In the first two months of 2017, immigration lawyers have been reporting that applications are being returned to their offices as “Incomplete” because required documents are not being submitted. With the arrival of the new guidelines for documents effective January 2017, the immigration department is insisting on the EXACT documents that they wish to see. This new attitude comes as a surprise especially in light of their previous conduct where reasonable relevance of documents would suffice to establish the bona fides of the relationship. This new approach to processing is entirely connected to the department being more streamlined so that the each application reflects similar type and amount of documentation that is to be reviewed by the immigration officer.
In order to ensure that your application is processed without delay, I thought that I would review the elements of the application and the documents needed for a married application. Next week I will outline the documents for a common law relationship that has been longer than one year.
The following characteristics must be present in all married relationships:
- You must have a mutual commitment to a shared life;
- Your relationship must be exclusive in that you cannot be in more than one conjugal relationship at a time;
- Your relationship must be intimate – commitment to sexual exclusivity;
- You must be interdependent – physically, emotionally, financially, socially;
- Your relationship must be permanent – long-term, genuine and continued relationship;
- You must present yourself as a couple;
- You must be regarded by all others as being partners.
Under the new immigration rules and process, effective January 2017, the following documents are necessary to prove your married relationship:
Provide TWO (2) of the following three (3) sets of options:
- Joint ownership of residential property or joint residential leases or joint rental agreements listing both the sponsor and the principal applicant; (Minimum 1 document)
- Proof of joint utilities accounts (electricity, gas, telephone); (Minimum 1 document)
- Important documents for you and your sponsor showing the same address, such as government issued identification documents (driver’s licenses, insurance policies). (Minimum 1 document)
Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be required to provide the following additional documents:
One (1) document from THREE (3) of the following sets of options:
- Photos of your wedding, customary celebrations, engagement and/or outings. Provide a maximum of 20 photographs to support your relationship (taken at different times and places). Write your name and date of birth on the back of each photo and provide a brief description of the context on the back of each photo;
- Important documents for you or your sponsor showing that you are recognized as each other’s spouse (such as employment or insurance benefits); (Minimum 1 document)
- Documentary evident of financial support between your sponsor and yourself;
- Other proof that your relationship is recognized by our friends and/or family (e.g. letters or social media information showing a public relationship).