If you were not married in a country or state where same sex marriages are recognized, then your only option is a common law or conjugal partner application as discussed below.
One important point with regard to sex changes — CIC considers only your sex at birth, not your sex after a legal sex-change. As such, if you are married to someone who is now your opposite sex but was your same sex at birth, you will be considered a same sex couple for immigration purposes.
Where should we get married? It does not matter where you get married so long as your marriage is legally recognized in that country and in Canada! In terms of the marriage being recognized in Canada, it is not so much the location, but age and consent of the parties getting married that must comply with Canadian law as well.
How much dating history do we need? There is no formula that CIC uses to determine the answer to this question. The key question that you will see throughout this section is this: If you have met over the Internet, never met in person, travel to see each other and immediately get married, you will have a challenge in convincing the visa officer the marriage is legitimate.
You should have evidence of correspondence and communications print samples of emails and phone records to include with your applicationtravels together even if the travels are local include some sample pictures of yourselves in different locations and at different times. What supporting evidence do we need? You will find a link to the official government supporting documentation list in the forms section of this ebook.
However, I often find those lists to be inadequate for a speedy and trouble-free application. You should consider including the following additional information: Pictures of travels together at different times and different places; Phone and email records samples ; Affidavits attesting to the relationship; Pictures of the wedding; Travel receipts e.
There is no stated limit on the amount of supporting material you can include in your application. You should include documents from the basic list from the government, but also copies of all documents listed above affidavits must be original.
In addition your forms must be completed perfectly with no missing information. Any errors will significantly delay your application, or even result in a denial. You can submit the application with supporting documentation but without the criminal record checks in order to get into the queue for processing. Criminal record checks can sometimes take months to arrive and there is no reason to delay submitting the application if you just waiting for the criminal record checks to arrive.
If you submit your application without the criminal record checks, it is often a good idea to wait for CIC to request them rather than sending them in separately, otherwise there is a risk of them getting lost at the visa processing office. Common Law Sponsorship This section will discuss common law sponsorship — sponsoring a partner that you are not legally married to.
What is a common law relationship? A common law relationship — for immigration purposes — is an exclusive, life-long committed relationship akin to marriage. It is determined based on the facts of each case. At minimum the relationship must be conjugal that is, an intimate marriage-like relationship and you must have lived together cohabited continuously for at least one year before you submit the application.
You can not add-up periods of cohabitation so that it results in a total of one year — it must be continuous for one year. A short separation for business travel, family obligations or equivalent is acceptable and should not cause the application to fail.
An important feature of the common law category is that you need not be living together at the time of the application.
So long as you have had at least one continuous year living together, CIC may still consider you a common law couple if you live apart for good reason.
However, the longer the separation, the harder it will be to convince CIC that the relationship has not ended. A good tactic is to apply for sponsorship as soon as possible after you begin living apart, and include a detailed written explanation on a separate piece of paper why you are no longer living together, but stating that the common law relationship continues.
You should also include samples of continued communication after separation such as emails and phone bills. Same sex relationships Same sex common law relationships are treated the same way as opposite sex common law relationships. A same sex couple must show that their relationship is exclusive and a life-long commitment, conjugal and at least a one year cohabitation period, as above.
Previous marriages If the sponsored common law spouse is currently married, a common law sponsorship application is still possible. It must be clear that the marriage has broken down and that they have lived separate and apart for long enough that the common law relationship can be established one year minimum.
Cohabitation with the common law spouse will only be counted after the married spouse has physically separated from his or her partner. There can be no common law relationship if a marital relationship continues.
How can you show separation from a married spouse? These are some suggestions that CIC will consider: Affidavit from both parties that the relationship is over and separation occurred as of a specific date; Separation agreement; Court order with respect to separation or provision for children; Documents removing the married spouse from insurance or wills. If your common law spouse has divorced, a copy of the divorce decree with custody arrangements if applicable must be included in the application.
Supporting evidence is particularly important in a common law sponsorship application. Links to the documents required by CIC are found in the application forms links in this ebook.
In addition to those supporting documents, you must have clear evidence of continuous cohabitation examples of evidence given above for one year. The CIC visa officer is looking for a relationship that is identical to a legal marriage.
He or she will examine a number of factors. Here are the specific indicators that CIC will look for in a common law relationship: Certainly, not all of the above are required for a successful application. However, the more of the above bullets you can show, the better chance your application has of succeeding. The list above is not an exhaustive one — if you have other evidence of cohabitation and a shared exclusive life together, be sure to include it in the application.
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A very important piece of evidence that is acceptable to CIC as evidence but not found in any government checklists is the affidavit, discussed below. Using affidavits Many people do not realize that a sworn affidavit is considered evidence in an immigration application. I believe that using affidavits in a common law sponsorship application is a critical component of success.
Because each case is assessed on its facts and affidavits are powerful evidence of a common law relationship. Affidavits can be completed by family and friends attesting to certain facts, for example: That they know the couple and have known them for a specified period of time; That they have personal knowledge that the couple has continuously cohabited for a period of time at least one year ; That they believe the couple is in a conjugal, exclusive and life-long committed relationship.
Keys to a successful common-law application The key to a successful common law sponsorship application is providing supporting evidence above and beyond that which is asked for in the government document checklists which you must provide.
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First, focus on the one year continuous cohabitation requirement. Provide copies of joint lease agreements, joint utility bills — anything with both of your names at the same address over time.
You can supplement these with affidavits from friends and family attesting to your cohabitation. Next, focus on the exclusive and committed relationship requirement. Provide pictures of travels, copies of joint assets, a written statement, copies of emails and travels — anything you can to show that you are committed couple and not just roommates.
Again use affidavits to support your application from friends and family. Remember — an application can be filed without criminal record checks if necessary. You can get in the queue and add criminal record checks later once they arrive, as opposed to waiting to file until they arrive.
Conjugal Sponsorship This section will cover a conjugal sponsorship. You should be aware that this is the most difficult application to make but certainly not impossible.
What is a conjugal relationship? A conjugal relationship requires a significant degree of attachment, interdependent and permanent.
The courts have expressed that these list of factors are important in assessing a conjugal relationship: CIC also looks for an element of all of these factors when assessing a conjugal application: Supporting evidence for a conjugal application is critical; without strong evidence the application will fail. The table below describes the sorts of evidence CIC is looking for.
If you have very little of the evidence in the table, you know your chances of success are not great: As you are making your own application, it is up to you to be creative in terms of supporting evidence that address the factors discussed.
There are no stated limits on the amount of material you can send — so be sure to be thorough in the evidence you send. Previous marriages and relationships As with common law spouses, if the sponsored conjugal spouse is currently married, a conjugal sponsorship application is still possible.
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It must be clear that the marriage has broken down and that they have lived separate and apart for long enough that a conjugal relationship can be established one year minimum. There can be no conjugal law relationship if a marital relationship continues. Also, many of the same rules of marriage apply — you can not have a conjugal relationship with more than one person at the same time which is seen as polygamous. If your conjugal law spouse has divorced, a copy of the divorce decree with custody arrangements if applicable must be included in the application.
If you have friends and family willing to attest to your relationship and complete an affidavit. Note that an affidavit must be completed by a notary or a lawyer depending on the country in which it is completed. Complicating Factors This section will deal with a number of complicating factors that should be addressed in any sponsorship application of a partner. If these factors are not addressed, there is a risk the application will fail, even if the couple has shown all the appropriate elements of a relationship above.
Children Children can complicate an application as CIC will likely require further documentation beyond what is requested on the government checklists or discussed above. Even if he or she turns 22 after the application is filed, he or she will still be considered a child for the application and included. However, a child can not have a spouse or common law spouse, either before or after he or she turns 22 years of age. If he or she enters into a common law or married relationship, he or she will no longer be a child for purposes of immigration and will not be able to immigrate with you.
If one partner is a Canadian and has a child, that child is Canadian by birth. That child does form part of the sponsorship application. If you are a Canadian with a child born to you and have lived overseas, ensure you apply for a citizenship card and passport for your child to ease entry back into Canada. Click here for the citizenship certificate application information.
If your partner has a child, that child must be sponsored as well and included in the sponsorship application. If your partner has a child it stands to reason that child has a biological parent that is not part of the sponsorship application. CIC is very cautious to allow children to immigrate without full knowledge and consent of the other biological parent. If your partner has a child, you will need — at minimum — the following: Copy of court order regarding custody arrangements; Notarized release from the other biological parent authorizing the child to immigrate.
If your partner has a poor or non-existent relationship with the biological parent of the child, it may be difficult to get a notarized release from that person. CIC is very reluctant to allow a child to immigrate without a release, even if your partner has full custody of the child. If you are in such a situation, I would advise seeking legal advice and representation, otherwise your chances of a successful application are slim indeed.
There are also exceptions for children substantially dependent for financial support on their parents and enrolled full-time at a secondary institution since before age 22 and after age 22 at the time of application and at the time a visa is issued.
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Children with a mental or physical condition that makes them unable to financially support themselves and substantially dependent on their parents when the application is received and when the visa is issued can qualify. The child must have had the condition since before the age of 22 but the application can be filed after age Our Members Say Yes!
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