One of the most popular inquiries we receive is from clients seeking help to sponsor their spouse or family member to come to Canada. Canada is one of the few countries that also allow citizens to sponsor their same-sex partner to become a permanent resident. There are two ways you can sponsor your partner to come to Canada: common-law partner sponsorship or conjugal partner sponsorship. There are, however, a number of ‘roadblocks’ that may arise during same-sex sponsorship cases. Today, we will discuss the top three most common problems with same-sex couple sponsorship applications.
1. Common law sponsorship vs. spousal sponsorship
Same-sex marriage remains illegal in approximately 72 countries around the world. As such, many same-sex couples sponsor their significant other as a common-law partner rather a spouse. In order to do this, applicants must first prove common-law status. According to the Canadian government, a common-law partner is an individual you have been living with or have lived with for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship. This can be difficult to prove if the couple has not been able to live together due to restrictive laws or regulations effective in their home country.
2. Lack of legal documentation
Same-sex couple sponsorship applications are typically subject to a high level of scrutiny due to the nature of the relationship. In couple sponsorship applications, applicants are required to provide substantial proof of their relationship. Since heterosexual marriage is legal around the world, this makes it easy for these couples to show documentation and evidence. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, may lack valid and verifiable documentation of their relationship (e.g. shared credit cards, joint banking accounts, shared utilities, etc.).
3. Lack of evidence of the relationship
As previously mentioned, some countries persecute individuals on the grounds of same-sex relations. This make cause some couples to feel that they must keep their relationship private from friends and family members. In the sponsorship application, couples must provide documentation, which may include reference letters from friends, family members, and coworkers. Other forms of documentation may include photographs of the couple at social events and gatherings with friends and family members. This documentation is meant to prove that the couple is in a legitimate relationship. Unfortunately, if the couple does not disclose their relationship to other people in their lives, this documentation is difficult to obtain. This in turn, makes the relationship difficult to prove.