Common Law Application

Old Jan 6th 2002, 11:49 pm
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Lindsay is an unknown quantity at this point

I am in a common law relationship with a Canadian citizen and applied for permanent residence in Canada last July on the grounds of my relationship. I received information in October stating that I will be called in for interview although I don't know when as yet.

Has anyone else applied in this way? If so, have you had an interview yet and do you have any tips on how I might prepare myself for it or how long it might be before I hear anything more?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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Old Jan 7th 2002, 12:26 pm
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Individuals in common-law relationships are routinely asked to attend an interview so
that the immigration officer can assess the bona fides of the relationship.

CIC's Operations Manual provides guidelines for an immigration officer to determine
the bona fides of a common-law relationship:

Common-law relationships


"Common-law partner" means a person who is cohabiting in a conjugal relationship with
another person, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year.

How to assess common-law opposite-sex and same-sex relationships

The introduction of common-law partners as dependants requires an evaluation of facts
to determine whether or not a relationship is bona fide. Unlike marriage, which is a
status-based relationship existing from the day the marriage takes place, a
common-law relationship exists from the day two individuals demonstrate that a
relationship exists based on certain factors. Therefore, to determine whether two
persons are cohabiting in a conjugal relationship is a question of fact that must be
determined by you on a case by case basis. To assist you in your determination the
following list of factors should be considered. Please note that these elements may
be present in varying degrees and not all are necessary for the relationship to be
bona fide.

shared shelter (e.g. sleeping arrangements), sexual and personal behaviour (e.g.
fidelity, commitment, feelings towards each other, support for each other when ill
and on special occasions), services (e.g. conduct and habit with respect to household
chores), social activities (e.g. their attitude and conduct as a couple in the
community and their families), economic support (e.g. financial arrangements for
food, clothing etc., ownership of property) and children (e.g. attitude and conduct
concerning children in the family unit), as well as the societal perception of the
couple What does "conjugal" mean?

The term "conjugal" was originally used to describe marriage, but has been extended
by court decisions over many years to also describe common-law relationships outside
marriage, both those of the opposite-sex and more recently those of the same-sex. A
conjugal relationship exists when a significant degree of commitment between two
individuals exists, which is based on an assessment of the facts. Conjugal does not
simply mean "sexual relations". The common thread is the presence of commitment in
combination with some of the factors listed above.

What does "cohabitation" mean?

In the context of common-law relationships, cohabitation means that two persons have
resided together for a minimum period of one year.

What impact do periods of separation have on a common-law relationship?

Since common-law relationships are fact-based, the particular circumstances of each
case must be considered to determine if the relationship has been severed. Therefore,
a break in cohabitation or a period of separation will not necessarily nullify the
period of cohabitation, in a similar way to married couples. For example, a couple
may been separated due to civil war or armed conflict and therefore do not cohabit at
present. However, a common-law relationship may exist if the couple has cohabited in
the past for at least one year and intend to do so again as soon as practicable.

For more information go to

Yours truly, Ingrid Y. Chen, B.A., LL.B.
_____________________ 225-141 Bannatyne Ave. E. Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada R3B 0R3 Tel:
1-204-943-3303 Fax: 1-204-943-2625 Email: [email protected] Visit our website

Old Jan 8th 2002, 9:27 am
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Hi, I am applying as a common-law partner too. I sent my application on November
2001, so it´s too early to know.

However, I´d really appreciate if you could let me know how your interview went!
Please, email me off the list

[email protected] Valeria
Old Jan 16th 2002, 12:09 am
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Lindsay is an unknown quantity at this point

Thanks for the information. I was also wondering whether the nature of my case will affect the time it takes before I am called in for interview. Are applications under humanitarian and compassionate grounds processed at a different speed from those of skilled workers? Any advice would be much appreciated.

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