How to Qualify as a Common-Law Partner

How-to-Qualify-as-a-Common-Law-PartnerQualify as a Common-Law Partner to Canada

Common-law partnerships are unique as the couple is not married; however, they do cohabitate in a marriage-like commitment. Recognizing these types of partnerships are essential in Canadian Immigration and properly assessing them can be quite challenging since they are not in actual marriage. As a result, common-law couples must provide sufficient supporting documentation and information in order to prove the genuineness of their relationship to Canadian Immigration when applying for common-law sponsorship. Therefore, in this article, I will explain how to qualify as a common-law partner in the eyes of Canadian Immigration and other important information pertaining to common-law sponsorships.

What is a Common-Law Partnership

Family reunification is a high priority for Canadian Immigration and thus they diligently recognize and assess common-law sponsorships. The Canadian government truly believes that being with your significant other as well as any other immediate family members is essential and is a fundamental aspect of people’s lives. As a result, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada have the ability to sponsor their common-law partners to Canada for permanent residency. However, before they can sponsor their common-law partner, they must first ensure that they qualify as a common-law partnership or union. Therefore, in order to be a common-law partnership, you must be together and cohabitate in a marriage-like commitment; have combined affairs between the partners; must be dependent of each other; and, most importantly, must have cohabited together for at least one year.

A requirement of common-law unions is that the couple must reside together for a minimum of two years once the sponsored common-law partner receives their permanent residency in Canada. This has been implemented since October 25, 2012. Keep in mind, this requirement only applies to you if you and your common-law partner have a relationship of less than two years and have no children together.

Eligibility Requirements to Sponsor your Common-Law Partner

Before applying for a common-law sponsorship in Canada, it is very important for the Canadian sponsor to find out whether they are eligible to sponsor their common-law partner. Therefore, the first step in sponsoring your common-law partner to Canada is to determine your eligibility.

In order to sponsor your common-law partner to Canada:

  • The sponsor has to be at least 18 years old
  • The sponsor has to be either a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Registered Indian
  • The sponsor has to either reside in Canada permanently or demonstrate the intention of residing in Canada, should their common-law partner successfully obtain permanent residency in Canada
  • The sponsor must have the financially ability of provide basic necessities for their common-law partner
  • The sponsor must not be inadmissible to Canada
  • The sponsor and the sponsored common-law partner must sign an undertaking agreement which outlines the sponsor’s commitment to be responsible for and support the sponsored common-law partner with basic needs for their duration in Canada

It is very important to recognize that once the undertaking is signed by the sponsor and the sponsored common-law partner, the sponsor will be responsible for supporting the common-law partner financially, emotionally, and in many other ways for at least three years. Specifically, the length of the undertaking is three years. Therefore, the responsibility that the sponsor has is very significant and the sponsor is required to fully understand what they are signing and committing to before ultimately signing the undertaking.

The sponsor must provide the sponsored common-law partner with basic necessities including:

  • Health Care
  • Dental Care
  • Eye Care
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Any other necessities they might need (not provided to them by the public health system)

Essentially, any necessities that they may need that are not provided to them by the public health system, which would be all health care necessities, would have to be paid and supported by the sponsor. Furthermore, the sponsored common-law partner must not rely on the Canadian government for any social assistance. Should they receive any social assistance, the sponsor would have to diligently pay the government of Canada back any debts incurred by the sponsored common-law partner. Ultimately, the sponsor should comprehend and commit to the undertaking agreement in order for the common-law sponsorship to be successful.

How to Qualify as a Common-Law Partnership

Canadian Immigration has a specific definition for common-law unions and common-law partners. As per the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website, the definition of a common-law partner is “a person who has been living with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.” Therefore, it is very important to make sure you and your common-law partner qualify as common-law partners in terms of Canadian Immigration before submitting a common-law sponsorship application. Therefore, the qualifications for a common-law partnership include:

  • The common-law partners must be cohabitating together for at least one year
  • The common-law partners must not have left one another for more than a short period (for business trips or family trips)
  • The common-law partners must demonstrate combined affairs
  • The common-law partners must share a household together

Contact Akrami & Associates

It is essential that you have taken all the aforementioned information into consideration, especially if you are in a common-law relationship and would like to apply for common-law sponsorship. If you would like to apply for a common-law sponsorship, it is extremely important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help prior to submitting the common-law sponsorship application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration matters. We have helped many of our clients reunite permanently in Canada with their common-law partners. If you believe that you may be eligible to apply for a common-law sponsorship, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.

At Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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