When making a sponsorship application based on marriage or on a common-law relationship, a number of the specific documents are always required by immigration. The following is a list of documents that can constitute evidence that a couple has been in a bona fide relationship of marriage or cohabitation:

  • Family memberships in clubs or associations, medical plans, documentation from institutions that provides recognition as a couple;
  • Marriage certificate, wedding invitations, commitment ceremony invitations or a domestic partnership certificate;
  • Documents showing joint ownership of possessions, joint utility bills (electricity gas or telephone), lease or rental agreements, joint mortgages or loans, property title deeds, joint bank statements, money transfers;
  • Documents showing the same address such as identification documents such as drivers licenses, Provincial identification cards or medical insurance bills;
  • Documents showing travel together such as boarding passes, long-distance phone bills, other proof of continuous communication such as emails, Internet chat site, Skype records, Facebook printouts, letters,
  • Insurance policies and other documents naming the partner as a beneficiary, wills, powers of attorney;
  • Significant photographs;
  • Statements of support from family members, bank manager, employers, financial professionals, religious leaders, community leaders, professors, teachers or medical professionals.

The above elements may be present in varying degrees and not all are necessary for a relationship to be considered bona fide. Whether an element is present may depend on the cultural preferences of a couple. For example, in some cultures women have a limited role in the management of family finances and there may not be joint ownership of property or joint bank accounts. Some couples may choose to keep aspects of their financial affairs separate and yet are clearly in a bona fide relationship and have merged their lives in other ways. Officers do consider each relationship individually and take into account relevant information provided by the applicant in order to assess the bona fides of a relationship.