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What is a Conjugal Partner Relationship for the Purposes of Canadian Immigration?

October 10, 2021BY Dale Carroll

Some countries will only allow you to sponsor a married partner or a fiancee for immigration. Canada offers some additional options: the conjugal partner sponsorship and the common-law partner sponsorship. 

Legally, a conjugal partner is a significant other you’ve been involved with for over a year and whom you have been unable to live with due to circumstances beyond your control. 

In Canada you can also sponsor a common-law spouse or a spouse.   

Canada does not have a fiancee visa category of any kind, so you’ll either need to get married during a visit to either one of your nations or find another immigration category to bring your fiancee in under. 

How can I sponsor my conjugal partner to LPR status in Canada?

You can only sponsor your conjugal partner if you’ve truly been kept apart due to circumstances beyond your control. You must be able to show significant barriers to being able to live with one another or marry one another. 

For example, this form of immigration can be an option for a same-sex partner for whom same-sex marriage is illegal in their home country, and for whom immigration laws in both countries have kept both partners from remaining together for long periods of time. We’ve also seen this form of immigration work for partners who have been kept apart by wars. 

The thought is that you might well marry when you are able to do so, once your partner reaches Canada safely. This is not a requirement, but this class of immigration is meant to facilitate such relationships.

You must be above the age of 18 and you must sign an affidavit of support which legally binds you to take care of that partner’s financial needs for the next three years. 

That means you’re going to have to pay for their housing, food, clothes, and health services (which means you’re going to have to pay for private health insurance, as they won’t be eligible for any provincial health insurance plan). You’ll need to provide proof that you are in a financial position to do this, based on your income, assets, and household size.

Once you sign that affidavit and your partner becomes a permanent resident, then you’re bound to it, even if you break up with your conjugal partner. 

If your partner takes advantage of any social assistance programs during this three-year period you are legally bound to repay that amount later as you were supposed to be responsible for their care, not the government. 

What makes you ineligible to sponsor a conjugal partner?

You may not sponsor a conjugal partner if you are in the middle of a bankruptcy, if you are unable to show that you have the means to fulfill your affidavit of support, or if you are found to be engaged in a polyamorous relationship.

In addition, you cannot sponsor a conjugal partner if you have ever been convicted of domestic violence or sexual abuse. 

Finally, you cannot sponsor a conjugal partner if you’ve tried to do this in the past, but have failed to repay the social assistance bill that your previous partner generated. After all, if you didn’t pay the last one Canada has no reason to believe that you’ll pay the next one. 

What is the difference between a spouse, a common-law partner, and a conjugal partner?

A spouse is someone you have legally married, either within Canada’s borders or within another country. 

A common-law partner is someone who has lived with you in a marriage-like “adult interdependent partnership” for at least one year. You’ve been romantically involved and you are monogamous. Your financial and social lives are intertwined. 

You don’t have to file documentation to show that you have common-law status; if you’ve lived together for one year you can claim common law status. This is true both for heterosexual partners and for homosexual partners. 

In both cases you may already share bank accounts and assets, evidence of which can be included with your immigration application to help prove that the marital relationship exists and should be taken into account. 

There are fewer requirements for spousal sponsorship and common-law spousal sponsorship.

How do you prove a conjugal relationship?

It’s certainly not easy, but there are ways to do it. Your application will be scrutinized by the Canadian Supreme Court. You’ll want to provide as much positive evidence as possible.

  • Photos of you and the conjugal partner spending time together.
  • Travel tickets and receipts that show the time you have been able to spend time together.
  • Phone logs and text logs that show the amount of time you’ve spent talking to one another. 
  • Evidence that you and your partner are exclusive and committed to one another.
  • Evidence of your sexual preference.
  • Evidence that supports the reasons why you are not already living together. 

If you are hoping to sponsor a conjugal partner you will need to work very closely with an immigration attorney to ensure that every part of your application is excellent. Remember, immigration officials will be looking for reasons to deny an application of this kind, as it is easily abused. 

How much money do I have to make to sponsor a conjugal partner?

You can use the Financial Evaluation Form (Form IMM 1283) to help determine if your annual income is up to the requirements. A single person who currently has only themselves in their household would need to make a minimum necessary income of $26,426 to be considered.

You must also prove you’ve made enough income over a 12 month period, that is, you cannot have a brand new job that meets the threshold and still sponsor a conjugal partner successfully. Self-employment income may be considered just like employment income. So may rental incomes, investment and interest incomes, pension income, parental benefits, and other income you receive on a regular basis. 

In reality, we recommend having a little more income. It’s hard to support even one person on just $26,426. 

Can conjugal sponsorship work for a fiancee?

It’s usually easier and better to get married first, and then try to bring your spouse over. Conjugal sponsorship is a harder road for immigrant sponsorship than spousal sponsorship is. 

Need help sponsoring a family member?

Family sponsorship is a tricky immigration category. You’ll have your best chances for success if you get everything right the first time.

The attorneys at our law office have decades of experience with Canadian immigration law. We can help you get your family member to Canada under the right program for them and for you. We can help you put your application packet together in a way that will be convincing and successful. If something goes wrong, we can help you with the appeal.

We even have one lawyer who speaks Mandarin, as well as one who speaks Punjabi, so if you’re from China or India we’ll be able to help you in your native language.

Make us a part of your love story! Schedule your first appointment by calling (604) 394-2777 today.

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