Road to Canada – update

Matt | Permanent Resident Process to Canada | Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

The road to Canada is an interesting one.  At first thought, this journey was overwhelming.  The thought of bringing my wife to Canada and applying for her to become a permanent resident was intimidating.  Where do we start?  How can we do this?  Do we need to hire a lawyer or a consultant?  Can we do it ourselves?

Now I write to you, 2 months after we initially applied, and with the image of the visa in my wife’s passport that says, immigrant.  My whole feeling on the word immigrant has changed dramatically.

So what have I learned in this process that I think may be of help to anyone else who wants to bring their Chinese wife to Canada?  In my opinion (as I don’t know for sure) here are some of the things I think we did well.

Be Honest

Our marriage was genuine.  We got married before the process started.  But we had been together for almost two years before this and had known each other for almost three years.  Having a genuine relationship may seem like a no brainer, but I think it’s the only way to go.  In the newspaper, I have read some tragic cases trying to cheat the system.  And I realize that the system is as thorough as it is because they want to catch such fraudulent cases.  Start with the truth and things will likely work out.  Start with a lie and things will also work out, though differently.

Talk to people who have done what you want to do

I have found lots of people tried to give us advice on what we should do.  And I realize that their heart was in the right place.  The only problem was most of these people had no idea what they were talking about because they had never gone through the process.  Most of these people told me to “get a lawyer” or to “talk with an immigration consultant”.  When I asked my friends who had gone through the process they said, “Do it yourself,” and the funny thing was: he’s a lawyer.  Like most things in life, ask and listen to those who have done what you want to do.  Ignore the others who will talk without knowing what they are talking about.  (I could be one of these people, so don’t simply trust me.  Instead read the next point.)

DIY – Do It Yourself

Now this worked out very well for us, but I also realize that we had a simple case: it was both our first marriages, we had no other dependents coming over, and I had a decent job in Canada to be able to financially sponsor her.  And I know every case is different, but I think for us it actually helped that we did it ourselves.  I think the Canadian government website, while at first was a little intimidating, was very helpful and had all the information that we needed in order to fill in the applications.

Also, a website that I found in Canada that was helpful for me to understand the general process and to get an expected timeline was .  Great site for Canadian English speakers.

During the process, my wife found a great website in China that could help with everything from understanding the process to even giving you the frequently asked questions in an interview.  This website is called This site also seemed to be a great support system for my wife as she could ask questions (in Chinese) and get answers from others going through the same process.

Expose Yourselves

Both my wife and I decided early on that we would show the immigration officers everything we had that proved we were a genuine and loving couple.  At first this seemed an bit intrusive.  Why should I have to show my intimate love letters?  But then I figured if this person is the only thing standing between my wife coming to Canada, so I will show them everything, whatever it takes, to make this happen.  We ended up giving in almost all the original letters and cards we had written over the two years.  Plus we sent in all the relevant emails – the juicier the better, I figured – and even sent in a copy of all our Skype calls.  Photos were sent in, clipped together in logical bundles (again my wife did this).  She also wrote nice little comments on the photos with sticky notes explaining what was happening and who was involved.  I think it’s better to show more than less.

Be Organized

My wife did most of the work during the process, so I was very fortunate.  I think the Applicant also has more of the work to do.  Still I really think the way she organized our files was very logical and easy for the immigration officers to review our stuff.  We used plastic envelopes to group our stuff with labels on the front to describe what we had.  Also, like I mentioned above, we had photos in clipped together with paper clips, to make it easier to flip through.  Plus when my wife wrote the details of how our relationship blossomed she was able to refer the reader back to the appropriate folder or package.  I think this worked for us and I recommend it for you.

Control What You Can Control

Remember the permanent residency process can be a long one and so plan for that as best you can.  At times it was stressful, simply waiting and checking the website for any updates.  Other times I felt like I had lost all control over the process and was at the whim of the government officials.  Then my wife said, “why don’t we control what we can control?”  She recommended we plan a trip back to China in the summer for two weeks.  So regardless of what happened with the PR process that we would control when we could see each other.  This was simple and I thought brilliant.  Because we were able to have something to look forward to that was in our control

We were fortunate to have a lot of things work for us.  But I think we also put in some work up front and during the process that helped.  I wish you all the success in your journey.

Yi Lu Ping An.

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