How IRCC Ensures Genuine Relationships in Spousal Sponsorship

How IRCC Ensures Genuine Relationships in Spousal Sponsorship

Aug 16, 2023

The spousal or common-law partner sponsorship program is designed to assist permanent residents and Canadian citizens in sponsoring their partners, enabling them to obtain permanent resident status. This program forms an integral part of Canada’s immigration system, dedicated to fostering family unity on Canadian soil.

Eligibility and Categories Under Spousal Sponsorship

Under the spousal sponsorship program, Canada permits permanent residents and citizens to sponsor the following categories:

Spouse: Sponsoring a legal husband, wife, or partner.

Common-law partner: Supporting partners in live-in relationships.

Conjugal partner: Extending sponsorship to partners in committed relationships equivalent to marriage, despite living apart for valid reasons.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • You are over eighteen years old.
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, either residing in Canada or planning to return.
  • Neither you nor your spouse requires social assistance, except for disability reasons.
  • You have the capacity to fulfill the essential needs of your spouse and any dependent children.
  • All residency requirements are met.

When evaluating sponsorship applications, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) places great importance on ensuring the validity of relationships. This precaution stems from the potential occurrence of foreign nationals attempting to forge non-genuine relationships with Canadian citizens or permanent residents to attain Canadian permanent resident status. While the sponsor genuinely believes in the authenticity of their committed marriage or partnership, this situation can pose emotional and financial challenges. Sponsors are required to commit to financially supporting their partner for three years from the date of receiving permanent resident status, irrespective of any potential relationship breakdown.

Moreover, Canadians or permanent residents might attempt to enter into transactional arrangements, feigning a relationship with foreign nationals for monetary gain.

In order to substantiate the existence of a genuine relationship, a comprehensive array of documents must be furnished within an application to sponsor a spouse or partner. If an immigration officer requires further evidence of the relationship’s authenticity, a couple may be invited to visit an IRCC office for an interview, during which both the sponsor and the applicant might be interviewed separately.

Should an immigration officer remain unconvinced about the legitimacy of a relationship, the foreign national may be deemed ineligible for sponsorship.

Establishing the Genuineness of Relationships: Documentation Requirements

IRCC mandates all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, to provide substantiating documents that attest to the authenticity of their relationship. The nature of the required documentation can vary based on whether the couple is married or in a common-law relationship in Canada.

Spouses: Proving Marital Ties

For married couples, an array of official documents is essential, including:

  • Completed Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire (IMM 5532) included in the application package.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Proof of marriage registration with a government authority.
  • Evidence of divorce if applicable.
  • Long-form birth certificates or adoption records if children are shared.
  • Wedding invitations and photographs.

Same-Sex Couples: Marriage Recognition and Common-Law Relationships

In cases where a foreign national’s country doesn’t legally recognize their same-sex marriage, they must apply as a common-law relationship. Alternatively, if living together has been hindered by factors such as visa constraints, application as a conjugal partner is possible.

Common-Law Relationships: Defining Cohabitation

In Canada, a common-law relationship entails an unmarried couple living together in a conjugal partnership for at least one year. The documentation required is similar to that for married couples, excluding wedding photos and invitations. It encompasses:

  • Documentation of financial support and shared expenses.
  • Proof of the relationship’s recognition by friends and family.

For both married and common-law couples, IRCC expects the submission of documents from at least two of the following categories:

  • Proof of joint residential property ownership.
  • Rental agreements.
  • Joint utility accounts, credit card accounts, or bank accounts.
  • Vehicle insurance indicating shared residency.
  • Government-issued documents displaying the same address.

Validation Through Cohabitation Evidence

Couples can demonstrate their conjugal partnership through various means in Canada, such as:

  • Joint bank accounts or credit cards.
  • Shared ownership of residential property.
  • Joint residential leases and rental receipts.
  • Shared utility accounts.
  • Joint management of household expenses.
  • Evidence of joint purchases.
  • Correspondence addressed to both parties at the same address.

If the couple is not residing together in Canada, they need to provide evidence of their previous one-year cohabitation by presenting:

  • Correspondence evidence (letters, text messages, emails, etc.) depicting ongoing contact.
  • Proof of visits by the Canadian citizen or permanent resident partner, evidenced through flight tickets, boarding passes, and passport photocopies.

The process of establishing the authenticity of relationships is crucial to the integrity of the Canadian immigration system. Through meticulous documentation and thorough examination, IRCC aims to ensure that sponsorships are rooted in genuine commitment and connection. This not only upholds the spirit of family reunification but also safeguards against potential misuse of the immigration process.

The Role of DEV Immigration: Navigating Your Reunion with Expertise

At DEV Immigration, we understand the emotional and financial investments involved in reuniting with loved ones. Our team specialises in simplifying complex immigration processes, including spousal sponsorship. By leveraging our experience and expertise, we can guide you in fulfilling the documentation requirements, ensuring the authenticity of your relationship, and streamlining your path to family reunification. Let DEV Immigration be your trusted partner in making your reunion dreams come true.

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