As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you are allowed to sponsor certain family members to reside in Canada indefinitely. You can sponsor family class immigrants who fit into the family class including parents, grandparents, biological and adopted children and spouses/partners. If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and got married to your current spouse outside of Canada, you may be wondering whether the Canadian government will recognize this union and if your sponsorship application will be successful.
The Canadian government does recognize foreign marriages but under certain conditions. To be able to sponsor your foreign spouse, you must show legal proof that you are indeed legally married according to the laws of the country where you got married. The marriage should also comply with Canada’s federal laws on marriage in order to be recognized by the Canadian government. In Canada, polygamy is outlawed and therefore, your union will not be recognized if you are married to more than one person. Marriage to blood or adopted relatives such as between parents and children, grandparents, brothers and sisters is also outlawed in Canada and therefore such unions will not be recognized.
Proxy marriages are no longer recognized by the Canadian immigration authorities, therefore the marriage must take place with both spouses actually present at the same time rather than between proxies or over the phone.
If you have any doubt whether you marriage was legal in the country where you got married in the first place, you have to contact the relevant authorities to prove that it is legal before approaching the Canadian government. If you contact the authorities in the country where you got married and you realize that that government does not recognize your marriage as valid, then the IRCC will not accept that relationship as a marriage as well.
If your relationship meets the requirements by the IRCC, then your spouse must be at least 18 years old at the time of the application for you to be able to sponsor them to come to Canada.
It may be difficult to get your spouse to come to Canada before you get married and most people often make the choice of planning a wedding outside Canada then applying for family class immigration.