Monday, 31 January 2011
Under normal circumstances, I hate filling out application forms. They can be so tedious and boring: getting the dates right, looking up addresses and contacts, dotting all the Is and crossing all the Ts. Funnily enough though, I was downright excited when Dave and I started his application for Canadian permenant residency.
Make no mistake. It's a freaking monster of packet. I'm sorry, but reams and reams of paper were printed in order to get my husband from here to there. A moment of silence please.
Where was I? Oh yes, it's a freaking monster. So in order not to bore the lot of you, I'll break these down in manageable steps.
The first thing I did was read the Citizenship and Immigration Canada site thoroughly. I mean, we became BFF. It's a lot of information, some of it confusing and sometimes a bit vague, but overall, it's easily understandable. I did, however, use my other BFF (Google) to read about other people's experiences and what I should do to avoid common pitfalls. The site I found the most useful was http://www.britishexpats.com/ particularly the discussion forum. I would urge, no push, anyone going through this to go on a forum and read what others have done in order to save yourself headaches and anxiety in the long run.
After reading the site, I printed out the application guides as well as the application itself and Dave and I sat down together to see what we needed to do. As it turned out, it was quite a lot. The application is in two parts: the first part is for the sponsor and the second part is for the applicant. As I'm the Canadian citizen, I would sponsor Dave, thus being financially responsible for him for the next three years. In order to get approved at a sponsor, I had to show that I wasn't a drain on the State and that I had ties to Canada since I have been living abroad for the past few years. I had to complete a 5 page application form and provide information about myself and my sponsored person and basically promise to look after him while we live in Canada. I also had to sign a sponsorship agreement and a sponsorship evaluation to ascertain if I was rich enough (i.e. not on benefits) to take care of my man, as well as a sponsor questionnaire that entailed me answering questions about my past jobs and addresses as well as my master plan when I arrive in Canada. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. In total, this part of the application was about 11 pages, plus my birth and marriage certificates, and tax and financial documents.
The second part was a little more...involved. Dave and I worked on this for about a week. This part of the application focused on him and his history. He had to answer the usual questions: address, height, weight, if he has ever been involved in an act of genocide...what??? Yes, there were several questions about any criminal activities he may have taken part in. He also had to provide details on what he has been doing and where he has living since he was 18. It took a little while to remember all the details but we got there.
Last but not least, we had to go through the whole history of our relationship including dating, proposal, wedding and honeymoon, and provide pictures of us over the last five years. We had to provide details of when and where we met, if our close friends and families knew of our relationship and if and when I met any of them, who proposed to whom and where and when, describe our wedding and honeymoon, and how we communicate when we're not together among other questions that are just too numerous to list here.
We gave ourselves a deadline date to finish the application, made copies of important documents, printed out photos and checked each part at least 3 times. I forgot to mention that while we were sorting this out, we were simultaneously ticking off other boxes, namely obtaining a medical certificate and criminal checks for each country Dave has lived in for over 6 months. So in addition to the $1040, we paid £190 for the medical check and around £30 for the police checks. We kissed it goodbye in mid August and it reached the Mississauga offices on the last day of August.
And then we began the waiting game.
On around the 30th of September we received notification that I had been accepted as his sponsor. Yay! That didn't take too long, as the members of britishexpats.com indicated. At this point, we were dead set on moving and I booked my ticket to leave Scotland. We fully expected this process to take around 6 months, which seems to be average. I hoped to hear back earlier but I wasn't about to hold my breath.
Maybe I should have. Because at the the beginning of November, we got a request asking for Dave's passport! We dropped off his passport in London when we visited at the beginning of December, and a week later, we received his passport with his brand new permanent resident visa. Soooo, my husband has been accepted as a future immigrant to Canada. Yay for speedy bureaucracy!