Conjugal Partner Sponsorship Question


New Member

THE BACKGROUND: I am a native born Canadian citizen and my partner is from the Middle East. We met online in late 2017 and talked for 2 years. I went to Turkey (as we can't meet in his country) in 2019 to meet him for the first time (we are a same-sex couple) - after that visit we decided we want to spend an extended period of time together to see if things will work. Due to the pandemic we were separated for 4 months and I finally came back to Turkey in July to meet again. We have lived together now for 6 months in Turkey and decided we want to marry so we can come to Canada. (Our original plan was to travel South East Asia for a year to become common-law but we cannot now with the pandemic.)

Due to the fact that my partner cannot get a visa for any country where same-sex marriage is legalized and it's unclear how long we can stay in Turkey (we have extended our tourist visas twice) we are applying the "Conjugal Partner" sponsorship - which by it's definition seems to be for situations exactly like ours. Here is the caveat - we saw that the "Common-law" sponsorship is a separate application if you had been able to live together one year, whereas the "Conjugal Partner" visa is one where you could not live together one year. At this point we are not sure if we can stay together one year in Turkey and want to apply now to sponsor him to come to Canada as it takes 12-36 months.

THE QUESTION: What if during that 12-36 months we become common-law having lived together one year? Would this make our original application invalid and would we have to start all over and send a common-law application? Or is there a way to file the change with Immigration Canada that we are no longer conjugal-partners but common law. Right now, we are unsure if it will be possible between the pandemic, finances, legal status as tourists in Turkey (and an ever changing political climate) to actually live together one year so we want to send this application immediately due to the length of time it takes to process, we don't risk being separated long-term again.

Thanks so much for reading this as it was a longwinded question and we sincerely appreciate any help or insight you could provide!

Riley Haas

Staff member
I don't believe you can switch your application from conjugal to common law mid application. The thing that matters is your status when you submit the application which, in this case, is conjugal, not common law. So submit that application.

You can include in your letter an explanation of the situation, preferably with proof that your partner has been unable to travel to places you could marry.

As you say, this is the kind of situation these applications are meant for.