As per the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, common-law pertains to two partners – of the same or the opposite sex – living together for a period of one year or more and having a conjugal relationship with one another. As per the Canadian Immigration laws, one common-law partner can sponsor the immigration of another partner. The said couple can have smaller periods of separation for being considered eligible under this rule but the periods of separation cannot be for extended periods. As per the Immigration system, the applicants need to prove –

  1. That they have been living together for more than a year.
  2. If there has been separation then it could be short-term like travelling for business or work or due to family issues etc., the proof of the same. This is required so that it can be proved that the couple has not been separated for too long or have not broken off the relationship mutually or otherwise.

The Process of common-law sponsorship

  • A partner can apply under the Spouse or Common-law partner in Canada class or the Family Class for sponsoring of your live-in common-law partner who has been living with you in the country on a temporary resident status or for sponsoring your common-law partner and kids who are staying overseas. In this case, as per the Canadian laws, your live-in partner can apply for an Open Work permit.
  • You are required to provide an Undertaking that guarantees that you are responsible for taking care of the financial aspects of your partner as well as kids born of the relationship. You are basically responsible for their basic needs – food, clothing and shelter as well as health services like eye and dental care that is not covered under the public health system.
  • The signing of the undertaking is done mainly to ensure that your common-law partner or the kids born out of this relationship will not approach the Federal or provincial governments for financial assistance and is applicable even if the person becomes a Canadian citizen, is separated from you in the future, you are in a financial distress or you move to another country.
  • The undertaking that needs to be signed is a bit different in Quebec – for the rest of the country it remains the same.
  • The undertaking is for a period of three years from the day your common-law partner becomes a permanent resident of the country.
  • You can become a common-law sponsor if –
  1. You are minimum 18 years old
  2. A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada
  3. You are living in Canada or have a legal immigration status.
  • You need to provide supporting documents to prove that you have the financial capacity to support yourself, your common-law partner and dependent children.
  • You need to submit documents to prove that both of you have been living together or co-inhabiting or having a legally marriage kind of a relationship for the past 1 year or more with the application. Monthly joint bills for a year that have both the partner’s name and address of residence is one example of such a proof.
  • If your common-law partner already has a work permit or a study permit, they can continue to do so till the permit is valid.
  • The person whom you are sponsoring needs to pass the requisite and mandatory background check, security and medical checks.

Who are not eligible for sponsoring a common-law partner?

You cannot sponsor if –

  • You have defaulted on an immigration loan
  • You have defaulted with the payment of alimony or child support previously.
  • You have defaulted in paying back the social assistance for a previous sponsorship.
  • You have declared bankruptcy
  • You are a convicted criminal pertaining to a violent crime, a sexual crime, have caused physical harm to a relative or have threatened or attempted to do any of these offences in the past.
  • You were yourself sponsored under the common-law partner class and your permanent residency is less than five years old.
  • You are jailed or imprisoned.
  • Your application to sponsor a common-law partner is pending with the authorities for a decision.

In case you are living outside Canada at the moment, you can still apply for sponsoring a common-law partner to Canada provided that you are able to convince the immigration authorities that you intend to move back to Canada when the sponsored person receives his/her permanent residency.

There are plenty of clauses associated with the common-law sponsorship to Canada. There are detailed paperwork required and most importantly the applicants need to be sure of the papers or supporting documents that are required to be submitted along with the application form so that it is not rejected by the Immigration authorities. The best way is to seek help from immigration experts for Canada.

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