Do you and your significant other dream of living together in Canada someday soon? Are you worried this is not possible because you are not legally married, and do not meet the requirements of a common law relationship either? There is good news! It is not impossible for you two to achieve your dreams! You may be able to sponsor your conjugal partner! In this article, I will explain what it means to be legally considered a conjugal partnership, and how conjugal partners can go about applying for spousal sponsorship, despite not being eligible as a legally married couple or being legally recognized as a common law partnership.
What is a Conjugal Partnership?
It is very important to understand how the Canadian government defines a conjugal relationship, so that you and your significant other do not assume you are engaged in a conjugal relationship, yet fail to prove to a Canadian immigration officer that you meet all the elements of the Canadian government’s definition. As per the Canadian immigration services website, a conjugal relationship is one with some degree of permanence, in which both partners rely on each other for financial, emotional, social and physical support. The individuals must share a home and the responsibilities which go with sharing a home, indicating that they have made a serious commitment to one another. It is important to understand that the relationship does not qualify as a common-law partnership or a legal marriage because achieving the status of either of these is not possible. Despite this though, the couple must have made the attempt to live together or become married as it was possible. If these circumstances apply to you, you may be eligible to sponsor your conjugal partner.
Proving of a Conjugal Relationship
Although the Canadian government recognizes it is not always possible to meet the requirements of a common law partnership or a legal marriage, this does not mean it is easy to claim status as conjugal partners. As mentioned, the Canadian government expects there to be a very high degree of commitment between the two individuals. Therefore, you are expected to prove you meet the requirements of a conjugal relationship to a Canadian immigration officer. The requirements to be able to sponsor your conjugal partner are as follows:
- Both individuals are over 18 years of age for the entire 1 year period which the conjugal relationship is considered to exist,
- You have been in a binding, monogamous relationship for at least 1 year, for which you can demonstrate a high level of commitment,
- You share economic responsibilities such as property ownership or bank accounts,
- You have each other named as beneficiaries on insurance policies,
- You have combined any affairs to the greatest extent possible in your circumstances.
Requirements to be Eligible to Sponsor Your Conjugal Partner
The most important thing about being eligible for conjugal sponsorship, it is essential you and your partner absolutely cannot get married or become common law partners. Usually, this occurs because the laws in your country of origin prevent you from getting a divorce from a previous marriage or does not allow same-sex marriages, and you cannot come to Canada to live with your partner for the one year minimum. Importantly though, if there is a reason you and your partner are choosing not to get married, and it is not impossible to do so, it is still possible to apply for conjugal sponsorship. The Canadian government does not intend to force people to marry who are choosing not to get married for a good reason. Therefore, if marriage is possible it is important to thoroughly explain why you and your partner are choosing not to get married so that this does not disqualify your sponsorship application. The Canadian government does not make it an absolute requirement that conjugal partners cannot get married, to be eligible to sponsor as conjugal partners. Though, as mentioned, if you can get married, an immigration officer may deny your application because it may appear your efforts are not genuine, if you do not explain why you are choosing not to get married.
What Are My Responsibilities as a Sponsor?
As a sponsor, you are agreeing to be financially responsible for your partner to ensure they have the basic necessities of living. By basic necessities the Canadian government means you are obligated to provide food, shelter, clothing and anything else an individual requires in everyday life. Also, you are required to ensure the individual has dental care, eye care and other health needs that are not covered by public health services. By agreeing to be financially responsible for your partner, you have agreed that your partner will not need to ask the government for financial help. If your partner receives social assistance from the government, you are obligated to pay back the amount they received. As a sponsor, you are financially responsible for your partner for 3 years, regardless of whether your relationship status changes or the individual becomes a Canadian citizen, or moves to another province or country.
Am You Eligible to Sponsor Your Conjugal Partner?
To be eligible to sponsor your partner’s journey to Canada, you must be either a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen, and be at least 18 years old. If you are a permanent resident, you must be living in Canada to apply for spousal sponsorship. Also, you cannot be detained in a jail or prison, and cannot have any overdue family support payments or previous immigration debt. In addition, you cannot be receiving any social assistance other than disability assistance. Unfortunately, outstanding debts or receiving social assistance make it seem as though you will not be able to be financially responsible for the individual you wish to sponsor.
What if I am Ineligible to Sponsor?
If you are ineligible to sponsor, your significant other can still apply for permanent residency.
Submitting Your Application to Sponsor Your Conjugal Partner
When you are submitting your application, it is crucial you ensure all documents are completed accurately and thoroughly, to avoid experiencing any delays in the processing of your application. You should expect to pay a $75 fee to cover the processing of your application to sponsor your conjugal partner. Additionally, you should expect to pay a $475 fee to cover the processing of the principal applicant application for permanent residency. Altogether, the total fee is $550 for the processing of the conjugal sponsorship application. Though it seems there are two separate applications for spousal sponsorship, it is important to understand there are two aspects of one single application. First, Canadian immigration services will process the application to sponsor covered by the $75 non-refundable fee. Then, if this application is approved the application for permanent residency will be processed, and the entire $550 will not be refunded. If you indicate in your application that you would like the application not to be processed in the space provided for this option if the sponsor is deemed ineligible to sponsor, the $475 fee will be returned and the application for permanent residency will not be processed.
Contact Akrami and Associates
There is a lot to understand when submitting an application to sponsor a conjugal partner, and we recognize this can be a very confusing process. Though, it is important to ensure you completely understand your specific situation, to avoid delays in processing times, and having your application refused altogether. Talking to immigration professionals about any questions or concerns can help ease the stress of applying for conjugal sponsorship, by helping you understand if this route is right for you, and how to go about forming an application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients reunite with their significant others in Canada permanently through conjugal sponsorship and they are now enjoying their lives together. If you believe that you may be eligible to apply for a conjugal 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.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!