Sponsoring Your Common Law Partner To Immigrate To Canada
Many Canadians and Permanent Residence in and outside of Canada have spouses that are considered “common-law” spouses or common law partners in Canada. However, many of them do not know they are common-law. They also do not know that a common law partner relationship is accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for family sponsorship purposes. This means that you can sponsor your common law partner for them it immigrate to Canada or become a permanent resident. This is true even if your relationship is not legally recognized in your country of origin. Common law partner sponsorship can be confusing so call to speak to a immigration lawyer or immigration consultant today at 403-225-8810.
Confusion Of Common Law Partner Sponsorship
A common law union, relationship or partnership can be confusing. A cause for some of the confusion lies with the individual provinces and territories in Canada not issuing any sort of official document (like a marriage certificate) to prove the common-law partner status of a couple. Thus, for those applying for Permanent Residency as a sponsored common-law spouse, there must be sufficient proof of the relationship submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This gets more confusing for common law partner sponsorship when your common law partner still lives in your country of origin. Even within the Canadian government there are differences in what is needed for common law status.
Canadian Immigration Definition Of Common Law Relationships
Citizenship and Immigration Canada defines “common-law” relationships as it relates to whom you can sponsor to become a permanent resident. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR):
“common-law partner means, in relation to a person, an individual who is cohabiting with the person in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year.”
This is pretty clear itself, but to further define it, here is another explanation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website:
“What does the Government of Canada consider to be a common-law relationship?
You may apply to sponsor a common-law partner, of the opposite sex or the same sex. If so, you have to prove you have been living with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a relationship like a marriage.
That means living together for one year without any long periods where you did not see each other. Either partner may have left the home for work or business travel, family obligations, and so on. However, that separation must have been temporary and short.
A common-law relationship ends when at least one partner does not intend to continue it.”
Proving Common Law Status For Canadian Immigration
Armed with these definitions, when approaching an application for Permanent Residency as a Common Law Partner or Spouse we can start to identify documents and information, which will help prove this.
To begin with, Citizenship and Immigration Canada requires a Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union be signed and declared by both the applicant and the sponsor attesting to the Common-Law relationship. This would then be accepted as a legal document confirming the relationship status. However, much more information is needed to help strengthen the application.
Demonstrating Common Law Partners By Cohabitation
Cohabitation (or living together) is the main area of focus by Citizenship and Immigration Canada when assessing these relationships. A copy of a lease agreement(s), utility bills in both names, home insurance in both names, official letters addressed to each individual independently but with the shared address, and a number of other documents can be used to help support at least one year of cohabitation. These items help the Immigration Officer identify the minimum one-year requirement for cohabitation.
Showing Common Law Immigration Status By Joint Living
While the above is essential in meeting the eligibility requirements to apply under this Family Class stream for Permanent Residency, it is only the beginning in the preparation of the application package itself. Applicants and sponsors must also include sufficient proof of relationship. These items can include:
- joint bank accounts;
- joint credit cards;
- joint ownership of a home;
- joint receipts from your rental home;
- joint registration and/or payment of household utilities;
- joint management of your household expenses;
- jointly buying household furnishings together;
- child birth certificates showing both parents;
- photos from important and daily activities with both the applicant and sponsor
Common Law Partner Sponsorship Help
Common law partner sponsorship applications with Citizenship and Immigration Canada is confusing, which is made worse by very strict rules and regulations within Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Our Immigration Team at the Kahane Law Office consists of Immigration Lawyers, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, and former Citizenship and Immigration Canada employees. We can help ensure your application package is as complete as possible to help avoid processing delays due to errors and omissions. Call us today at 403-225-8810 in Calgary, Alberta or toll-free at 1-877-225-8817 or email us directly here.