My friend is Canadian permanent resident and so is his wife and 2 sons. After they did the landing in Canada my friend got married to another wife when he was working in India and adopted her daughter. He is a Muslim and his religion allows a 2nd marriage.

This happened a few months back and without the knowledge of his 1st wife. Both his 2nd wife and his daughter are Indian Citizens and want to visit Canada for tourism purpose. Going through the application to check if they are eligible for such a visa there was a question "Do you have a Family member who is a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident and is 18 years or older?" and then some other questions somehow related to the same matter.

  • In this case should the answer be YES (which means a husband for the 2nd wife and a father for the daughter)?

  • Will his 2nd wife and his daughter be eligible for getting a tourist visa and visit Canada?

  • Or as they have a family member who is a permanent resident (husband to the 2nd wife and father of the daughter) will this negatively impact their visa application and/or issuance?

  • As they are coming for a tourist visit and not to live in Canada will they still be affected by saying the truth?

  • Will answering YES in their application to the Visa create a problem for my friend and/or effect his current permanent resident status?

  • 9
    Honestly, I think your friend needs a good immigration lawyer. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 18:38
  • 4
    We cannot answer the last question about immigration; see Expatriates for that question. For the rest, you should be aware that putting false information on the visa application is a good way to be refused and banned. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 18:39
  • 5
    In many countries, second marriages are not recognized, so the second wife would have no preferential status based on the marriage. I don't know whether this is the case in Canada, and I don't know whether that would also affect the status of the adopted daughter.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 18:40
  • 6
    Polygamy is a criminal offence in Canada
    – blackbird
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 19:11
  • 4
    "Both his 2nd wife and his daughter are Indian Citizens and want to visit Canada for tourism purpose". Call me cynical...
    – Berwyn
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


I'm going to dissent a bit from the general gist here since I'm not so sure this is all that complicated. If your friend had married both wives prior to coming to Canada CIC would only have recognized the first marriage and would treat the second spouse as if no relationship existed. The second wife would have no relative in Canada, the daughter might or might not have one depending on the basis for the adoption (if it depended on the marriage it might be considered nonexistent as well). Whether a visa application would be successful is a different issue, but if the second wife behaved consistently with their view that any prior relationship did not survive the husband's move to Canada this might work out. There is an article here discussing this that includes a CIC memo on the topic.

Unfortunately this is apparently not what happened. Instead I understand what happened to be that your friend moved to Canada with his only wife at the time and then, after becoming a permanent resident, acquired the second wife. This is a clear violation of Canada's bigamy law, an indictable offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If Canada found evidence that your friend had done this then, whether the second wife visited Canada or not, this very well might jeopardize not only his immigrant status but his freedom.

When your friend moved to Canada he voluntarily subjected himself to Canadian law from that point forward. I don't know what it says about your friend that he ignored his obligation to observe those laws, but I suspect it would be in his best interest for his second wife to not have any interaction with a Canadian official who might, even accidentally, come to know the facts of what occurred.

  • @pnuts I think the provision was carefully written to avoid extra territorial law issues. It criminalizes leaving Canada "with intent to do anything mentioned in subparagraphs (a)(i) to (iii)" if the intention is carried out. Leaving Canada is an action that necessarily starts in Canada, and so is a proper subject for Canadian law. Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 6:46
  • 1
    @pnuts, The only "extra territorial law" issue I see is that marriages entered into outside Canada are legally recognized as marriages inside Canada too. As this is the basis for much family immigration I don't see much wrong with that. The (very old) law that people residing in Canada have only one spouse applies only to people residing in Canada but, again, marriages entered into outside Canada are considered valid marriages. CIC (unlike USCIS) doesn't treat prior plural marriages as prejudicial, but the immigration benefit requires conformance with local law upon arrival.
    – user38879
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 14:32
  • dear all , my friend was not aware at all that such marriage is a violation. are we concluding here that he is in Violation to Canadian law and he is subjected to punishment?
    – Saeed
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 0:52
  • 1
    @Saeed We are concluding that your friend needs to speak to an immigration lawyer for further advice.
    – Jason C
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 2:30

In short, this is a complicated legal issue. Your friend is married to two different people, without the knowledge of his first wife, and in potential violation of Canadian law which bans polygamy.

The questions here amount to a request for legal advice, and the complexity of the situation is well beyond what an internet forum can provide. Your friend needs a well-qualified lawyer to help answer these questions, and many other relevant ones; not merely an immigration consultant who can help prepare paperwork, but an attorney who is able to research the relevant law and advise on the risks and benefits of various courses of action.

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