Canada may have a tough immigration process, but there are many avenues immigrants may take if they hope to live and work in the country. While there is no ensuring the success of an application, some avenues may work better than others depending on the circumstances. One pathway to life in Canada that you should familiarize yourself with is the Common-Law Sponsorship Process.
Immigration regulations in Canada prioritize the reunification of families and domestic partners above all. However, the sponsorship process for a common-law partner is not without its own challenges. As such, we have created this guide for people hoping to sponsor their common-law partner’s immigration to Canada.
What constitutes a common-law partnership?
To prove common-law status, you and your partner must have cohabitated in an exclusive, conjugal relationship for a minimum of 12 years. You must prove that you and your partner have combined your affairs in the same way a married couple would. During the process, Canadian immigration offices will ask you to provide evidence of this relationship. This might include but is not limited to:
- Property titles that prove shared ownership of certain properties
- Bank statements showing shared accounts and funds
- Lease documents showing both names
- Photographs and other forms of documentation
Any document or evidence you could provide is helpful, as Canadian immigration offices will try to determine whether the common-law relationship is valid or not.
What is a conjugal relationship?
Under Canadian immigration regulations, this term refers to sexual relationships wherein the applicants can neither legally marry nor cohabitate. A good example here is partners engaged in a same-sex relationship in a country wherein same-sex marriage is not permitted. It may also count for partners who cannot reside together for fear of persecution in some way.
What about countries where divorce is not possible?
If your partner is married in their home country (where divorce is not possible), do not lose hope. It is still possible to apply as common-law partners so long as you have met the minimum 12-month requirement. Even if your partner is not divorced, your relationship may still be considered common-law if the circumstances are more complicated.
What might happen if we are accused of some kind of immigration fraud?
The Canadian government is wary of granting sponsorships to people who have engaged in marriages and common-law relationships of convenience. If the relationship is not genuine, the Canadian immigration authorities may refuse your application for a visa and ban you from entering Canada for the next five years.
You might think that, once these five years have passed, you are safe, but you would be wrong. This ban will remain on your permanent record forever and may hamper your future applications. You may also be subject to fines, imprisonment, or even deportation from Canada.
By law, Canada prioritizes and protects the reunification of families and people in meaningful relationships. If you have achieved citizenship, asylum, or permanent residency in the country, you may be able to sponsor the same for your common-law partner. However, it is important to provide as much proof as you can about this relationship so that you can increase your chances of a successful application to Canada.
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