When clients ask about the specific documents they will need for spousal or common-law applications, I usually refer them to the document checklists available at the IRCC websites specific to such applications.
Although the checklists are detailed enough, they are general in nature to apply to most situations. The specific documents needed for each individual case obviously depend on the particular factors and circumstances of each relationship.
I ask my clients to imagine what documents they would need to convince a third-party of the genuineness and long-term standing of their relationship. Which documents and how many would be convincing to a third-party to assess that their relationship was genuine and bona fide? That is the test.
Gather all documents with that simple test in mind and you will have sufficient and the right documents needed by immigration.
You must be able to show that:
- You have a mutual commitment to a shared life;
- Your relationship is exclusive in that you cannot be in more than one conjugal relationship at a time;
- Your relationship is intimate – commitment to sexual exclusivity;
- You are interdependent – physically, emotionally, financially, socially;
- Your relationship is permanent – long-term, genuine and continued relationship;
- You present yourself as a couple;
- You are regarded by all others as being partners.
As well, you must show that your financial relationship is joined. The following could prove this:
- Joint loan agreements for real estate, cars, major household appliances;
- Joint ownership of property; operation of joint bank accounts, joint credit cards; and
- The extent of any pooling of financial resources, especially in relation to major financial commitments.
Your relationship must also have social aspects that show a mutually shared life such as the following:
- Evidence that your relationship has been declared to government bodies and other institutions and accepting of such declarations by such bodies;
- Joint membership in organizations and groups;
- Joint travel;
- Shared values with respect to how a household should be managed;
- Shared responsibilities for children and shared values with respect to child rearing and willingness to care for the partner’s children; and
- Testimonials by parents, family members, relatives or friends and other interested parties about the nature of the relationship.
Lastly, physical and emotional aspects of the relationship must be present and the following will serve as evidence of the same:
- Knowledge of each other’s personal circumstances, background and family situation;
- Shared values and interests;
- Expressed intention that the relationship will be long-term;
- Extent to which you have combined your affairs;
- Support for each other when ill or on special occasions evidenced by letters and cards;
- Wills made out where each is the other’s beneficiary;
- Time spent together; and
- Time spent with one another’s families.
Check out the document checklists on the IRCC website:
Inside Canada — http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5443E.pdf
Outside Canada– http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/kits/forms/IMM5491E.pdf
Note that for outside Canada applications, the sponsored foreign national will also be required to examine the specific checklist for the country or area he or she is applying from.