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Application tips

General Tips

1) Read over the kit carefully several times.

2) Make several copies of the forms.
  • plan your application on one copy
  • then send in a neat copy

3) Follow directions carefully. Work together to complete the forms.

  • Some parts are completed by the sponsor
  • Some parts are completed by the immigrating partner

3) Leave nothing blank or incomplete

  • if a question does not apply to you write N/A or not applicable and draw a line in the box

4) Organize your application

  • create an index
  • use tabs or coloured paper to show different sections
  • don't staple your application or put it in a binder

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Completing The Spouse/Partner Questionnaire

This questionnaire is to be completed by the immigrating applicant.

Keep in mind that this is a questionnaire that is used by people in different types of relationships and from different backgrounds and cultures. Not all questions will be relevant to every applicant. Many of the questions do not fit for same-sex partnerships. Here are suggestions for answering some of the questions:

  • Were there formal ceremonies to recognize/celebrate the relationship?
    • If you have had a ceremony or social celebration of your relationship then answer "yes" and give details.
    • If you answer "no" reasons might include that you chose not to have a ceremony or that ceremonies for same-sex couples are not common in your culture.
  • Did you and your sponsor live together?
    • In "no," explain the reasons why you have been unable to live together. Include such things as the need for visitorŐs visas, any applications for visitor's visas that were denied.
  • Did your sponsor meet any of your friends or relatives? Did you meet any of your sponsor's friends or relatives?
    • List those people that you feel comfortable having on your application.
    • If you are not "out" with family members (i.e. if you are unable to tell family members about your relationship or sexual orientation) then give this as a reason for not meeting and explain why it is difficult for you to be "out".
  • Is your relationship known to your close friends and family
    • again, briefly explain the difficulty of being "out" to others if this is the reason that you have been unable to tell others of your relationship
  • Do you have any family members living in Canada?
    • This does not mean your same-sex partner. This refers to other family members of the applicant

  • Have you ever been married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship before? Has your sponsor ever been married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship before?
    • We think that immigration is using this question to determine that all previous relationships have ended.
    • If either partner has been in a heterosexual marriage or common-law relationship before, include this information.
    • Canadians must list previous same-sex partners if they applied to immigrate to Canada.
    • Canadians must list previous same-sex relationships if they were common-law, for example, if they claimed benefits or paid taxes as partners. Same-sex relationships have been recognized in Canadian law as "common-law" since July 2000 with the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act.
    • Canadians will need to make a decision about whether to include relationships that ended prior to the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act was passed based. There are no legal guidelines. We suggest you consider how long the relationship lasted and whether you lived together as partners when you make your decision

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Providing Proof Of The Relationship

Anytime an application is made to immigrate based on a relationship, Canadian immigration officials will evaluate whether the relationship is genuine. They will be looking for evidence that the relationship was not created just for immigration purposes. This is true of all relationships--straight or queer--conjugal partnerships, common-law partnerships, or marriages.

Each relationship is different. It is important to consider your specific relationship and circumstances when thinking of what you can use to support the existence and genuineness of your relationship.

Whether you are applying as spouses, common-law partners or as conjugal partners, immigration is looking for some key elements.

  • mutual commitment to a shared life
  • physical, emotional, financial, and social interdependence.

Providing evidence of a conjugal relationship

Provide evidence that your relationship

  • is genuine
  • is committed and long-term
  • involves physical, emotional, social and financial interdependence
  • has existed for at least 12 months

These are only suggestions. Choose items that best represent your relationship. There may be things you have that are not on the list. No one is expected to have everything.

Brief history of the relationship: As a start, each partner can write a brief history of the relationship that tells the story of your relationship e.g. how you met, how the relationship developed, when you began to think of yourselves as a couple, moving in together, living your life together, the importance of the other person in your life etc.

Documents showing time spent together: You must also show that you have spent time together. A relationship that began via the Internet is fine. However, you must document time spent together.

  • significant photos of visits /travel/time spent together
  • proof of visits such as airline ticket coupons, boarding passes, copies of passport pages showing entry/exit stamps
  • if you have lived together for less than one year, include any document that shows this.

Documents showing the relationship was maintained while apart:

  • emails, cards, or letters between you and your partner. Provide dates and show postmarked envelopes if possible. You do not have to include the content if it is personal.
  • long distance telephone bills

Documents showing physical, emotional, social and financial interdependence

  • any joint finances: shared bank, trust, credit union or charge card accounts, Joint loan agreements, Insurance policies with partner as beneficiary, joint ownership of any property or durable goods
  • any joint legal documents: income tax returns claiming partner, wills naming partner as beneficiary, powers of attorney, medical plans or insurance with both partners
  • family memberships, for example: fitness centres, gardens, clubs, museums, or any place that gives family or couple membership rates
  • commitment ceremony certificate or invitations
  • relationship or cohabitation agreements
  • photos of significant events or photos with family or friends. Be selective. Provide dates and captions
  • statutory declarations of individuals with personal knowledge that your relationship is genuine and continuing (currently they ask for at least 2 statutory declarations)
  • letters of support from families, friends, bank manager, employers, financial professionals, religious leaders, community leaders, professors, teachers or medical professionals with personal knowledge that your relationship is genuine and continuing (These are fuller and more detailed than the statutory declarations.)

Providing evidence of a common-law relationship

Use examples from the list above to provide evidence that you are in a genuine committed and interdependent relationship. In addition, you need to provide evidence that you have lived together for 12 months

Documents recognizing a common-law relationship:

  • a statutory declaration of common-law relationship (included with application)
  • documents from other institutions or government agencies recognizing a common-law relationship. For example, workplace benefits, banks, memberships

Documents proving cohabitation:

  • residential lease, mortgage or purchase agreement signed by both partners
  • rent receipts in both names
  • a letter from the building manager stating that both of you live in the apartment. Include dates. If possible, get an affidavit to this effect.
  • mail, with postmarks, addressed to either or both partners at the same address.
  • magazine subscriptions with name/s and address
  • letters from family/friends stating when you moved in together, if there was a housewarming party, etc.

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Completing The Applicant's Personal History
  • Every month must be accounted for. Leave no gaps in the dates for the personal history listed.
  • Time spent unemployed, traveling or taking care of a home or family members must be included
  • Be sure that your dates and places are consistent. e.g. if you say you lived in Mexico City in 1999, your place of employment for 1999 should be in or near Mexico City.

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Last update: Nov. 15, 2003

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This page provides suggestions for completing your application package
General Tips
Completing The Spouse/partner Questionnaire
Providing Proof Of The Relationship
Completing The Applicant's Personal History