What is conjugal partner sponsorship?

Canadian conjugal partner sponsorship is the process of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident sponsoring their partner to live in Canada permanently.

A conjugal partner relationship is where two people are in a marriage-like relationship but are not married and have not lived together for a period of at least one year due to extenuating circumstances. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices considers the conjugal partner category to be an exception category for situations where the Canadian and their foreign partner are simply unable to marry or to live together for a year and therefore qualify for family sponsorship as spouses or common-law partners.

When your union doesn’t fit the description of a common law partnership because of situations that are beyond your control, it may be regarded as a conjugal partnership.

IMPORTANT: You will not be considered for conjugal partner sponsorship if you and your partner could have qualified as a common-law union but you willingly chose not to.

Let us help you sponsor your conjugal partner to Canada. Here are 3 important things you must know to begin the sponsorship process.

1 Requirements for Canadian sponsor

To sponsor a conjugal partner you must meet the following:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • reside in Canada
  • not have been sponsored as a spouse/common-law/conjugal partner within the last 5 years
  • if you previously sponsored a spouse or partner then three years must have passed since this person became a permanent resident
  • be willing to sign a 3-year undertaking to be financially responsible for your conjugal partner once they arrive in Canada
  • not have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application has not been made yet
  • not be subject to a removal order
  • not be detained in any prison
  • not have been convicted of any crime of a sexual nature
  • not have been convicted of a crime involving the use of violence punishable by more than 10 years of imprisonment
  • not have been convicted of a crime involving bodily harm to a relative or partner
  • not be in default of any previous sponsorship undertaking
  • not in default of an immigration loan
  • not be in default of any support payments ordered by a court
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • not be in receipt of social assistance other than for a disability

2 How IRCC determines a conjugal relationship

How does IRCC determine conjugal relationship

The IRCC considers the following for a conjugal partner:

  • Mutual commitment to share in each other’s life
  • Exclusivity- Both partners should not be in another conjugal relationship at the same time
  • Intimate – Partners are committed to being sexually exclusive with each other
  • Whether the two persons depend on each other for physical, emotional, financial and social support
  • A permanent and long term relationship
  • The two are regarded by others as a couple and present each other as being their permanent partner
  • The two partners either have children or are taking care of them together

Sponsoring a fiancé

If you are engaged to someone and would like to sponsor them to enter Canada, your relationship is not likely to fall into the category of a conjugal partner.

The IRCC considers a conjugal partner relationship as one that is already marriage-like. They look for evidence such as a shared life together or owning property or other possessions together. For instance, if you have named each other as beneficiaries in your insurance policies, this can be a solid way to prove your conjugal partner relationship. Most importantly, the conjugal partner category is intended as an exception category for people who cannot marry or live together, and is not intended as a kind of fiancé visa. The law has stringent guidelines as to who may qualify for spousal partnerships to ensure only genuine couples are admitted to Canada.

Additional Documents

Additional documents that may be required

In the case of a conjugal partnership, you need to be able to show why you have not been living together and why you have not been able to qualify for a common-law partnership or to get married. Additional documents and evidence may be needed to establish that the relationship is genuinely conjugal in nature and to otherwise demonstrate that the couple meets the factors described above. These documents can include:

  • Statements of a joint bank account
  • Shared rental receipts
  • Shared credit cards
  • Any other documents that can act as proof that you have been together

Keep in mind that the information above such as photos and letters will not be returned. Other documents like marriage certificates and passports are usually returned. Make sure all the copies you send are certified. Do not send original certificates.

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3 Submitting the sponsorship

Outside Canada sponsorship

If the sponsored partner or both the sponsor and the sponsored partner live outside of Canada then they may submit an Outside-Canada application which means that the sponsorship application will be processed by a Canadian visa office abroad, usually located in the Canadian embassy or consulate in or near the country where the sponsored partner resides.

Once an application is submitted, the sponsored partner may travel to Canada to visit or otherwise remain on a temporary basis, provided that they are from a visa-exempt country or have obtained a temporary visa. However, obtaining a temporary visa may prove difficult as the immigration authorities are resistant to admit conjugal partners of Canadians as they do not believe them to be genuine visitors, since their usual intention is to remain in Canada permanently. If a sponsored partner wishes to apply for a temporary visa, then he or she will have to provide proof of their intention to return to their country of origin. Sponsored partners from visa-exempt countries are not required to obtain a temporary visa and are free to travel to Canada as they wish up to a maximum of 6 months.

Sponsors and sponsored partners residing in Canada may request that their sponsorship application be processed under the outside of Canada category. This option may be useful if the sponsor and sponsored partner plan to travel together extensively outside of Canada while their application is processing and therefore cohabiting in Canada for the duration of the sponsorship may prove to be difficult.

It should be noted that permanent residents must live in Canada while the sponsorship application is processing, but that Canadian citizens can live abroad while sponsoring, provided that they can prove an intention to return to Canada at the end of the process.

It should be further noted that an added advantage of the outside-Canada conjugal partner process is that it provides for an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division if the application is denied. In comparison, an application made under the in-Canada category does not have this right of appeal, although there is the option of applying for judicial review at the Federal Court. As the appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division is superior to a Federal Court judicial review, those applicants who have concerns that their application may be refused for some reason may prefer to apply under the outside Canada process.

See if you qualify 

Fill out our FREE Assessment form to see if you qualify to sponsor your spouse or partner. If our assessment indicates that you are qualified as a sponsor, we will contact you within one to three business day(s) and provide further information to help you start the process!

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Matthew Jeffery Immigration Lawyer

Matthew Jeffery Immigration Lawyer

Here's how we can help:

  • Formulate a strategy based on your particular circumstances as to the place, timing and specific contents of the sponsorship application
  • collect and review supporting documents that sufficiently establish your conjugal relationship
  • provide and complete all necessary immigration forms
  • guide you to obtain necessary supporting documents like police certificates and medical examinations
  • provide legal submissions to support your conjugal relationship
  • file the application for you at the relevant immigration office
  • manage all communications with the immigration authorities
  • Respond to any concerns or fairness letters issued the immigration authorities
  • Prepare you and your conjugal partner for any requested interview
  • Provide you with the final result of your application including the permanent resident visa once issued

Our office has years of successful experience assisting clients to immigrate to Canada through the spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner sponsorship category.

Spouse and Partner Sponsorship Guide

Spouse and Partner Sponsorship FAQ

We've created a FREE downloadable FAQ guide that answers some common questions about how to bring your spouse or partner to Canada.

What our clients say

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Today I won my spousal appeal case. I would like to express my most sincere thanks for the most professional representation. Mr. Jeffrey and his staff worked hard to ensure my success. I admire their work ethic and most of all excellent representation. I feel I have won my life back because of Mr. Jeffrey despite the complexity of my case. I want to thank Maryam for her hard work and her dedication to my case. I would recommend and trust Mr. Jeffery for all types of immigration cases.

Roya Aghashirin

I used Matthew Jeffrey’s legal services for my husband’s appeal process and I am so glad I did! I wish I would have done this from the beginning of the sponsorship process but I’m happy I had the team on my side when it mattered. Absolutely professional, courteous and realistic (about options, upfront about costs and realistic total cost). They were by my side, advising me throughout my appeal process and hearing. Highly recommend!

Roxie Iliuta

My husband and I highly recommend this lawyer office for spousal sponsorship. Special recognition goes to John. All of our questions and concerns were addressed in a timely manner and explained well. Because of them, my husband from Guyana was able to come to Canada to live with me. The process was completed in about 14 months (despite covid delays).

Kait L

Congratulations to this lawyer he did a perfect job during my spousal sponsorship , thanks to God and to Matthew Jeffery I'm with my wife in Canada as PR. I highly recommend this lawyer!!!

Gabriel Ramanand