Conjugal Partners


If you are not married but wish to immigrate with your partner, there are only two categories that might apply: common-law (which will be discussed in future) or conjugal partner.

What is a conjugal partner? The regulations aren’t helpful, as they define “conjugal partner” to mean “in relation to a sponsor, a foreign national residing outside Canada who is in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor and has been in that relationship for a period of at least one year.”

Essentially, a conjugal relationship is “marriage-like”, meaning that there must be a serious commitment to spend your life together in a monogamous relationship.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada look for the following elements to determine if a conjugal relationship exists:

  • mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • exclusive – cannot be in more than one conjugal relationship at a time;
  • intimate – commitment to sexual exclusivity;
  • interdependent – physically, emotionally, financially, socially;
  • permanent – long-term, genuine and continuing relationship;
  • present themselves as a couple;
    regarded by others as a couple;
  • caring for children (if there are children).

If you are dating and thinking about marriage, or living together to try things out, you are not likely in a conjugal relationship. Conjugal relationships are built over time and supported by evidence of a shared life together, such as joint ownership of possessions, naming each other as beneficiaries under insurance policies, financial support of one another and so forth.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile