Question & Answer

CIC News
Published: May 1, 2005

Question: What does ‘Conjugal Partner’ mean for Sponsorship?

Answer: The category of Conjugal Partnership was established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in an effort to make spousal sponsorship possible for couples in exceptional circumstances.

Canadians can sponsor a partner to become a permanent resident who is either their married spouse or their common-law spouse. In Canada, the choice to legally marry or not is constitutionally protected, which has lead to recognition of common law partners.

In proving a common-law arrangement, CIC considers many factors, an important one of which is cohabitation. It is expected that the couple will have lived together for at least one year continuously and built a relationship that shows signs of permanence and interdependency.

However, where a couple is unable to legally marry or live together for the required period, CIC permits spousal sponsorships on the basis of a conjugal relationship. Couples may not be able to legally marry due to divorce laws in their country of origin or other constraints. Similarly, a Canadian may be in a conjugal relationship but unable to cohabitate with the partner due to an immigration constraint. In situations where the couple is unable to legally live in the same country long enough to establish a common-law partnership, a conjugal relationship may be recognized.

By recognizing conjugal partners as spouses who can be sponsored, many couples that would otherwise be without options are given the chance to be reunited and live together in Canada.

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