Sponsoring a partner in their application for permanent residence under the common law stream is not as simple as claiming you have lived together for a year. This simple declaration does not necessarily make you a common law couple. There is much more to be proved to Canadian Immigration Officers about being a common law couple, before you can sponsor your partner as a common law partner. In fact, proving your relationship is genuine, is the most important and demanding aspect of your application. Therefore, in this article we will break down the most important documents to include in your application to sponsor your common law partner if you wish to build a strong and complete application.
What Are the Very First Things I Should Do?
First and foremost, make sure you’re eligible for common-law sponsorship. You can assess your eligibility simply by understanding the requirements, but also, you will have to submit many documents which build together an application, which shows you’re not only eligible for common-law sponsorship, but that you are also a good candidate in a genuine relationship.
1. Ensure you or your partner is an eligible sponsor.
The sponsor must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Registered Indian
- Live in Canada or intend on residing in Canada should the common-law partner obtain permanent residency
- Provide sufficient evidence that you have not received social assistance from the Canadian government previously (excluding disability; individuals on disability can still sponsor their partner)
- Prove that they have enough funds to provide basic necessities for their common-law partner and any dependent children
- Be prepared to sign an undertaking with the common law partner
2. Ensure the principal applicant is eligible to immigrate to Canada
The applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Not have any admissibility issues which would prevent them from entering Canada
What Do I Do Once I am ready to Prove we are Eligible for Common-Law Sponsorship?
Once you have gathered the necessary documents to fulfill the eligibility requirements of being a principal applicant, and being a sponsor, you are ready to begin compiling the remainder of your application. It is important to understand, through the common-law sponsorship process once the application is submitted; it is first pre-screened to ensure the sponsor is eligible to be a sponsor. You may not be eligible to sponsor your common-law partner if you did not meet the terms of a sponsorship agreement in the past, did not pay alimony or child support when it was court ordered, or, you continuously get government financial help for reasons other than being disabled. This first step is very important and cannot be overlooked. Next, you can start focusing on proving you are a genuine, legal, common-law partnership.
Legally, a common-law couple is a couple in a relationship which is essentially the same as a marriage, without being officially married. The couple should live together in a conjugal relationship for at least 1 year before they will be considered common law. The couple can be either same-sex or not, Canada recognizes all types of relationships. Further, you will need to prove that you and your common law partner have combined your affairs and set up a household together. This is the aspect which makes the common-law relationship legal, and essentially recognized like an official marriage, because the couple is acting exactly as a married couple. To prove you are a genuine common-law couple deserving of legal recognition, you should consider including the following documents, when applicable.
- joint bank accounts or credit cards,
- joint ownership of a home,
- joint residential leases,
- joint rental receipts,
- joint registration or payment of utilities (electricity, gas, telephone),
- joint management of household expenses,
- joint purchases, especially of household items,
- Mail addressed to either person or both people at the same address.
- Driver’s licenses/ other official identity documents which list the same home address.
- Gift receipts from gifts to each other – shows genuineness
- Exchanged loved letters and other correspondence between the couple, including phone and e-mail records, Facebook chats, Whatsapp chats and phone calls, etc.
- Photos of time spent together including travels, experiences, and celebrating special occasions.
- Reference letters from family and friends attesting to the marriage
- A well written statement from the partners explaining the progression of the relationship
- ANYTHING additional that helps to show you are in a genuine relationship.
It is important that these documents do not simply show the couple lives together, they must be at least 1 year old for the most part to successfully demonstrate the couple has cohabitated for at least 1 year.
It is important to recognize that once the sponsorship is successful, an undertaking was signed by the sponsor, agreeing to be responsible for supporting the common-law partner financially, emotionally, and in many other ways for at least three years, as this is the length of an undertaking. It does not matter whether the applicant and sponsor’s relationship status change, or the financial situation of the couple changes, the responsibility remains. As the undertaking is a key component of the sponsors eligibility to sponsor their partner, it is important to prove the sponsor is financially stable enough to support their partner during their time in Canada.
The sponsor must provide the sponsored common-law partner with basic necessities including:
- Health Care
- Dental Care
- Eye Care
- Any other necessities needed which are not provided to them by the public health system.
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 pay the government of Canada back any debts incurred by the sponsored common-law partner.
Contact Akrami & Associates
It is essential that you have met all of the aforementioned requirements before you attempt to apply for a common-law sponsorship. This is especially the case if you do not know whether the sponsor is eligible to sponsor the common-law partner or if you are unsure of how to prove your partnership. Common-law Sponsorship applications are difficult applications to pursue on your own and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients obtain permanent residency in Canada through the common-law sponsorship. If you believe that you may be eligible to sponsor your common-law partner, 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.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!