Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I arrived in the USA approximately four years ago as a tourist. I have not extended my status and I am an overstay. My wife and children are in the Philippines. I am working in the USA as a driver but I am an engineer by profession. In fact, my wife and I met while we worked at the same engineering firm and we have the same amount of experience. I have some friends in Vancouver who has encouraged me to come to visit but I have doubts about obtaining a USA from here. I would be interested in immigrating to Canada but do not know how or whether I need to return to my home country to file the application.

A. In my opinion, you are unlikely to obtain a visitor visa to Canada at this time. The Canadian Consulate in USA will no doubt see that you have overstayed your USA visa, so they will think you will do the same in Canada. The better news for you is that you do not have to live in perpetual limbo. It is indeed possible to file the application in the Philippines and remain in the USA at the same time. It also appears that you and/or your spouse qualify as immigrants.

Q. I am married to a Canadian Citizen. We are living outside of Canada. Does my sponsor need to return to Canada to file the application? how long will it take? Can I enter Canada and file the application from inside the country?

A. Yes, your spouse can sponsor you either inside of Canada or outside. She does not need to return to Canada to file the application and we can file on her behalf at the local immigration processing centre. You have not stated if you have a visitor visa now to enter Canada. If you do, and if you enter , it is possible to apply from inside Canada but that process will take longer. On average, a spousal sponsorship from outside the country will take about 6 months and double that time if processed inside the country.

Q. I am a new graduate in nursing. I am single and have three sisters who are Canadian citizens. I want to apply as an immigrant. How do I go about that?

A. You must have a minimum of one year of full time work experience. That is the threshold to at least get yourself inside the door. While I do not have much information to assess your case, you need at least 1 year of work to even start. So without that you are not qualified as a skilled worker.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by fax, phone or email