Whether an application is for a common-law, conjugal or marriage, letters of support are required to supplement other documents to support a bona fide relationship. Although letters are not necessarily required for those who are married, including the such letters does add credibility and merit to the application. The comments made are for the benefit of those in common law or conjugal relationships, but can equally apply to married individuals.
Letters can be from friends, employers, family members, clergy, professionals or business people who have known the couple for over one year. In no case should all the letters be the same or formulaic. The letter should be personal to the individual’s relationship and emphasize and highlight aspects of interaction which show a personal knowledge of the couple’s cohabitation, time spent together and socialization. Pictures together with the couple over a period of time can supplement the said letter. For common-law or conjugal relationships, immigration does require sworn declarations from at least two people who have knowledge of the relationship.
The letters, as a minimum, should include all the following information:
- the writer’s full name address and telephone number
- how long the writer has known the couple
- in what capacity the writer has known the couple -as a family member or as a professional
- how frequently does a writer communicate or meet with the couple and in what capacity – daily, weekly monthly, by email, in person and whether at family or social functions
- how long the writer has known the couple to be common-law partners and whether the relationship exists up to the date of writing the letter
- when the writer first discovered the couple were living together in a common-law relationship
- on how many occasions the writer has witnessed the couple living together by visiting the apartment or condo or home.
It is important to include as many stories or anecdotes as possible showing that the writer does know the couple in a very personal way and emphasizing the time that they have lived together.