criteria for Sponsor and Their Spouse

The sponsor and their spouse must meet the following eligibility criteria. 

  • They must be at least 18.

  • The sponsor is required to be a permanent resident or citizen of Canada. 

  • The sponsor has not sponsored their spouse in five years before the application. 

  • Both of them must not be bankrupt or criminally charged in any offence. 


Final Words

Family immigration is complex, but there is always a way out. You can use alternate options. But if you have found yourself stuck in such a situation where no option seems applicable to you, it's best to contact an immigration consultant. They will help judge your situation and apply their experience of immigration to find out what other ways you can call your spouse to Canada. 


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