Spousal Sponsorship Genuineness
In assessing the eligibility for permanent residence of a spouse or common-law partner, officers must ensure that relationships between the sponsor and spouse or common-law partner and their relationships with dependent children are genuine. In ensuring that marriages or common-law partnerships are genuine, officers must consider the factors or elements that constitute a conjugal relationship. In addition, they must also consider factors that constitute a parent/child relationship and the issue of dependency between dependent children and the applicant and/or sponsor.
In assessing applications in Canada by spouses and common-law partners, officers must be satisfied that a conjugal relationship exists. The word "conjugal" indicates:
- A significant degree of attachment, both physical and emotional,
- An exclusive relationship,
- A mutual and continuing commitment to a shared life together,
- Emotional and financial interdependency.
Applicants must provide evidence of the marriage. A marriage that took place outside Canada must be legal in the country where it took place and be in accordance with Canadian federal law.
It may be necessary to consult the visa office responsible for the country to understand the requirements for legal marriage in their region of responsibility. The visa office may also have information regarding the marital status of the person at the time of the application for a temporary resident visa.
Divorce or Annulment of a Previous Marriage
Officers may need to confirm the legality of a foreign divorce or annulment with the appropriate visa office. Divorce is illegal in some countries.
The sponsor and common-law partner must be living together in a conjugal relationship and must have cohabited for at least one year
Sponsor or Common-Law Partners Still Married to Someone Else
Persons who are married to third parties may be considered common-law partners provided their marriage has broken down and they have cohabited in a conjugal relationship with the common-law partner for at least one year. Cohabitation with a common-law partner must have started after a physical separation from the spouse. Evidence of separation from the spouse may include:
- A separation agreement,
- A signed formal declaration that the marriage has ended and that the person has entered into a common-law relationship,
- A court order regarding custody of children,
- Documents removing the legally married spouse(s) from insurance policies or wills as beneficiaries.
In this situation, the legal spouse of the principal applicant cannot subsequently be sponsored as a member of the family class.
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