What documents do I need to sponsor my common-law partner?

Last week I discussed the stringent requirements of the immigration department in requiring specific documents for married couples. As I indicated, the new efficiency by the immigration department is to ensure that all applications submitted show the same number and type of documents. Unfortunately, the new stringent requirements do not let a person deviate from the exact documents required by immigration and if you fall short, the application is returned. This week I am covering the specific documents required for common-law relationships and itemizing the characteristics of a common-law relationship.

The following characteristics must be present in all common-law 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 common-law relationship:

  • Joint ownership of residential property or joint residential leases or joint rental agreements listing both of you as joint tenants/owners; (Minimum 1 document)
  • Proof of joint utilities accounts (electricity, gas, telephone); (Minimum 1 document)
  • Documents showing you both reside at the same address, such as government issued identification documents (driver’s licenses, insurance policies); (Minimum 1 document)
  • Letters, printed text messages, emails or social media conversations showing your communication with each other (maximum of 10 pages);
  • Proof of visits to see each other, such as airline tickets, boarding passes, photocopies of passport pages showing entry-exit stamps supporting visits;
  • Photos of that demonstrate you are in a common-law relationship. 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;
  • Proof of financial dependency on one another (e.g. a bank statement in both of your names sowing household expenses are being paid from the account). (Minimum 1 document)