If you would like to reunite with your common-law partner that is either living abroad or visiting you in Canada, then it is best to understand what a common-law sponsorship entails before attempting to submit your application. If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you may be eligible to sponsor your common-law partner to Canada for permanent residency. Much like any other immigration application, there are specific eligibility requirements that must be met by the sponsor as well as the sponsored common-law partner in order to qualify. Therefore, in this article, I will address the most important information you should know about common-law sponsorships in Canada.
What is a Common-Law Partnership
According to Canadian Immigration, a common-law partnership is defined as an exclusive, marriage-like committed relationship between two individuals. Common-law partnerships are not marriages as the partners do not get officially married; however, what qualifies the relationship as marriage-like is that they continuously cohabitate with one another for a minimum of one year. It is important that the cohabitation be continuous as if there is any gaps, the relationship may not qualify as a common-law partnership. If there have been any gaps, the reasoning must be legitimate for Canadian Immigration to still consider the relationship. For instance, if the common-law partner’s visa expired or there was an illness in the family, then Immigration may understand the circumstances and recognize the common-law partnership.
Who Can Sponsor their Common-Law Partner
This is the most important aspect of the common-law sponsorship as you must ensure the sponsor can actually sponsor their common-law partner prior to applying for a common-law sponsorship. It is important to note that Immigration Canada analyzes whether the common-law partner is eligible to sponsor by examining whether the sponsor is financially capable of supporting the sponsored common-law partner for the length of the undertaking. The length of the undertaking for common-law sponsorships is 3 years. The reason why the Canadian government specifically looks for this in common-law sponsorships is to ensure that the sponsored common-law partner will receive any social assistance while residing in Canada. In order to sponsor your common-law partner to Canada, the sponsor must abide by the following eligibility requirements.
The sponsor must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be either a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada or a Registered Indian
- Reside within Canada or intend on residing in Canada should the common-law partner obtain permanent residency
- Provide sufficient evidence that they have not received social assistance from the Canadian government previously (excluding disability)
- Prove that they have enough funds to provide basic necessities for their common-law partner and any dependent children
- Sign an undertaking with the common-law partner
How to Qualify for Common-law Partnership
Before applying for a common-law sponsorship, it is very important to determine whether your common-law partnership qualifies as such in the eyes of Canadian Immigration. It is important that all of the eligibility requirements be met in order to successfully qualify as a common-law partnership. Therefore, in order to qualify for common-law partnership, both partners must:
- Cohabitate together continuously for a minimum of one year
- Only left the other partner for specific reasons for short periods of time
- Prove that both partners have combined affairs together and share a household together
If both partners meet the above eligibility requirements then the relationship qualifies as a common-law partnership. Additionally, in order to prove that the relationship is real and genuine, there are specific supporting documents that Canadian Immigration requests as well.
How to Prove the Genuineness of the Common-Law Partnership
Compared to spousal sponsorships where the couple is officially married, common-law partnerships have a lot more to prove to Canadian Immigration, especially with regards to their relationship and its genuineness. In order to have a successful application, it is essential that the common-law partners provide supporting documentation and information beyond what is normally expected in order for Immigration to adequately recognize the relationship. Therefore, there are several supporting evidence that both common-law partners can provide in order to validate their partnership, such as:
- Proving cohabitation by providing joint lease agreements, joint utility bills, etc.
- Copies of joint assets
- Photos of any travels taken together, including different times and different places
- Correspondence between the couple, including phone and e-mail records, Facebook chats, Whatsapp chats and phone calls, etc.
- Affidavits attesting to the relationship
- Travel tickets and receipts, including airline tickets and travel itineraries
- Receipts or photos of any gifts given to one another, including Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, etc.
- Reference letters from family and friends attesting to the marriage
- A written statement from the partners explaining the progression of the relationship
Of course, it is important to note that these are not the only documents that you should provide. As previously mentioned, it is extremely important for common-law partnerships to adequately prove their relationship, especially because they are not officially married. If you can think of any additional information that you think would support your application, it is highly suggested to present this to Immigration as it can truly help your application. Additionally, if there are any documents that need an explanation, you can also provide an explanation letter for the Immigration officer to better understand the documents.
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!