Canada Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Program

The Common-law partner sponsorship program serves to unite family members in Canada. The Common-law sponsorship program allows a citizen or permanent resident of Canada to sponsor his or her common-law partner.

A common-law partnership means that a couple have lived together for at least one year in a conjugal (marriage-like) relationship. A common-law relationship exists from the day on which two individuals can provide evidence to support their cohabitation. This sponsorship application requires ample supporting documentation to establish relationship. It is critical to hire and expert to present your case. 

Common-Law Sponsorship Requirements

Who can be a sponsor?

  • Not legally married.
  • Of opposite sex or same-sex.
  • At least 18 years of age.
  • Residing together for at least a one year period.
  • Partners have had limited time apart during cohabitation.

Spouse Visa Canada

If the common-law sponsorship application is successful, Immigration Canada will approve a change in the partner’s immigration status to permanent resident of Canada. If the partner resides abroad at the time the application is submitted, Canadian immigration authorities will issue a Canada Spouse Visa (Confirmation of Permanent Residence) to the partner, and he or she will become a permanent resident of Canada only upon entering the country.

Inside Canada (In-Country) Sponsorship Application

In-land Common-law partner sponsorship refers to a sponsorship application submitted while the couple is residing together in Canada. The partner from another country would have already entered Canada using a visa or visa exemption. This sponsorship option can also be pursued if the status of the principal applicant has lapsed.

Outside Country Sponsorship Application

The primary and most frequently used method for spousal sponsorship is applying from abroad. In this process, the sponsor remains in Canada while the applicant awaits approval and the issuance of the visa in their home country before being allowed to join their sponsor in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Supporting Documents can be used to establish a Common-law partnership?

A Common-Law relation is not like a marriage where you can obtain a Marriage Certificate to prove relationship. The partners must demonstrate third-party documentation of cohabitation to prove existence. Documents can include the following: 

• Residential lease or ownership of property naming both individuals.
• Statements of shared bank accounts or credit/debit cards.
• Shared household bills (Cell phone, Internet, Utility bills, Car Insurance …)
• Other documents may show the shared address such as a driver’s license or Insurance documents.

Are There Prohibited Relationships

A common-law or conjugal partner relationship cannot be established with more than one person at the same time. The term conjugal implies exclusivity and a high degree of commitment. It cannot exist between more than two people simultaneously. Polygamous-like relationships cannot be considered conjugal and do not qualify as common-law or conjugal partner relationships.
Because they are defined as conjugal relationships, common-law relationships have most of the same legal restrictions as marriages. The following persons are not recognized as common-law partners:
• persons in an incestuous relationship.
• one or both partners under the minimum age of consent.
• one of the partners detained or incarcerated for what would be offences in Canada under the Criminal Code.
The same minimum age applies to spouses and common-law partners – age 18. Partners may begin to live together before age 18, but their relationship is not legally recognized as common-law until both partners have been cohabiting for one year since both were at least 18 years of age.

What is the Minimum Income to Sponsor a Common-law partner in Canada?

There is no minimum income requirement for a sponsorship. In contrast to other immigration programs, a common-law sponsorship does not have a minimum income requirement unless the person you are sponsoring has a dependent child. However, under regular circumstances, the sponsor is required to submit supporting documents to establish that he or she is employed and has submitted income taxes.

What are Common Grounds for Refusal of a Common-law Partner Sponsorship Application?

Some common reasons for return of application as incomplete or wholesale refusal are:
• Failure to provide sufficient proof of cohabitation.
• Failure to provide updated forms or fees.
• Errors in information submitted.
• Failure to provide supporting documentation and/or evidence.
• Failure to provide sufficient evidence of the genuineness of their relationship.

Hire an Expert Spousal Sponsorship Lawyer

Let an expert Spousal Sponsorship Lawyer guide you and prepare your common-law partner application:

  • Guide you and your spouse through the immigration process from start to finish.
  • Customize your application based on your circumstances.
  • Review all documentation and supporting evidence.
  • Draft forms, letters and supporting documents.
  • Provide expert legal submissions.
  • Communicate with immigration authorities.
  • Update you on the progress of your application.