Immigration marriage fraud

Some people think marriage to a Canadian citizen will be their ticket to Canada. Think carefully before marrying someone and sponsoring them to come to Canada, especially if

  • you’ve just met
  • they want to get married quickly
  • they’ve been married or in a common-law relationship many times before
  • they haven’t shared very much information about their background or family

How to report marriage fraud

Relationships of convenience

In some cases, sponsors and foreign applicants enter a “relationship of convenience”. This is a marriage, or a common-law or conjugal relationship, the sole purpose of which is to let the sponsored spouse or partner immigrate to Canada.

Our officers are trained to recognize genuine immigration applications. They know how to detect false marriages and false common-law or conjugal relationships. They have many ways to spot marriage fraud, including document checks, visits to people’s homes, and interviews with both sponsors and applicants.

Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in a relationship of convenience for immigration reasons may be charged with a crime.

Advice for potential sponsors

Don’t be tempted by offers of money or other rewards to marry or enter a relationship of convenience with a person just so they can immigrate to Canada.

If you sponsor your spouse or partner, you must give them financial support for 3 years even if the marriage or relationship fails. Sponsorship is a legal contract with the Government of Canada. You must meet its terms.

If your spouse receives social assistance, you’ll have to repay the money. Also, you can’t sponsor anyone else until you repay the debt. Learn more about your obligations as a sponsor .

Don’t feel you must help somebody by being part of a marriage or relationship of convenience, no matter what the reason. It’s not worth the risks!

Learn more about the consequences of marriage and immigration fraud.

Advice for potential spousal applicants

Don’t get involved in a false marriage. It’s a crime to marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident simply to gain entry to Canada. We’ll refuse your visa and may ban you from travel to Canada for 5 years. This will be added to your immigration record and may affect future applications.

We know that even genuine marriages can fail. But don’t risk your future by entering into a relationship of convenience to come to Canada.

Learn more about the consequences of marriage and immigration fraud.

If you’re in an abusive relationship

You don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship to keep your status in Canada.

You have the right to seek help. If you’re married, in a common-law or conjugal relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is abusive, you don’t need to live with them to keep your permanent resident status.

Find out how to get help

Marriage fraud: Stories from victims


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