Genuine Relationship Sponsorship Application in Canada

A genuine relationship sponsorship application in Canada is a process through which a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner for permanent residency. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requirements for spousal sponsorship vary by country, taking into account cultural, religious, and other specific factors. The central criterion for approval is proving that the relationship is genuine and not entered into primarily for immigration purposes.

Key Elements of a Genuine Relationship

To demonstrate the genuineness of the relationship, you must provide substantial evidence across various aspects of your life together. These aspects include:

  1. Joint Financial Responsibilities:
    • Shared bank accounts and credit cards.
    • Joint ownership or lease of property.
    • Shared utility bills and other household expenses.
  2. Cohabitation:
    • Proof of living together such as rental agreements, mortgage statements, or letters from landlords.
    • Correspondence addressed to both parties at the same address.
  3. Social and Family Connections:
    • Photographs of the couple together with family and friends.
    • Invitations and evidence of shared social events.
    • Letters or statements from family and friends affirming the relationship.
  4. Communication:
    • Records of communication, including phone call logs, text messages, emails, and letters.
    • Evidence of visits if the couple lived apart for any period.
  5. Commitment and Future Plans:
    • Evidence of long-term planning, such as wills, insurance policies, or beneficiary designations.
    • Plans for children or joint investments.
  6. Cultural and Religious Ceremonies:
    • Documentation of weddings or other significant cultural or religious ceremonies.
    • Photos and videos of the ceremonies, including guest lists and receipts.

Documentation and Evidence

You are required to submit a comprehensive portfolio of evidence to support your relationship. This typically includes:

  • Completed sponsorship and permanent residence application forms.
  • Proof of the sponsor’s Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable.
  • Proof of termination of any previous marriages (divorce certificates).
  • Statutory declarations of common-law union, if applicable.
  • Photographs showing the couple together at different times and locations.
  • Statements from family and friends supporting the genuineness of the relationship.
  • Detailed personal statements from both partners explaining the history and nature of their relationship.

The Application Process

  1. Application Preparation:
    • Gather all required documents and evidence.
    • Complete the necessary forms and pay the applicable fees.
  2. Submission:
    • Submit the application package to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  3. Processing and Review:
    • The application is reviewed by an immigration officer who assesses the genuineness of the relationship.
    • The officer may request additional information or an interview with the couple.
  4. Decision:
    • If the application is approved, the sponsored person is granted permanent residence.
    • If the application is denied, reasons for the decision will be provided, and the couple may appeal or reapply with additional evidence.

Challenges and Considerations

  • Fraud Prevention: IRCC is vigilant in preventing immigration fraud. Relationships perceived as suspicious or lacking sufficient evidence of genuineness are likely to be scrutinized closely.
  • Documentation: Thorough and well-organized documentation is crucial. Incomplete or poorly presented applications can lead to delays or denials.
  • Cultural Differences: Understanding that cultural differences in relationships may require different types of evidence to prove genuineness. It’s important to explain these nuances clearly in the application.

In a case law, Terry Ricardo Chamers v. The Minster of Citizenship and Immigration; in the context of a sponsorship application for a genuine relationship in Canada, the concerns were whether the Applicant has provided sufficient evidence to establish the authenticity of their relationship with their spouse.

The Applicant submitted various documents to demonstrate their cohabitation and interdependency, including:

  • A Hydro One bill in both the Applicant’s and spouse’s names.
  • Two bank statements in both names.
  • Identification showing a shared address.
  • Letters of support attesting to their relationship.

The Officer acknowledged that these documents indicated cohabitation, noting, “submissions do share a mutual address, which could support cohabitation.” Despite this, the Officer concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to demonstrate the level of interdependency expected in a relationship of this nature and duration (six years). The Applicant had provided evidence dating back to the start of their marriage, but the Officer did not clarify why this evidence was deemed insufficient or why the genuineness of the relationship was in doubt.

Upon review, it was found that the Officer failed to consider the totality of the evidence, leading to a decision that was neither transparent nor justified. The court referenced the need for decisions to be understandable and adequately supported by reasons, as highlighted in Vavilov. Consequently, the court agreed with the Applicant that the Officer’s decision was unreasonable due to the lack of a comprehensive evaluation of the submitted evidence.

The decision revolves around the Applicant’s submission of evidence to demonstrate cohabitation with his spouse, including utility bills, bank statements, mutual address identification, and letters of support. Despite acknowledging these submissions and their indication of cohabitation, the Officer deemed the evidence insufficient to prove a level of interdependency expected in a long-term relationship. The Officer’s decision lacked specific reasons for questioning the sufficiency and authenticity of the evidence, leading to an unintelligible conclusion.

Upon review, it was determined that the Officer failed to consider the totality of the evidence, resulting in unjustified reasons and an unreasonable decision. The court emphasized the necessity for administrative decisions to be transparent, intelligible, and justified, highlighting the shortcomings in the Officer’s rationale.

By ensuring comprehensive and well-documented evidence of your relationship, you can improve your chances of a successful sponsorship application. It’s often beneficial to consult with an immigration lawyer or consultant to navigate the complexities of the process.

Contact us to speak to our experienced Vancouver Immigration lawyer at YA Law Corporation.

YA Law Corporation

504-938 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1N9
Tel: 604.620.9598 | Fax: 604.620.9597