In Canada, immigration is permitted for the spouse, common-law or conjugal partner of a permanent Canadian resident through a system of sponsorship. In this arrangement, a Canadian citizen or a person with Canadian permanent resident status currently living and working in Canada may sponsor the applicant for a period of between three and ten years until they establish themselves in the country.
Relocating to Canada under this kind of sponsorship allows an applicant to seek and undertake employment in the country without any restriction. Unlike temporary Canadian visas for short-term entry clearance such as the Canadian visit visa, which are issued for a strictly limited duration, Canada visa applications for family immigration through this route offer a path to permanent residency.
Successful applicants will become permanent residents and after a minimum residency requirement of three years, may be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Where marriages took place in Canada, a marriage certificate issued by the province or territory will be required. For marriages occurring outside Canada, the marriage must be valid under Canadian law and the law of the country in which it took place.
Sponsoring a same-sex partner as a spouse
Sponsoring a same sex partner under the spouse immigration rules is permissible if your marriage certificate was issued on or after the following dates in these provinces.
- British Columbia (July 8, 2003)
- Quebec (March 19, 2004)
- Manitoba (September 16, 2004)
- Newfoundland (December 21, 2004)
- New Brunswick (July 4, 2005)
- Nova Scotia (September 24, 2004)
- Ontario (June 10, 2003)
- Saskatchewan (November 5, 2004)
- Yukon (July 14, 2004)
- All other provinces/territories (July 20, 2005).
If your marriage took place outside Canada, applications are accepted providing that the marriage is legally recognised in both Canada and the country in which it took place.
If you wish to sponsor your common-law partner of the same or opposite sex to immigrate to Canada you will need to demonstrate that you have been living together continuously for a period of at least a year.
The conjugal partner Canadian immigration route is intended to be used only in exceptional circumstances where parties are unable to qualify for spouse or common-law partner immigration through circumstances beyond their control. This route for immigration to Canada is valid for same sex or opposite sex partners, however, it must be demonstrated that the relationship is one of mutual dependence, and commitment.
Conjugal partner applications may be made in the following circumstances.
- The relationship has existed for at least a year.
- Marrying or living together has been prevented due to an immigration barrier.
- Marrying or living together has been prevented due to marital status, for example, you are living in a country where divorce is not permitted.
- Marrying or living together has been prevented because you are in a same-sex relationship in a country where same sex marriage is not permitted.
- Evidence can be provided that an impending factor has influenced the relationship, for example, long-term visits in each other's home country have been refused.