I am often asked about the following scenario: a person has applied for Canadian permanent residency (usually through a spousal sponsorship) and lives abroad. The sponsored spouse then wishes to visit the sponsor in Canada before the application for permanent residency is complete.
Can it be done?
Generally speaking, yes. CIC follows the legislative principle of “dual intent”. Dual intent means that a person can have an intention to immigrate permanently, and also an intention to visit temporarily and leave before permanent residence is granted.
How does one show dual intent?
As in most things immigration, cases are assessed on their facts. In general, officers assess several factors, including:
- The length of time that the individual will be spending in Canada;
- The means of support;
- Obligations and ties in the home country; and
- Compliance with other requirements of the legislation and regulations applicable to visitors, workers and students.
If CIC officers have concerns about your application to enter the country they must give you a reasonable opportunity to respond to their concerns before rendering a decision.
If you are considering using dual intent to enter Canada, be sure to gather as much evidence as you can regarding ties to your country, arranged return travel, and so forth, to show that you will leave at the end of your stay. As always, seeking legal advice before traveling is a wise idea.