The difference between types of sponsorship applications is a complicated question with a straightforward answer.
A Spousal Sponsorship application is an application by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their husband or wife for PR in Canada. A sponsorship is only “spousal” if the person being sponsored is married to their sponsor. A spouse can be sponsored regardless of how long (or how little) the spouses have lived together. Spouses can be sponsored from inside or outside Canada.
Note: If you are married, then you do not need to include a statutory declaration of common-law union (form IMM5409). If you are married, then you cannot be common-law partners and the opposite is also true. Marriage and common-law partnership are mutually exclusive.
A Common-Law Sponsorship application is an application by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their common-law partner. To meet the legal definition of common-law partners, two people cannot be married. However, they must live together in a “marriage-like” or conjugal relationship:
- They have lived together for at least one year*
- They are in a romantic relationship
- They are monogamous
- Their social and financial lives are intertwined
If you are in a common-law relationship, then you cannot be married to your partner as described above. If you have a common-law partner, then you need to submit a form IMM5409 Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union with your sponsorship application.
A Conjugal Sponsorship application is an application by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their conjugal partner. A conjugal relationship is a relationship which is “marriage like” as described above. However, the two partners are unable to get married AND unable to live together as partners for at least one year in order to meet the legal definition of common-law.
It is very important to note that marriages and common-law partnerships are both different types of conjugal (marriage-like) relationships. However, a conjugal partner can only be sponsored as a member of the family class if the two people in the relationship are completely unable to get married or live together as partners due to circumstances beyond their control.
Expense and/or inconvenience to one or both partners is not a valid reason for a conjugal sponsorship – if it is at all possible, the partners must either marry or live together as common-law partners to be eligible for sponsorship. Conjugal sponsorships are very rare as there is almost always a way for the two parties to meet the requirements for either spousal or common-law sponsorship. Conjugal partners can only be sponsored from outside Canada.
A few things to keep in mind about all 3 types of relationships:
- Can be a relationship between people of the opposite-sex or same-sex
- Must be genuine relationships which are not for the purpose of immigration
- Both the sponsor and the person being sponsored must meet all eligibility requirements
Contact us for information on eligibility for a sponsorship application.
*If common-law partners have previously lived together for at least one year, but are not currently living together, they may still be eligible to submit a sponsorship application.