The Canadian family class allows for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada to sponsor their loved ones and bring them to live with them in Canada permanently. The Canadian Family class has been well received by many Canadians and their loved ones.
There are several categories under the Canadian family class and they are:
- Spousal Sponsorship
- Common-law sponsorship
- Conjugal sponsorship
- Parental Sponsorship
- Dependent Child
- Or other
If the person you are wishing to sponsor is your common-law partner it is important to know about common-law sponsorship and how to bring your common-law partner successfully to Canada under permanent residency. Common-law sponsorship will be discussed further below.
What is Common law sponsorship?
Common law sponsorship is when you lived with your common law partner as a conjugal like relationship (defined below). You must have lived with them for longer than a year without any long periods of separation. Also you must be unmarried (if married, apply for spousal sponsorship instead). Unlike most immigrating routes, the common-law sponsorship falls under provincial jurisdiction. Each province has its own guidelines.
Also your common-law partner can be of the same sex as you and the guidelines are the same as it would be if your common law partner was of the opposite sex.
Conjugal relationship– A relationship in which there is a significant amount of commitment between the two partners is known as a conjugal relationship.
What are the Requirements for Common Law Sponsorship?
However there are certain requirements that you and your partner need to comply with to qualify for common-law sponsorship. These requirements include:
- Being at least the age of majority in Canada which is 1A years old
- Being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- That your relationship with the person you are sponsoring qualifies as a common law relationship
- You are currently residing in Canada and will continue to do so once your common-law partner comes into Canada (or you could sponsor outside of Canada and show you will be living in Canada once your common law partner comes into Canada)
- Having resided with each other for 1 year without long periods of separation and the periods of separation must be short and justified (depends on the province)
- Being able to financially support your common-law partner
- Sign an undertaking to provide your common law partner and any dependents (if applicable) with the basic necessities of life
- Your common law partner is admissible
- Your common law has a positive medical examination
- Demonstrating cohabitation:
- Showing progression of time with documents. i.e. joint bills, etc.
- Same billing address to show that you and your common law partner reside together
Cohabitation-For unmarried couples living together for a long period of time without lengthy periods of separation from one another
Even if you met the above requirements to become a sponsor, you could still be denied because of restrictions. These restrictions include:
- If you signed an undertaking and three years have not elapsed since he/she became a permanent resident
- If you were sponsored under the family class and five years have not passed since you became a permanent resident
- Gaining government assistance without being disabled
- Not paying alimony or child support even though the court required
- Not meeting the conditions of a spousal sponsorship or any other type of sponsorship in the past
- Not paying an immigration loan (making late payments or missed payments)
- Under a removal order
- Having been convicted of a serious violent crime such as a(n):
- Offence of sexual nature
- Offence against a relative that resulted in bodily harm or an attempt or threat to do so against them
- The factor of whether or not a record suspension (pardon) was granted for the crime committed will be took into consideration.
If you comply with all the restrictions and requirements of the common-law sponsorship, then you are eligible to apply. When applying keep in mind to not forget any important documentation and to demonstrate on your application and to the officer that your relationship to your common-law partner is like a spousal relationship but without a marriage certificate. Show that you have been cohabitating in a conjugal like relationship.
It is important to keep in mind that the common law application is more extensive than spousal sponsorship. In common-law, you will need to prove cohabitation and prove the genuineness of the relationship even more.
It is recommended to file your common-law sponsorship application as soon as you or your sponsor is eligible. This is in part due to the very long processing times of the sponsorship application.
Where can I get the application and what do I need to submit?
There is certain documentation and proofs that both you and your common law partner will need to submit along with your application. For example as the sponsor, you must submit an agreement known as the undertaking (Form IMM 1344), sponsorship evaluation (Form IMM 5481) or financial evaluation (Form IMM 1283) and your common law partner will need to submit generic application form to Canada (Form IMM 0008) additional dependents/declaration (Form IMM 0008DEP), etc. The full list of documents can be found on the document checklist (Form IMM 5491) which can be found on the CIC website (cic.gc.ca). You will need to submit all documentation and proofs required or else your application can be deemed incomplete with it being sent back to you and thus as a result increase the processing times.
Once your common-law partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada, you must cohabitate in a conjugal-like relationship for two years. The undertaking agreement you signed before your common law partner arrived in Canada will remain until three years and will start on the date they arrive in Canada. Once five years are over, you can sponsor another member of the family class.
Conditional Permanent Residence
Conditional permanent residence established in the March of 2012 and was established to prevent people pretending to be in a spousal, common-law, or conjugal relationship once they come into Canada (marriages of convenience). When your common-law partner arrives in Canada, you must cohabit in a conjugal-like relationship for two years. If conditional permanent residence is broken, your common-law partner will be forced to return to their home country.
Will I and my common law partner have to go through Conditional Permanent Residence?
Conditional permanent residence will not always be required. The cases in which you will not require conditional permanent residence are:
- If you and your common law partner have cohabitated in a conjugal like relationship for at least two years as well as cohabitated in common-law relationship for at least two years
- If you and your common-law partner have children
If the above does not apply to you, you will be required to complete conditional permanent resident. However there are exceptions to conditional permanent residence. These exceptions are:
- Death of the sponsor
- Cases of abuse or neglect
During the conditional permanent residence period, your rights will be no different than if you had normal permanent residence. Your common-law partner will be allowed to work, study, access to health coverage, etc.
Can my common-law partner bring his/her dependents?
The answer to this is yes, your common-law partner will be allowed to bring their dependents with them to Canada. There are eligibility requirements for the dependent. The dependent must be:
- Under 19 years old (changed from 22 in 2014) (known as type 1 dependents) OR
- Are over 19 years of age but are not able to financially support themselves because of either a physical or medical condition and are dependent on either you or your common-law partner (known as a type 2 dependent)
- In both of the above cases, the dependent must be unmarried
The length of undertaking for a dependent under the age of 19 is 10 years after they receive permanent residency in Canada or become 22 years of age (whichever comes first).
How we can help at Akrami and Associates?
Our immigration experts at Akrami and Associates have dealt with and solved over hundreds of cases pertaining to common-law sponsorship and other categories under the Canadian Family Class. We can advise you which route to take, answer questions, guide you step by step throughout the process, work with you and your common law partner in gathering the required and supporting documentation to present the strongest possible application so that you your common law partner is approved. Feel free to give us a call today at 416-477-2545 or toll free at 1-877-820-7121. We are here to help.
If you are looking to file the application on your own, purchase our very affordable and understandable immigration kits (including common-law sponsorship) and they will guide you throughout the process. If you would like a consultation and a final review on your application by one of our legal representatives, you can purchase our elite bundle which comes with the kit and these perks at an affordable extra cost.
With Akrami and Associates, there is always a way!