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Applying as Common-law or Conjugal Partners from Outside Canada

Use a Family Class application if one partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident wanting to sponsor their spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner who is living outside of Canada.

Even if both partners are currently residing in Canada, you may still want to send an Family Class "Outside Canada" application. For example, if you have been in a relationship for 12 months but have not lived together for 12 months, you would not be able to apply in Canada. Another common example is if one partner has previously claimed refugee status in Canada, the application cannot be filed in Canada. However, you can submit a Family Class application as conjugal partners outside Canada .

  • To apply as Common-law partners you must have lived together for at least one year. Time spent living together outside of Canada counts towards this one-year requirement. A couple can still be considered as common-law partners even if they have not had a year of cohabitation but have maintained a conjugal relationship for at least a year if they have been unable to live together due to persecution or any form of legal restriction.
  • To apply as Conjugal partners must you have maintained the relationship for at least one year.
  • A Canadian permanent resident must be living in Canada to sponsor a partner.
  • Canadian citizens may sponsor a partner while they are resident in another country. They must return to Canada with their sponsored partner and reside in Canada at the time their partner becomes a permanent resident.

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Things To Think About Before Choosing This Option
  • If an interview is required the immigrating partner must be able to travel to the interview location.
How To Apply
  • Choose the correct application kit from the CIC web site.
  • The kit includes:
    • the guide (with detailed instructions)
    • A: sponsorship application forms and guide
    • B: immigration application forms and guide
    • C: country specific information for the applicant
  • Use the country specific information (part C) for the processing centre for the home or resident country of the non-Canadian. An applicant should have a minimum of one year of legal residence in a country before they could consider it their resident country. For example, US citizens must use the information for the United States [IMM 3910], Thai citizens use the South East Asia and Pacific [IMM 3906] information. Check the front cover of the information guide for the names of the countries it covers.
  • Download or request the kit from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) web site
  • Complete all of the parts of the application, gather all the supporting documents and send them together, along with the fee receipt, to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

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How Applications Are Processed
  • An immigration officer reviews the sponsorship portion of the application and sends a letter to the Canadian sponsor
  • The file is then forwarded to the appropriate immigration processing office for review. For example, US citizens' applications are forwarded to the processing centre in Buffalo, NY. Thai citizens' applications are forwarded to Singapore.
  • You will receive a letter if an interview or more information is required. You must be prepared to travel to the interview if required. Typically, only the immigrating applicant is interviewed, although it is good if the Canadian sponsor can attend.
Processing Times
  • Vary from office to office
  • Some Canadian Consulates have their own web sites that may give some information about immigration processing time lines. You will find a list of consulate web sites at the CIC web site

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Last update: Nov. 15, 2003

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This page provides information for making an application outside of Canada.
Things To Think About Before Choosing This Option
How To Apply
How Applications Are Processed
Processing Times