Common law vs Conjugal. Plus do we have to get married?

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Common law vs Conjugal. Plus do we have to get married?
« on: February 17, 2017, 08:46:10 PM »

My partner is Canadian and I am from Spain. We met while she was doing her MFA in London, where I was living at the time. We moved in together (I did not put her on the lease of my apartment, at that point we did not know we would be moving to Canada two years later). After two years we applied for the conjugal visa. We were unsure of whether to apply for common law as we had been together for two years and living together for a lot of that time, but not consecutively - my partner had to go back to Canada during her summer vacations during her MFA and work as she needed the money and I could not follow as without a visa I could not work there.

Once her MFA finished I moved back to Spain and we have been visiting each other and living together wherever one of us is working - but she is not allowed to work in Spain and I am not allowed to work in Canada, hence going for the visa so we can finally live and work in the same country.

We went for the conjugal visa as that summer we had to be apart. We explained this in detail but now the IRCC is asking for more information on why we are not getting married and why we cannot live together.


1. Should we go for common law instead even if we did not live 12 months together out of 26 consecutively? Not clear whether conjugal is for other kind of situations (different religions, sexual preferences not allowed in one of the applicant's/sponsor's country that would put them in danger). 

2. We do not want to marry again because both of us are divorced and we are thankful Canada allows for two types of visa - Conjugal and Common-law that make getting married optional. Nothin illegal not wanting to marry again. And we have been together for years now. Apparently we did not explain this correctly if they are asking again?

We sent many pages showing this relationship is very real - photographs in 20 countries, holidays, join bank accounts, emails, texts, selfies doubt about that. And we have been together for 2 years and 2 months. So do we change it to common law or stay with conjugal?

Many thanks for your help.


Riley Haas

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Re: Common law vs Conjugal. Plus do we have to get married?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2017, 11:07:11 AM »
  • So, conjugal sponsorship is for people who cannot marry or live together. It is indeed for people who are prevented from marrying or living together because of gender, religion, etc. How many months total have you lived together common law in the last 26? There is some leeway in terms of the 12 consecutive months, but that leeway is at the officer's discretion.
  • It may be that you did not explain it correctly, but it could also be genuine confusion because, as far as I can tell, you did not explain that you are common law. They would be surprised someone is applying for conjugal sponsorship from Spain without a reason.
At this point in the process, I personally have no idea if you can "change" the method of sponsorship. I would suggest speaking to a consultant or a lawyer to figure out your best option.
Alternatively you can write a letter explaining the confusion and documenting your common-law relationship and see if that will get things approved. However, I don't know what the consequences of refusal on a technicality will be in this situation (whether or not it would affect your next application) and so I really think you should speak to someone with experience.

Hope this helps.


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