Unlike the rest of the world, Canada takes a rather different stance on common-law relationships. This is because common-law relationships are afforded nearly the same rights as married couples. Yet, this has many legal implications that common-law couples need to be aware of.
One significant area where this has some pretty implications is the subject of Canadian spouse immigration. If this is something that’s been unclear to you, then we have just the thing to help you out. We’ve prepared a list of common questions to address most (if not all) of the points that common-law couples have to know about when immigrating to Canada.
How is the Common-law Status Defined in Canada?
Now, one point that common-law couples need to know about is how common-law relationships are defined. For legal and immigration purposes, there are several requirements for a common-law marriage to be recognized in Canada, such as the following:
- The couple must have lived together for at least 12 consecutive months. That last part is crucial as the time spent living together must be equal to one year without a break or separation in between.
- Both individuals must be over 18 years old.
- The relationship must be exclusive, and the individuals involved must also intend to stay together permanently.
- The relationship must be public.
- The couple must have some form of combined affairs, such as a joint bank account, shared expenses, or joint purchases.
Do note that all of these requirements must be met to be recognized as a common-law couple in Canada. You’ll also have to make sure that you indicate that you are in a common-law relationship in all of the immigration applications that you fill out. Lastly, some cases will require individuals in a common-law relationship to undergo a spousal interview in Canada. This mostly occurs when the documentation provided to prove the requirements stated above are lacking or insufficient.
Do Common-law Partners receive immigration benefits?
As mentioned, Canada recognizes common-law relationships the same way it does married couples. This means that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their common-law partner as a permanent residence. Now, if you’re both seeking permanent resident status, it’s important that you indicate this in your application. An important point to note here is that if an individual is applying for a skilled work permit or a study permit in the country, their common-law partner also qualifies as they will be considered as your spouse.
How Does Being Married Affect Common-law Relationships?
Can you be married and be in a common-law relationship? The short answer to this is yes. You can be in a common-law relationship with a married individual as long as they are separated from their previous marriage partner. In this case, separation does not necessarily mean divorce. As long as the previously married individual is no longer in a relationship with their partner, then that individual can enter a common-law relationship.
Is There A Difference Between Cohabitation and a Common-law Relationship?
Now, there are cases where some of the requirements may be up for further scrutiny. Typically, this applies to relationships that cannot meet the requirements for common-law relationships due to external factors. This may apply to cases wherein the individuals cannot have a public relationship or the individuals involved cannot live together. If this is the case, the partners can still apply for Canadian citizenship or permanent residence, but they must prove to the immigration officers that they couldn’t meet the requirements for common-law relationships due to external reasons.
At this point, you now have a better understanding of common-law relationships and Canadian immigration. Understandably, the processes involved can get complicated at times, which is why professional assistance will go a long way. When you work with an immigration consultant, they will help you at every stage to ensure a smoother process!
If you’re looking for professional help from a trusted firm, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-404-8472.