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Sponsorship of girlfriend

Discussion in 'Permanent Residency Obligations' started by Berty3000, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Hi,

    I am a Canadian PR and plan to land in the new year. My girlfriend and I have been living together in the UK for 9 months, and it will have been a year by the time we go to Canada.

    In order for me to sponsor her for pr, will it be enough for me to provide the tenancy agreement with our names on? The thing is, our accommodation has all the bills paid for, so we don't have joint utility bills. Also, I pay the rent from my account. Our landlady has said she would provide us with a letter to confirm we have been living together here. We also have other evidence to support our relationship - hotel receipts, flights from holidays, photos, messages.

    Also, will it be ok for her to come with me on a three months tourist visa and we apply on arrival?

    I'd be grateful for your help.

    Many thanks
  2. It is very important that you not land without adding her to your application if you have lived together for 1 continuous year before that. You have to add her or it would be misrepresenting your situation plus you will never be able to sponsor her if you don’t add her. This will unfortunately create a delay of a few months.
    Berty3000 likes this.
  3. I concur in observations posted by @canuck78

    This can be a rather tricky situation. The burden of proof on applicants and PRs can be something of a two-edged sword in some cases:
    -- the sponsor and sponsored partner have the burden of proof to prove the elements of a common-law relationship sufficient to qualify for partner-sponsored PR, and at this stage you probably still fall a bit short . . . but
    -- but if you land first and then make the sponsored PR application, your proof of the elements of a common-law relationship might lead IRCC to conclude you were in a common-law relationship before the landing and, as @canuck78 observed, should have had your partner examined (whether accompanying or not) . . . AND you could be in the rather tricky situation of having to prove you were NOT in a common-law relationship at the time you landed (burden of proof on you to prove this) . . . while also still having to prove you have been in a common-law relationship sufficient to qualify for sponsored partner PR (again, burden of proof on you)

    Legal marriage can solve the burden of proof as to a qualifying relationship, and establish the beginning date of that relationship.

    Doing a so-called soft-landing sooner than cohabiting for a full year could solve the timing problem -- that is, landing before you and your partner have been living together a full year, but returning to your common household and staying together long enough to meet the common-law relationship requirements before you come to Canada to actually settle.

    But how you actually go about this, that is a personal decision. Again, @canuck78 has appropriately alerted you to a potential pitfall . . . a potentially rather serious pitfall.

    In any event, if your partner has a visa-exempt passport and you land as unmarried (not in a common-law or marital relationship), then later the odds are good your partner could visit Canada while a sponsored PR application is in process. But if you are proceeding based on common-law, you need to be careful about the timing.
    Berty3000 likes this.
  4. Thank you for these very helpful and, indeed, interesting responses. There are definitely some factors I would not have been aware of had you not pointed them out.

    Just to be clear - I got PR two years ago and did a soft landing around that time. I have until next June to honour my PR obligations. My partner and I have met since then.


    Assuming we have been living together for a year by the time we go to Canada (plus some travel after that before arriving in Canada) would the following information be enough?

    - tenancy agreement with our names on, and signed by us and the landlady.
    - letter from our landlady confirming we have lived here for one year or more.
    - other evidence to include details of holidays, hotel stays, flights, phone messages, photos, etc.

    As I mentioned before, we do not have any shared utility bills as our bills are all included in the tenancy. I pay the rent from my account as I earn more.

    Is this likely to be enough? We both are UK citizens so would she be able to stay for the duration of the sponsorship application?

    Thanks again.
  5. Useful reading here:


    Possibly not. You should also show some form of 'financial entanglement'. My suggestion would be for you both to open a joint bank account and get a joint credit card and start putting transactions through it and paying money in.

    If you apply inland, she MUST stay in Canada for the duration of the process (as must you). Assume it will take one year. If inland, you can apply for an OWP at the same time as spousal sponsorship. If you apply outland (which you can do even thought she may be in Canada), then she can come and go, but she cannot have an OWP.

    She should be able to enter Canada as a visitor on her ETA, that gives you an automatic 6 months. She can then apply to extend for a further six months online, OR if you go Inland and apply for an OWP, she will have status once the OWP is issued (assume 4 - 5 months). It is very important that if she enters as a visitor, she retains links back to the UK, probably best to have a return ticket and does not take any more luggage and belongings than any other visitor would.
    Berty3000 likes this.
  6. Thanks Hurlabrick, that's very helpful.

    Would the financial transactions need to have been for a year though? We've already been living together nine months but manage our own finances. I mean, we share a bed every night and love together. We don't have a joint account because we don't have joint bills to pay and... Why else would we? I appreciate you don't make the rules

    Can I just check, what is an owp?

    We would go to Canada together and I'd get a job. I'm just wondering how long she would have to sit around bored without a job whilst we waited for the PR decision?* Would we need any assessments doing like I had to do, eg. Health certificate and all that?

    *is this a better reason for her to be outland whilst I'm in Canada? Would it be quicker that way.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I don't want us to get married for this. I want to put that off a a few years.
  7. Have you actually looked the sponsorship application yet? There is a checklist with the required proofs. A lease will not be sufficient to prove common-law. I suggest you go look at the application.

    OWP = Open Work Permit.

    If you apply inland and include the OWP app, she will get the permit in 2-4 months.

    Yes, she will have to have a medical done, get PCCs, etc.
  8. #8 evdm, Aug 15, 2019 at 4:11 PM
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
    Both @canuck78 and @dpenabill post very useful information, which normally would be a valid thing to consider; given your clarification, however, things appear to not be as complicated for you.

    If I understand correctly, you landed (soft landing) in 2017. Do you have a PR Card?
    - If yes, great.
    - If no, then you should apply for a PRTD to allow you to board a plane to Canada.

    Unfortunately I cannot comment on your main question about the burden of proof of your common-law relationship. However, I do wish to comment on inland vs. outland and the general sponsorship process.

    An inland application would require you both to be in Canada for the duration of the application process (short trips outside may be possible, but do carry risks). Your girlfriend could submit an application for an open work permit together with the sponsorship/PR application and once approved, she would be eligible to work in Canada. Her initial entry into Canada would be as a visitor and she must satisfy a CBSA officer that she is, indeed, a visitor. This may require her to show proof of funds, ties to the UK, return tickets, health insurance, etc. If the inland sponsorship is rejected, you will not have a chance to appeal, and any (implied) status of your girlfriend will be rescinded and she will have to leave Canada.

    As an outland applicant, you will have to remain in Canada (short trips are acceptable) during the process. I was sponsored this way (spousal though, not common law) and as a point of reference, I submitted my application in January 2018 and landed in August 2018. There were a number of people at the time who reported here that their cases were processed even quicker, though. It is entirely possible for your girlfriend to come and visit you in this time. I came over on numerous occasions while awaiting approval. As a visa-exempt citizen the process is much easier. Though she still will have to convince a CBSA officer that she is just a visitor (same as above).

    If admitted as a visitor, one is normally allowed to remain in Canada for 6 months (with the possibility of applying for an extension). If timed correctly, you could even do an outland application and have your girlfriend here the entire time. The drawback, she will not be able to work or apply for an open work permit in this application stream. Finally, with an outland application, there is an opportunity to appeal should the decision be unfavourable in your case.
    Berty3000 likes this.
  9. BIG, really huge difference between these two circumstances:

    I revisit this because it is a rather salient illustration of how important a single word can be. Here that word is "land." And the date of landing makes all the difference.

    It also means your query is actually outside the scope of this part of the site (this part of the forum is about maintaining PR status). You are likely to obtain more current and more detailed information if you pose your questions about the sponsorship process in the part of this site which is specifically for topics about family class sponsorship (the most common of which, of course, is sponsoring a partner, whether married, common-law, or in a qualified conjugal relationship). Those topics are here:

    Examples of existing topics where proof of common-law relationship is the focus:

    Those are just examples -- there are probably better discussions, more informative discussions about proving the common-law relationship, if you dig back through older topics in the family class sponsorship conference. And posting your query in your own topic there should generate more responsive replies.

    Some Other Issues:

    As a PR, to sponsor a partner you MUST be living in Canada, both at the time you apply and while the application is pending.

    Residency Obligation: It also appears you may be cutting-it-close in terms of complying with the PR Residency Obligation. If you landed two years ago and have not spent much time in Canada since, your window of opportunity to meet the RO is now dramatically shrinking. The longer you wait to come, the less flexibility you will have for the next two years after arriving. This site is rife with tales of woe told by PRs (many now FORMER PRs, having lost PR status) whose careful planning did not adequately accommodate contingencies, ranging from personal accidents to family emergencies, and not the least of which were employment/career demands . . . bottom-line is that many with plans to settle in Canada just-in-time, so to say, that is just-in-time to meet the RO, run into this or that circumstance which either delays their coming to Canada beyond what they planned, or compels them to travel abroad some after they come. A few years ago, for example, there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland resulting in widespread flight cancellations which led to many not being able to travel from Europe to North America for weeks. It is not uncommon to be involved in a motor vehicle crash resulting in injuries requiring one to stay put for weeks. Or, settling up and leaving a job sometimes takes longer than planned. For those cutting-it-close, there is a risk of a delay.

    REMEMBER: if at any time prior to the fifth year anniversary of the date of landing a PR has been outside Canada for more than 1096 days, as of that day the PR is inadmissible due to a breach of the PR RO, it becoming impossible as of that day to meet the RO.

    For you, if there is a delay such that you fail to make it to Canada in time to avoid being outside Canada more than 1096 days since the day of landing, the risk is twofold.

    There is the risk of being reported upon arrival at a PoE; this risk is fairly LOW initially but gets larger the more days you remain abroad.

    The bigger risk involves making a sponsored PR application: if you are outside Canada more than 1096 days, since landing, as noted you will then NOT be in compliance with the RO, and it will take TWO years of presence for you to get back in compliance with the RO. And during that time you will NOT be eligible to sponsor a partner . . . here too there is some uncertainty as to how strictly IRCC might scrutinize your status, but if you are in breach of the RO (which you will be if you are outside Canada more than 1096 days since landing), the risk you take in making the sponsored partner application is not just the potential rejection of that application, but the risk of being reported for the breach and losing your own PR status. The latter may be fairly low if the extent of the breach is small, but here too that risk increases as the number of days abroad increase.

    Inland versus Outland application: I do not have an example handy to link, but there are almost certainly some discussions in the family class conference about the pros and cons of so-called "outland" versus "inland" sponsorship applications. This is actually the main issue regarding which this forum (and a couple other similar forums) helped me considerably . . . but that was more than a decade ago. At that time there was a big, big difference in the processing timeline for "inland" versus "outland" applications, and a big difference in the risk of non-routine processing making the process even longer. Since I was already in Canada I initially thought we had to follow the "inland" process, but as @Hurlabrick has pointed out, for an applicant living with his or her partner in Canada it is possible to make an application for either process, either inland or outland. Back when I went through the process the difference was big . . . my outland application resulted in a PR visa issued in barely four months versus an inland timeline, back then, which typically took a year just to get the OWP and two years to get the PR visa.

    I am not familiar with how much difference it might make now. Again, see discussions in the family class sponsorship conference for more CURRENT information: https://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/forums/family-class-sponsorship.5/
    Berty3000 likes this.

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