It's understandable for sane people to think about how they can escape the US in the wake of a Trump presidency. Since the primaries began, more and more Americans are considering a relocation, so much so that there have been notable spikes in Google searches about immigrating to Canada. Now, there's even a fucking dating website that will link up disenfranchised Americans with Canadians. For a group of people who think Canada is full of igloos (I can say this as an American living in Toronto), ya'll seem pretty obsessed with living here all of a sudden.
MapleMatch.com is the newest site to directly capitalize on this concept, promising to "make dating great again." Though the Texas-based owner of the site has promised that it is supposed to aid more in finding love than a passport, the subtext of marriage for citizenship is hard to ignore. But as an American who dated and married a Canadian, I can tell you that while you think it's a great idea now in your haze of hatred for the walking, living, breathing parody that could very well be your next dear leader, the series of life events this site could lead you to is way more complicated than you think.
Maple Match's site just went up this week and has already received 36,000 hits. About 4,200 people have signed up on a waitlist to use it, 70 percent of whom are Canadians. Though the site hinges on the concept of pairing people based on their citizenships, it also will consider compatibility much in the way that any dating site does.
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The site is currently emblazoned with the following promise: "Maple Match makes it easy for Americans to find the ideal Canadian partner to save them from the unfathomable horror of a Trump presidency." If you want to see "unfathomable horror," though, look no further than the slew of bureaucratic bullshit that follows attempting to gain residency in Canada by marrying a citizen.
I too once thought if you married someone in another country you would immediately be granted citizenship. It's not so. Besides the disturbing willingness to get into long-distance relationships (seriously, why would anyone purposely do that?), there's no mention of the bureaucracy that follows marrying someone from another country and trying to establish citizenship. Seriously, using this site should come with a warning: If you do go through with this, you are in for a minimum of over two and a half years full of paperwork, burning thousands of dollars in fees, and waiting for fucking ever while you pray that you didn't fuck up something in your application.
Let me walk you through what happens when you marry a Canadian and attempt to get your permanent resident card (green card equivalent). As an American, you'll be able to stay in Canada for up to six months out of the year as a visitor—no working or studying allowed. This isn't something a marriage changes. So unless you're cool with not being able to work or go to school, this is probably not ideal. You literally have to put your life on pause, and Canadian Netflix kinda sucks. Depending on your situation, you might be better off applying for a study or work permit in the meantime. (If you're in an unskilled labor market like retail, or you're a freelance artist or something like that, forget it because Canada doesn't grant work permits for jobs like that.)
Once you have your marriage certificate in hand, your Canadian spouse can apply to sponsor your immigration as the first part of a two-step process. No guarantee that they'll be approved either; they have to prove income, so make sure you pick a Canadian with a secure job. If they are approved to sponsor you, then you can apply for your permanent resident card, which currently takes a couple years to process. For your application, you'll have to prove that your marriage is legitimate thanks to Canada's previous Conservative government's paranoia about fake marriages for citizenship. This "proof" includes some of the following: wedding photos, message and email logs, and a bunch of other intrusive pieces that you might not feel comfortable sharing.
There's also the potential that your marriage won't work out while you're in the middle of the immigration process, in which case you might end up having to return to the ruins of America that Trump could leave behind. Yes, Canada might seem like a socialist paradise led by a ridiculously hot dude who boxes and cuddles pandas in his spare time. But the truth: Some Canadians spent the better part of the last decade envying an America led by Obama (who, objectively, is far hotter than JT by the way) while they watched a blander, more sinister, and entirely Canadian version of George W. Bush run their country into the ground. Even if you might get the "You're fired" guy, you're only stuck with him for a maximum of eight years, so that might not the best reason to become a certified maple chaser.
Besides, do you really want to live in a country where milk comes in plastic bags, Americans? Think about this deeply because there is no going back.
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