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Common-Law Partners and Immigration

same-sex partnersCitizenship and Immigration Canada allows Permanent Residents and citizens within the country to sponsor their spouses to become Permanent Residents.

This family is generally called family based immigration and includes children as well.

A question commonly asked is whether or not common-law partners or same-sex couples can immigrate in this category as well.

Canada generally accepts these categories of relations for immigration provided they are able to meet some requirements set out by the CIC.

Common-Law Partners

Canada considers a relationship to be a common-law relationship if two people, regardless of their genders or sexes, have lived for 12 months in a marriage-like relationship.

This requirement has to be fulfilled over a whole year with each month consecutive. Living together sporadically over the period of several years with a grand total of 12 month worth of living together does not count.

Common-law relationships are only valid if the two people do not take any long periods of time away for work or family and there must be some sort of shared quality about their lives. Shared finances or the joint care of a child could go a long way to supporting the relationship in immigration proceedings.

Common-law relationships do not end in divorce even though they may dissolve. There is no reason to list any non-current common-law relationships in immigration paperwork.

Proving the relationship will be an important step in the immigration process and involves including supporting documentation. Below are some examples of supporting documentation:

  • A Statutory Declaration of a common-law union (a type of legal document)
  • Shared utility bills
  • Shared bank accounts or credit card accounts
  • A mortgage belonging to both partners
  • Mail addressed to both partners to a single address
  • Identification documents showing the two partners have the same address
  • Or any other document. Many more items can be used to show a common-law union.

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