Proving your status as a common-law partner
Selin Deravedisyan, CRIC expert in immigration law at Phoenix GMI explains the steps and evidence to bring to the Quebec and Canadian governments to have your common-law status recognized. Discover the different points to know and to assert if you want to immigrate as a couple under a temporary work permit or a permanent residence.
You can also refer to our article on the recognition of the status of de facto spouse in Quebec to learn more.
Transcript of the video “Proving your common-law status to immigrate to Canada”.
“The question of the day today is to clarify what a common law spouse is.
When we talk about immigration, when the couple is married, the question does not arise, because you have the legal document that legalizes that marriage. And speaking of marriage, we agree, it is your relationship as a couple.
On the other hand, those who come and arrive here as workers, students or permanent residents, when we talk about common-law partners, you have to know what we are talking about.
Are we talking about your boyfriend-girlfriend? Or are we really talking about a de facto spouse relationship, in quotation marks?
And how do you prove that common-law status? Well, by papers, as usual. You simply have to have sufficient documentation to prove your common-law status.
And what do you have to prove, in fact, when you are a de facto spouse? Well, you have to prove, according to the immigration regulations, that you were living together as a couple for at least 12 months prior to your arrival in Canada.
What does that mean? It means that you lived together under the same roof, and of course in the same room. So if you were roommates, it doesn’t work, but if you lived together at the same address, then theoretically you are a common law spouse.
But I’m talking about theory, I’m not talking about reality. So for the reality, documents that will support your case: you will have to have a certificate completed, sworn by a lawyer, a notary, or someone who is duly authorized, and also show additional documents.
So it can be invoices, it can be life insurance.
Attention for the French, the PACS does not work. If you are in a civil union, it has no legal value here to demonstrate your status of de facto spouses.
Another important element also, for those who intend to come to Quebec and become permanent residents in Quebec. Do not forget that when you apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate and you are in a common-law relationship, you will also have to show documents.
So the first thing is that the person accompanying you, who is your spouse, must be in Quebec when you apply for the Quebec Selection Certificate.
What does this mean? It also implies that the person should be with you in Quebec for a minimum of 12 months before the date of application. And where it gets a little bit more complicated in relation to the federal side, as we saw earlier for the temporary status, it will be in relation to the types of evidence that you can put. So the famous certificate that you made for the federal side, the invoices and others that you presented to obtain work permits or study permits, it will not really work, and even not at all for some of them.
Why? Because Quebec will require that you can, as part of the application for your CSQ, bring in documents where both of your names are going to appear on them.
So if you are doing the invoices, try to have invoices where both your names appear. They should be invoices that are at least 12 months old and dated today, to show, of course, your relationship. And just to add a little bit more to the situation, make sure that the addresses are clearly indicated as well.
So when you have a bank account, don’t wait until the last month to open it to be able to present it as proof.
So, as soon as you arrive in Canada, in Quebec specifically, open your joint bank account right away, so it has to be a joint account, and then your banker can, for example, give you a certificate where both your names appear on it to prove your status as common law spouses.
So there are a lot of things to do. Of course if you need information, anything, you know who to contact.”
Selin Deravedisyan-Adam, CRIC
Phoenix GMI offers international recruitment and immigration services for Quebec and Canadian companies, and for candidates wishing to make a life project in Canada.
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