A few of my Canadian friends hired lawyers to help them sponsor their non-Canadian born spouses over to Canada. Not sure what everyone paid for these services, but I know at least one friend paid $5,500 and highly recommended his agency to us.
That’s on top of the $1,040 application fee that the Canadian Immigration charges.
To us, $5,500 + $1,040 = $6,540 is nothing to sneeze at. Heck, it takes me much sweat and tears (at least sweat!) doing 2 bike courier deliveries to earn even $10 these days!
Yes there are costs to immigration, but they don’t have to be THAT high if you take some time to read and ask questions.
My advice is to do-it-yourself if you have a straight forward case and can read English.
Our DIY immigration approach
First, we visited the CIC website and downloaded all the forms for spousal sponsorship and read them.
The first time we read the forms we were confused. But the second time we read them, they started to make sense. Now that we’ve read them several times over, we realize it’s not that bad.
Specifically there is a checklist called IMM 5533 that is pretty much the blue print for the entire application for family sponsorship. If you can read English, this checklist shouldn’t be a problem to understand.
If there are confusing parts that the CIC website can’t answer, there are FREE forums you can post questions to. The most helpful forum I’ve come across is on CanadaVisa.com. I’ve already asked a few questions there and they’ve been answered within a few hours. It’s SO helpful!
Don’t complicate things!
Immigration can definitely be complicated. But that’s not an excuse to get scared into paying someone thousands to help you. Even if you hire someone, you’ll still have to do 95% of the work anyway.
Instead of reading the IMM 5533 checklist yourself, the expert you’ve hired will read it to you. They’ll ask you to fill out forms A, B, and C, and will specify what type of relationship proof you’ll need to show. Basically, everything that’s listed on IMM 5533 which is FREE to download off the website!
What’s the success rate?
No one can guarantee that you’ll be able to immigrate into any country, Canada included. Whether you gain residency or not depends on your application, the immigration rules, the political climate, the person processing your application and how they interpret your proofs, etc…
Everyone I know who has sponsored their spouses to Canada have ALL hired lawyers to help them. EVERYONE.
And they have all been successful, hurray!!
But was it necessary to pay thousands of dollars for this service?
In the next few weeks we’ll be applying for Martin’s permanent residency and doing it with no external representation. We’ll be paying the $1,040 application fee, and maybe $300-$500 worth of other costs like translations, etc…
We expect to pay less than $2,000 in total and feel confident that our application will at least be as good as if we hired an expert to help us. Time will bring a decision to our case, and I’ll update it here.
In the meantime, we need to hustle because getting an immigration application together takes A LOT of effort! We’ve been working on it for the last 2 months and still have more to do. Hiring someone would not have made this any faster though, unfortunately.