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Married, Common-law or Conjugal | Spousal Sponsorship Canada

Family reunification is the second largest category of Canadian immigration, but there are only a few types of family members who are eligible for sponsorship. One of them is your spouse or partner. So what kinds of relationships are eligible for Canadian spousal sponsorship?

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There are three types of relationships that are considered valid for spousal sponsorship in Canada:

  1. Married
  2. Common-law
  3. Conjugal

MARRIED: Married couples (spouses) are legally married. If the marriage took place outside Canada, it must be valid both under local laws and under Canadian law.

COMMON-LAW: A common-law partner is someone you have been living with for at least a year, while in a committed relationship.

CONJUGAL: A conjugal partner is someone you have been in a committed relationship with for at least a year, but are not able to live with.

All three types of relationships apply to either opposite- or same-sex relationships. Engagements are not considered valid for Canadian sponsorship purposes

Like with all categories of Canadian immigration, the final decision on whether or not to accept an application comes down to the visa officer reviewing the file. There is no one document that will definitively prove your relationship is genuine. It is up to you to provide sufficient proof of your relationship.

Marriage and common-law relationships are usually simpler to prove, since you must have a history of living together or be legally married. If you are trying to sponsor your conjugal partner, it can sometimes be more difficult. Usually, you have to demonstrate that there was a significant barrier preventing you from living together, such as immigration barriers, religious reasons, or sexual orientation.

Pictures together, emails or messages sent to each other, joint bank account statements, or joint residential leases can all help your application. The most important thing, though, is to prove that your relationship is genuine.

Letters to each other about how much you love each other are fine, but it’s often the smaller things that are more convincing. Everyday messages about weekend plans or household chores are much more difficult to fake, and are therefore likely to be more valuable to the officer reviewing your file. Showing a ‘logical progression’ of your relationship is also valuable.

At the end of the day, visa officers are just people. They are not ‘out to get you’, but they are tasked with protecting Canada’s immigration system from people who would abuse it. If you are in a genuine, loving relationship with your spouse or partner, providing as much proof as possible is your best bet.



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The Canadim Team!

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