Many of our cases involve marriages between U.S. citizens (and other U.S. residents) and Canadian citizens. CLICK HERE TO SEND US AN EMAIL for help with your case.
Unlike most other immigration lawyers, we can handle both Canadian and U.S. immigration issues. In both the U.S. and Canada, there is no automatic right to permanent residence or citizenship just because you are married. All benefits must be applied for. Many people do not realize this, and may simply start living in the other country. This can lead to lifelong problems if discovered, especially if the couple is living in the U.S. Often the issue will arise when the non-citizen makes a trip back home, and then attempts to re-enter the U.S. This can lead to a five-year ban from entering the U.S. as an “immigrant without an immigrant visa.” To avoid these problems, couples should start the immigration process as early as possible, and should not move to the other country without full compliance with immigration requirements. We can help guide you through the process and prepare all the necessary applications. The following is a brief summary of the process.
- Moving to the U.S.: Couples planning to live in the U.S. have a choice of applying for a fiance(e) visa before getting married; applying for an immigrant visa after getting married if living outside the United States; or applying for adjustment of status if living in the United States. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these approaches. Important considerations are the timing of the marriage, the need to travel outside the United States, and current processing times. The Canadian spouse does not apply for U.S. citizenship; he or she applies for a green card. After three years of residence in the U.S. after approval of the green card, the Canadian can apply for citizenship. He or she will remain a Canadian citizen. The U.S. now recognizes same-sex marriages for immigration purposes, but does not recognize common law or other non-marital unions.
- Moving to Canada: A U.S. resident who marries a Canadian may apply for an immigrant visa if living outside Canada, or may apply for permanent residence from within Canada if currently living in Canada. There is no longer a fiance(e) visa in Canada. Canada recognizes both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages for immigration purposes. Common law partners may also apply if they have been living together for one year. Children of the U.S. spouse under the age of 19 may immigrate to Canada as well. For more information on Canada marriage visas, click here.
In addition to the immigration issues, there are other important issues that face U.S.-Canada couples, including tax questions (such as the Canadian “departure tax”); importing automobiles and other personal property; employment issues such as licensing for doctors, nurses, teachers, and engineers; and health insurance.