You’ve spent a lot of time online, maybe Thai Lovelines or Thai Cupid looking for the girl of your dreams and after a few weeks, you find her. She’s beautiful.
Over the ensuing months you, in Canada, chat with her in Thailand. Overcoming the disadvantage of distance and the horror of the 11-12 hour time difference love has blossomed despite the poor connections at times.
You take a vacation and go to visit her. She meets you in Bangkok but actually lives in a small village a few hours out of the capital. A great holiday with her on Koh Samui, a trip to Chiang Mai, then back to her village and it’s a real love affair.
You propose. She accepts. Now, what?
You want her to come and visit you and your family in Canada and eventually live there with you. Exactly how are you going to go about doing that?
It was rumoured that the Fiancé visa was abolished but if you look on the Canadian Government website the classification still seems to exist. Your fiancé could also come and visit on a visitor’s visa through an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). The requirements are reasonably easy to comply with and are listed below:
- Have a passport
- Be in good health
- Have no criminal record
- Convince Canadian Immigration that you have strong ties back in Thailand that will make you go home
- Convince Immigration that you will go back when your visit is finished
- Have enough money for your stay, where will you stay such as a hotel or with relatives.
- You may need a medical exam (unlikely)
- You may need a letter of invitation from someone living in Canada
Using this method can get your girlfriend/fiancé into Canada for a visit. It is NOT advisable for her to then apply for residency while on this visit. That is not looked upon favourably and will go against you when you ARE looking at having her as your wife in Canada.
As nice as it would be to have your fiancé stay with you forever on her first visit, you might want to consider her family and her ties in Thailand. You would have, understandably, discussed this at great length before proposing and indeed in many subsequent discussions.
But until she is actually living in another country, away from all those things that she has been familiar with for her life, it’s hard to say for certain just how well she will settle in another country. If she has close ties with family back home, the move will be difficult. We are not discussing whether she has any children either. That’s another minefield to negotiate.
Using the Canadian Family Class of Sponsorship to apply for an immigrant visa or permanent residency has to be done by you, of course, and there will be some steps to follow and documents to provide.
a. If a person has close relatives in Canada and wishes to immigrate to Canada, he may apply under this class for family sponsorship. In other words, if an individual is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada he can sponsor his close relative to obtain Canadian immigration. A fiancé is classified as a close relative in the context of this class. Once the sponsorship is approved the immigration office in Canada will inform the Canadian High Commission bureau in the country in which the relative is staying.
b. Canadian High Commission will ask the relative to provide all the necessary documents and may call for her for an interview;
c. After medical and security clearance, the relative will get Permanent Residence of Canada.
This reads well but it’s a long process and can take 16 months or more, especially if the paperwork is not up to requirements at any stage. The matter to clear up with CIC is the term fiancé or common law partner. Do they mean the same? To put it all beyond doubt if you marry your Thai fiancé then you can apply for a spousal visa. Again, the waiting time is approximately 16-17 months.
The cost is not an issue at about $500CAD for the visa. The time to process the application is inordinately long but countries like the USA, Australia and New Zealand, for example, are all about the same.
The main thing when you have decided to make your relationship permanent is to be aware of the amount of time that you will be required to wait. Make sure your paperwork is exactly what is needed because the rule is, generally, that your application gets shuffled back to the bottom of their pile if the request has any errors or documents that are required are missing.
Another good idea and this is something you can consciously think about early in the relationship, keep all photographs and correspondence between you and your girlfriend in a file. Proof of relationship usually forms a part of the requirements. Certainly, if you decide to get married, you will have a marriage certificate and lots of pictures of the wedding.
If you have a Thai girlfriend, all the above is worth it!