This is a series about Canadians who love non-Canadians and their journeys to getting Canadian permanent resident status for their loved ones in Canada. Please read on for stories of love, Canadian immigration and taking the "long-distance" out of a relationship.
The story of Jean-Philippe (Canadian) and Liv (British)
How did you meet and how did your relationship develop?
Liv: We worked in the same building in London, England. We both fancied each other from the beginning but we were both shy. I would always find ways to "accidentally" bump into Jean-Philippe by passing his office when I knew he would be working. The tension built for months and finally Jean-Philippe, who had found my number on my website, called me and asked me to meet him for a drink at the local pub. We dated for three years in London before getting married. We came to Canada when I was 3 and a half months pregnant with our first child.
What was the best part about the Canadian immigration process?
Jean-Philippe: We liked putting together the spousal sponsorship documents because it gave us a record of our relationship and reminded us of how we built our life together. Also, I like to talk things through, so getting advice from friends and professionals with experience in this type of application made us feel way better about any doubts we had.
What was the worst part about the Canadian immigration process?
Jean-Philippe: It was a horrible maze of forms and documents. The final package was almost 250 pages! Preparing everything took way longer than we expected. I thought it would take 1 month to submit the application but it ended up taking 5 or 6 months. We wanted to submit the application before our baby was born because we knew it would be harder to do paperwork with a newborn. Having a fixed deadline like that helped to prioritize the application and get it done.
Liv: I came to Canada as a tourist so I didn't have health care coverage during my pregnancy. That was extremely stressful. I had a home birth but I worried constantly that something would go wrong and I would have to go to the hospital (at great expense). Looking back, I underestimated how vulnerable I felt as a pregnant woman in Canada without permanent status or free health care.
How is life now?
Liv: Our son is almost two years old and we are expecting another child this summer. I notice a big difference with this second pregnancy. Now that I have permanent resident status, I feel much more secure, calm and happy. Canada's health insurance feels very good for me and my family. I miss my family back in England but I am happy that my son is growing up surrounded by Quebecois culture and French language primarily but other languages too. Also, raising a child in Montreal is much more affordable than raising a child in London!
Jean-Philippe: It felt like a miracle to get a positive response for Liv's permanent residence application. We had a sense of disbelief when we sent off the package and waited for months. We love our life together and I feel so lucky to be back home, raising my family next door to my parents and my sister's family.
Do you have any advice for others going through the spousal sponsorship process?
Jean-Philippe: Make your application a priority and take the time to read the forms very carefully. I had to re-read each form about eight times! Also, get help and advice from a professional. It isn't worth it to do all the work involved with the spousal sponsorship application and have it refused for a minor error.
Thank you so much to Liv and Jean-Philippe for sharing their story here. If you love a Canadian or want to live in Canada with your beloved, please contact me to discuss your options.