Can we still apply for a Canadian spousal visa if he goes away for 6 months?
October 28, 2010 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Canadian spousal visa question - is it possible for two EU citizens (me and SO, unmarried) to apply for a spousal visa if he goes away for six months to work in the meantime? Lots of minutae inside.

SO and I have been together for 7 years, but had a 2 year break ending last year. We have moved back in together, and have been living together for the past 5 months.

He works in the FX industry in London but wants to work in Vancouver. An agency over there has offered him a job starting next month, on a six month contract. I think he should go, as he really wants this and that isn't long in the course of how long we hope to be together. However, he wants to relocate there for good and that means we need a shared visa. You're supposed to be together at least 9 months before they grant it, but will it throw a spanner in the works if we apply when he comes back, or do I just show them evidence of our correspondence? If anyone who has any experience with this can offer any insight or advice I'd be most grateful. I've looked around for information on the interwebs but am not having any joy with working out how this might affect us long-term.
posted by everydayanewday to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Just to be clear: can you specify what each of your citizenships is, and what kind of visa you'd be applying for (work permit? permanent residence?)
posted by Emanuel at 2:59 PM on October 28, 2010

I'm a UK citizen and he's French, he'd be given a work permit through his job, but getting me over there is the problem, we'd be looking to apply for permanent residence in Canada on his return to the UK.
posted by everydayanewday at 3:04 PM on October 28, 2010

Ok, so you'd be staying in Europe while your partner spends six months in Vancouver, and upon his return to Europe you're planning to file together for permanent residence in Canada? Would that be under the Federal Skilled Worker category? I'll assume it is. The "spousal visa" thing threw me, because that's normally how people refer to applying for PR as spouse of someone who is already a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. In the case of skilled worker, one of you would be the principal applicant and the other would be an accompanying common-law partner. According to CIC's guide, common-law...
Refers to a person who is living in a conjugal relationship with another person (opposite or same sex), and has done so continuously for a period of at least one year. A conjugal relationship exists when there is a significant degree of commitment between two people. Common-law partners must attach any documents that show they are in a committed and genuine relationship, for example evidence that they share the same home, that they support each other financially and emotionally, that they have had children together, or that they present themselves in public as a couple.
... so that would mean being apart from your partner for six months would disqualify you. Given that he'd be in Canada during that time, I'd say it's pretty likely that the immigration agents would notice and question that.

Have you considered getting married? The burden of proof is significantly lower for spouses rather than common-law partners (although you still have to demonstrate a genuine relationship), and there's no one-year cohabitation rule.

Alternatively, could he get a longer contract? If his work permit is for more than six months, you should be able to get an open work permit and accompany him while he's here. That would also give you a better idea of whether you really want to live in Canada permanently.
posted by Emanuel at 4:20 PM on October 28, 2010

Citizenship and Immigration Canada's guide to what is common-law or conjugal partnership is pretty clear on what is an is not considered a valid relationship.

Further, The work permit FAQ on this subject explicitly lists spouses and common-law partners only.

With the recent break in your relationship, the most certain way to be treated as partners by CIC is to get married.
posted by thatdawnperson at 7:20 AM on October 29, 2010

I see. We were coming to the same conclusion ourselves. I was only stuck wondering (in my most optimistic dreams) if evidence of emails/letters would count as part of our continued relationship. Since marriage is what we were going to do anyway given the time, this is a good solution. Thanks everyone!
posted by everydayanewday at 2:03 PM on November 3, 2010

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