How to enter Canada as a common law partner of a citizen

How to enter Canada as a common law partner of a citizen

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

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Dear Mr Brown,

I understand that I can re-enter Canada as a common law partner of a Canadian citizen during the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to know how I can demonstrate my status for entry. I know that I would have to show that we lived together for a couple of years and that we have insurance, but what else would I need?

— TL

Dear TL:

In order to enter Canada as a common law partner of a Canadian citizen, you have to establish that your immediate family member is a Canadian and that you are indeed an immediate family member.

You may submit proof of your partner's Canadian citizenship, such as:

• a Canadian passport;

• citizenship certificate;

• citizenship card;

• provincial or territorial birth certificate.

To establish your common law status, you may submit evidence showing that you share a home address and share economic support.

The term “cohabitation” refers to a couple living together; the affairs of the couple have been combined to establish a household in one dwelling. To be considered common law partners, you must have cohabited for at least one year.

A common law relationship entails a combination of the following characteristics:

• shared shelter;

• sexual and personal behaviour such as commitment and fidelity;

• shared services such as household chores;

• social activities such as behaving as a couple in the community and with their families;

• economic support such as financial arrangements and property ownership;

• shared responsibility for raising children; and

• the general societal perception of the two as a couple.

There must be some degree of permanence, interdependence and commitment in the relationship. The relationship must be exclusive (monogamous), intimate and include a mutual commitment to a shared life. The two must subjectively present themselves as being a couple and should be objectively seen by others as being a couple.

It is the passage of time together, the building of intimacy, emotional and financial ties that are important. It includes acts such as becoming the beneficiaries of insurance policies or estates, joint ownership of possessions, and joint expenses or sharing of income, and so forth.

Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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