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Foreign Couples

This page gives information for same-sex couples in which neither partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. It is sometimes possible for foreign same-sex couples to immigrate to Canada together. Foreign couples may consider immigrating to Canada in a number of situations:

  • When a couple who are citizens of the same country want to settle in Canada together.
  • When two people from different countries are in a relationship and they want to be able to stay together but are unable to live in the country of either partner. They may consider Canada as an alternative place to settle together.
  • One partner must qualify to immigrate to Canada under one of Canada's immigration programs. The most common one is the Skilled Worker Class. Some people have also applied under the Live-in Caregiver program.
  • The couple must have lived together in a genuine committed and interdependent relationship for at least twelve months. See common-law definition.
  • In some countries, it is not safe or legal for same-sex couples to live together, for example, countries that have sodomy laws or where the personal safety of queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people is threatened. In these cases, Canada may still recognize the relationship as common-law. The couple will need to explain and document why they have not been able to live together.
Application Process

Foreign common-law couples

  • The applicant who will meet the criteria for immigration applies to immigrate as the principle applicant.
  • The other partner is included in the application as the family member of the principle applicant.
  • The common-law partner must be included in the application. If the common-law partner is not included as a family member it will not be possible to sponsor them as a family member later.
Foreign couples who are not common-law
If you cannot meet the definition for common-law couples consider this process. It takes longer and requires that you live apart for some time.
  • The most qualified applicant applies to immigrate.
  • After this partner becomes a permanent resident and settles in Canada with a place to live and a job, they can apply to sponsor the other partner as a conjugal partner. See conjugal partner definition. This process is described under Outside Canada Family Class.
  • In this situation the applicant does not have to indicate that there is a same-sex partner at the time of making the first application.

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Providing Proof Of The Relationship
  • For both common-law or conjugal partners it is important to save documents that show that the relationship meets the criteria and is genuine. See Application Tips> Providing Proof Of The Relationship for some suggestions.
  • For common-law partners, send the proof with the principle applicant's permanent residence application.
  • For conjugal partners, once the principle applicant is settled in Canada you will follow the process described in Outside Canada Family Class.
Where To Send The Application
  • The partner who is the principle applicant must be living legally in the country where the application is made and have a visa that is valid for one year. For example, a common-law couple is living in the USA. One partner is a US citizen. The other is from Hong Kong and is living illegally in the US. If the American is the qualified principle applicant, the application can be made in the US. If the Hong Kong partner is the qualified principle applicant, the application must be made in Hong Kong.

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Last update: Nov. 15, 2003

Disclaimer and Copyrights information

This page describes how same-sex foreign couples can apply to immigrate to Canada.
Application Process
Providing Proof Of The Relationship
Where To Send The Application

If you are immgrating to Quebec as a skilled worker, the application process is different. Information can be found on the Immigration Quebec web site