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Can I Sponsor My Common-Law Partner?

The June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges made headlines around the world. What some people abroad may not realize is that Canada legalized same-sex marriage a full decade before the United States in 2005.

For immigration purposes, this means individuals in same-sex marriages can sponsor a spouse for citizenship or residence in Canada.

In fact, there are three options for sponsoring a partner from overseas. Married couples (whether opposite sex or same-sex) can apply. Immigration law also allows common-law partners as well as conjugal partners to apply.

Sponsoring a Spouse

To sponsor a spouse, your marriage must be legal in your home country, and you must be able to provide proof of a valid marriage. Canada does not recognize proxy marriages, bigamous marriages, or polygamous marriages, even if these marriages are legal in the applicant’s country of origin.

Sponsoring a Common-Law Partner

If you are not married to your partner, you can still apply to sponsor your partner as a common-law partner. To qualify, you must have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months continuously.

Sponsoring a Conjugal Partner

Canada also allows individuals to sponsor a “conjugal partner” in limited cases. This category is available to people who are not married and who have been unable to cohabitate for at least 12 consecutive months. In many cases, the conjugal partner category is used by same-sex couples who live in countries where same-sex relationships are not socially acceptable for a variety of reasons, including religion or cultural norms.

Butkowsky Immigration Law

With more than two decades of experience focused exclusively on immigration and refugee law, Larry Butkowsky has earned the respect of the Toronto legal community and the gratitude of many satisfied clients. He is committed to protecting his clients’ rights and making sure that they achieve their Canadian immigration dreams. Call (416) 979-2127 to discuss your immigration matters.

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