I’m writing this post so that I might be of help to any others who might be going through what my wife and I just accomplished in the past few weeks. Having said that, there are a lot of different scenarios out there. And obviously, every variable makes a difference, and I am not anywhere near being close to an expert on immigrating to Canada.
What I do know is what I experienced with my wife starting with our marriage on May 2, until we get her visa (as of the moment I’m writing this post, she has finished her medical and her biometrics). And that process and the timelines and costs associated, I hope will be of value to someone, somewhere.
Part 1: Specifics of our Situation
Most importantly, I should go through our specific situation, so that people might be able to distinguish where they may differ from us. First of all, I am a naturalized Canadian Citizen… That is, I moved to Canada from the Philippines with my family when I was 9 years old, and became a Canadian Citizen. Of second importance is that I am not a Philippine Citizen – that is, my family became Canadian Citizens before the laws changed allowing Filipinos to become dual citizens. Because of that, we renounced our Philippine Citizen, and I am only a Canadian Citizen. This is going to be important very soon.
I met my wife, Marcia, through an online dating site, but most of our interactions were through Facebook messenger. This is important to mention because Social Media seems to be playing a larger role in providing proof of genuine relationships. Anyway, we have thousands of pages of text chats. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of video chatting, so we hardly ever did that. But in addition to our online contact, I did visit her multiple times in the Philippines.
At the time my wife and I met, I lived in Fort McMurray, Alberta (though my family moved and settled in Toronto). But, in 2017, I became a Missionary/English Teacher in Japan. And so I actually became an official resident of Japan, which meant that I became a Non-Resident Citizen of Canada. This matters later on in our application process, but more importantly, this meant that I visited my wife in the Philippines much more often – from once a year, to 3-4 times. Until we finally made the decision to get married, which was…
In August 2018, while I was on vacation in the Philippines, we “officially” became a couple – that is, she met my family, I met hers, things became public on Facebook, etc. Again, goes to show how important Social Media plays now on laying out timelines, etc. It was also at this time that I asked her to marry me, but that becomes “official” later on. A few months later in October, she visited me in Japan, then when I came home for Christmas in December, that is when the engagement really becomes official because…
In January of 2019, after my parents arrived in the Philippines for their vacation, we held a traditional Filipino get-together (I find it difficult to call it a “ceremony”) called “Pamamanhikan”. The best way to explain it is the formal meeting of our families. Her dad came up to the City from the Province, and our family members (both immediate and extended) met. There was probably 30 people in attendance. We had a meal together, and I formally announced my “intentions” to marry my wife and how we planned to accomplish that.
Most important in that whole deal is the fact that I am not a Philippine Citizen, which made it difficult for us to get married and apply for a visa to Canada according to the timeline we were hoping for. This meant that we could not get married in the Philippines (at least legally), but had to do it somewhere it would be much easier to accomplish… for that, we chose Hong Kong.
Ok that’s all for this first part. In the next part, our wedding in Hong Kong.