Obtaining Permanent Residency In The US, Canada or Australia After Marrying A Citizen

Amy Smith / 5 min read
You’ve found someone that you want to marry, but there is a downside, they live in another country. How and what do you have to do to stay together and how do you apply for permanent residency in the US, Canada and Australia? For each country we shall discuss what “John” needs to do to get permanent citizenship as a case example to make this confusing process more understandable.
You’ve found someone that you want to marry, but there is a downside, they live in another country. How and what do you have to do to stay together and how do you apply for permanent residency in the US, Canada and Australia? For each country we shall discuss what “John” needs to do to get permanent citizenship as a case example to make this confusing process more understandable. 

US
Upon marrying a US citizen, John can apply for a green card so long as he and his spouse can prove their relationship is genuine and ongoing. After successfully having a green card for 3 years, John can apply for citizenship as long as: 

  • The majority of the three years were spent in the US
  • The relationship is ongoing
  • He passes the US civics test
  • Can read, speak and write English 
  • Passes character requirements
   John’s application could be in jeopardy if: 

  • It’s proven he married just to obtain a green card
  • He overstayed on a previous visa just to marry
  • He obtained the wrong visa with the intention of coming to the US to marry.

Canada
In Canada, applying for residency is simpler across the board because it requires a sponsor. If John marries a Canadian legal resident (as long as they have been a resident for 3 years or longer, can prove the relationship is genuine and both parties are over 18) they can sponsor John to enter the country on a visa while they wait for application of residency. It’s important to note that if John intends to work during the application process he will need to also apply for an open work permit. 

Australia
After marrying an Australian citizen (or certain eligible citizens from New Zealand) John will be able to apply for a spouse visa, which will grant him rights to work and live in Australia on a temporary basis for the next two years as long as: 

He passes the usual health criteria and character assessments of all visas
Both parties need to be over 18
John and his spouse have lives together or during the last 12 months while being in a relationship have lived together. 
John and his spouse are committed to each other as husband and wife regardless of legal marriage. 
After 2 years, so long as John’s marriage is still ongoing (and genuine) he can apply for permanent residency. In certain circumstances such as: 

John and his spouse’s relationship has been ongoing for five years or longer at the time of application. 
John and his spouse have dependent children and have been together for two years. 
If John is engaged and intends to enter Australia to marry his fiancé, he can instead apply for a fiancé visa, as long as he can prove they have met face-to-face, are intending to marry and can satisfy at the interview that the relationship is genuine. You must apply from outside of Australia for these visas. If it is found that John is marrying for the sole purpose of a visa or permanent residency, he will not gain entry, the application will be denied, he will be deported if he is in the country already and any future applications up to 5 years will likely not be approved. 

Hopefully this has made the process clearer, but the key points to note is that no-one marries under false pretences to gain citizenship. If this is the case it can harm residency applications as well as future visas and in some instances get you banned or deported from the country. 

Tags: Marry in Canada, Marry in the US. Marriage after visiting. Visiting for marriage. Marring in the US. Green Card Marriage. Canada resident visa, Marriage. Migration Brokers Marriage Visa

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