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Proof of Relationship -  Spouse or Common-law partner Sponsorship Canada

To sponsor your spouse or common-law partner, you must demonstrate to immigration officials that you are in a genuine relationship. We often get asked, what documents to submit to show proof of relationship or genuineness of relationship for a spousal  sponsorship application for permanent residence to Canada. Let's start by understanding the concept of ''marriage of convenience'' and ''bad faith relationships'' purpose behind submitting these supporting documents.

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Proof of Relationship

Genuineness and proof of relationship documents


​It is illegal to enter a relationship for the sole purpose of obtaining permanent residence in Canada. In order to sponsor your conjugal or common-law partner or spouse, the government requires you to provide evidence that your connection is real. To evaluate if a relationship was formed largely for immigration purposes, immigration authorities rely on the intention of one or both participants at the time of entering the partnership to ensure that their union isn't a ''marriage of convenience'' or their ''relationship isn't one in bad faith''. 

section 4 of IRPR (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations) prohibits bad faith relationships, stating:

  • 4 (1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership or conjugal partnership

    • (a) was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act; or

    • (b) is not genuine

Factors used to determine Genuineness of Relationship

  • the emotional, intellectual and financial compatibility of the couple;

  • the different stages of the relationship;

  • the level of knowledge of each other’s relationship histories;

  • the level of knowledge of each other’s daily lives;

  • communication (and frequency of) between the sponsor and the applicant;

  • financial interdependence;

  • how well does the couple know each other;

  • time spent together travelling or visiting incase the couple is not living together;

  • the couples' social acknowledgment and acceptance amongst family, friends and co-workers;

  • the applicant’s previous (failed) attempts to come to Canada;

  • previous marriages;

  • children they have together or children as part of their family composition.

Burden of Proof


When reviewing a sponsorship application, visa officers must take into account the “burden of proof” when determining the genuineness of a relationship. This means that it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that their relationship is legitimate and not created solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration status.

When a visa officer is unable to make a determination as to whether or not a relationship is bona fide, they will send a procedural fairness letter. This letter outlines the areas of concern and requests that the applicant provides additional evidence in order to prove their relationship is genuine. In response to a procedural fairness letter, it is important for the applicant to provide the requested documents in a timely manner. It is also important for them to explain any discrepancies between their evidence and their sponsor’s declarations. Failure to respond adequately to a procedural fairness letter may result in the refusal of the sponsorship application.

How do you prove you live together in a common-law relationship?

For common-law partner sponsorship, you must submit proof that you have been cohabiting (in a marriage-like relationship) for a minimum of one year. There are a variety of ways to demonstrate cohabitation (see below). If you are married, there is no minimum period of cohabitation required before you can sponsor your spouse.

How do you prove a conjugal relationship?


Proving conjugal relationships can be challenging. Before applying to sponsor a conjugal spouse, we advise you to consult with an experienced immigration consultant.

You must demonstrate that the conjugal partnership has lasted at least one year. You must also provide mitigating circumstances for your inability to cohabit for a year or marry. You must have been separated for circumstances beyond your control, such as being in a same-sex relationship in a country where you would be persecuted by the government, being unable to be together for religious reasons, or being forced to remain apart due to war.

The simple fact that you reside in different countries and that living together or getting married would be logistically challenging is insufficient to establish a conjugal relationship.

How do you prove that you are legally married?

To prove that you are legally married, you must submit an original copy of your marriage certificate along with any certificates from the local authorities if applicable, plus a certified translation if the marriage certificate is not in English or French.

How to prove your previous marriage or relationship is over?

If you or your partner have been previously married, you will need to provide a divorce certificate. Like the marriage certificate, you will need the original copy and a certified translation if it was not issued in English or French.

In case of a common-law relationship you should include a sworn affidavit of dissolution of previous relationships. If you are separated, you should provide a legal separation agreement as well. 

Required Documents to Prove a Genuine Relationship for Spouse Sponsorship

Proving the authenticity of your relationship is a critical part of the spouse sponsorship process for immigration to Canada. The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires various types of documents to confirm the legitimacy of your relationship. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Marriage Certificate: If you're married, providing a marriage certificate is the first step. The marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place and in Canada.

  2. Photos: Photos of your wedding, trips, or everyday life together can also serve as evidence. Remember to label them with dates and descriptions.

  3. Communication Records: Evidence of communication, such as email conversations, call logs, text messages, can demonstrate a continued relationship.

  4. Joint Agreements: Documents such as shared leases or mortgages, joint bank accounts, or utility bills under both names can indicate cohabitation and a shared life.

  5. Travel Records: Travel records or stamps in your passports can help prove that you have spent time together, especially if you've travelled together.

  6. Personal Statements: Personal letters explaining your relationship, how you met, and why you believe you have a genuine relationship can also be included.

  7. Social Media Posts: Screenshots of posts on social media platforms that show you together or your interactions can also provide additional proof.

  8. Affidavits: Affidavits from friends and family that describe your relationship can be very supportive.

  9. Gifts: Receipts or photos of gifts exchanged can also be evidence of your ongoing commitment to each other.

  10. Children's Birth Certificates: If you have children together, their birth certificates can provide strong evidence of your relationship.

Remember, the goal is to present a consistent and truthful representation of your relationship. The more evidence you can provide, the better, but ensure that it is organized and easy to follow. This will make it easier for the officer reviewing your application to understand your situation. Each relationship is unique, so don't worry if some types of evidence are not applicable to your situation. Focus on providing as complete a picture of your relationship as possible.

Using Photographs as Evidence in a Spousal Sponsorship Application

Photographs can serve as a potent piece of evidence to demonstrate the genuineness of a relationship in a spousal sponsorship application. However, there are certain aspects to consider when selecting and presenting photographs as proof:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of photos showing you and your partner together in different settings, such as on holiday, at family gatherings, or participating in activities together. Variety can illustrate the breadth and depth of your relationship.

  2. Chronology: Chronological presentation can help to demonstrate the timeline of your relationship. Including dates and brief descriptions can be useful in showing the evolution of your relationship over time.

  3. Significant Events: Photos from significant events like your wedding, birthdays, or anniversaries can hold substantial weight. They not only exhibit key moments in your relationship but also often include family and friends, emphasizing the social acceptance of your relationship.

  4. Consistency: The photos should be consistent with the rest of your application. For instance, if you claim you lived together at a certain time, photos from that period should reflect the same.

  5. Number of Photos: While there's no fixed rule on how many photos to include, it's vital to strike a balance. Too few might not sufficiently depict your relationship, while too many may be overwhelming for the immigration officer.

  6. Labelling: Label each photo with a date and a brief description. This helps the officer understand the context of the photograph.

  7. Quality: Make sure the photos are clear and of good quality. Blurry or unclear photos may not serve their purpose.

  8. Digital Format: If you're submitting your application online, ensure your photos are in an accepted digital format. Scanned photos should retain their quality.

  9. Personal Moments: Photos capturing personal moments can convey the emotional bond between you and your spouse, making your application more compelling.

  10. Authenticity: Do not stage or fake photos for the application. It's essential to remain authentic as immigration officers are experienced in identifying discrepancies or unnatural patterns.

Remember, the goal of providing photos is to complement the other proofs of relationship in your application. The photographs should present a visual timeline of your relationship, highlighting the shared experiences and bond between you and your partner.

Role of Communication Evidence in a Spouse Sponsorship Application

Communication evidence plays a crucial role in demonstrating the legitimacy of your relationship in a spouse sponsorship application. Here's a detailed look into the kind of communication evidence you can provide and how it can bolster your case:

  1. Emails and Letters: Exchanges of emails and letters, particularly those that show emotional support, shared experiences, and future plans, can underscore the seriousness and authenticity of your relationship.

  2. Phone Call Records: Call records showing regular communication between you and your partner can exhibit the continuity of your relationship. If you are or were living apart, this can be especially vital.

  3. Text Messages: Regular text exchanges can serve as an excellent proof of an ongoing relationship. Ensure to include a mix of everyday conversations, plans, and sentiments.

  4. Video Call Screenshots: Screenshots from video calls, especially those with timestamps, can be a robust proof of communication.

  5. Social Media Conversations: Messages exchanged over social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp can further authenticate your regular communication.

  6. Contextual Relevance: Ensure the content of your communication is contextually relevant, i.e., it refers to shared experiences, mutual friends, family, future plans, or day-to-day life.

  7. Variety and Volume: Include a mix of different communication forms and ensure you have enough volume to demonstrate regular contact over time.

  8. Privacy Consideration: Be mindful of the personal content. Only share messages that you and your partner are comfortable with a third party reviewing.

  9. Chronological Order: Arrange the messages in chronological order to display the progression and consistency of your relationship.

  10. Highlight Key Messages: Given that immigration officers are dealing with a lot of information, highlighting key messages that directly demonstrate your relationship can be helpful.


It's important to remember that the quality of the communication evidence matters more than quantity. The focus should be on providing a glimpse into your relationship's continuity and depth. Officers are looking for real, consistent relationships, and the communication evidence should reinforce this.

Joint Assets and Documents Establishing a Conjugal Relationship

Joint documents are significant in demonstrating the authenticity of a conjugal relationship for spouse or common-law partner sponsorship. They can help show that you and your partner have combined your affairs and live as a unit. Here are some insights:

  1. Joint Bank Accounts: Having a joint bank account indicates trust and shared financial responsibilities. Regular transactions could indicate shared household expenses, which can be powerful evidence of a legitimate relationship.

  2. Shared Lease or Mortgage: A lease or mortgage with both names signifies that you share a common residence, a critical aspect of a genuine conjugal relationship.

  3. Joint Ownership of Property: Joint ownership of assets like a car, house, or other significant properties can demonstrate a long-term commitment to your relationship.

  4. Utility Bills: Utility bills under both names, or with each partner's name on different bills for the same address, can help to substantiate a shared living arrangement.

  5. Joint Investments: Investments made together, like mutual funds or retirement savings plans, show a shared financial future and reliance on each other.

  6. Insurance Policies: Insurance policies that list each other as beneficiaries, such as life, health, or car insurance, can indicate that you are financially linked and reliant on each other.

  7. Shared Credit Cards: A credit card account under both names or having each other as authorized users can demonstrate shared financial responsibilities.

  8. Joint Memberships or Subscriptions: Joint memberships (e.g., gym, clubs) or subscriptions (e.g., Netflix, magazine subscriptions) can show shared interests and activities.

  9. Mail to Same Address: Regular mail addressed to both partners at the same address over a period can show continued cohabitation.

  10. Tax Returns: Tax returns that indicate marital status and list the same address can serve as substantial proof of a relationship.


Always remember that immigration authorities want to see evidence of a shared life in a genuine relationship. The more your lives are entwined, the better your chances of success in the application. The presentation of these documents should be organized, clear, and consistent with the story you're telling about your relationship. Each document should complement the others and contribute to building a comprehensive picture of your genuine conjugal relationship.

Providing Affidavits as Proof of Relationship in a Sponsorship Application

Affidavits can serve as crucial evidence in a spousal sponsorship application, offering third-party perspectives on the legitimacy of your relationship. 

An affidavit is a written statement from a person who knows you and your spouse or common-law partner well and can affirm the authenticity of your relationship. It is typically sworn in front of a legal authority such as a notary public.

  1. Who Can Write: Ideally, affidavits should be from someone who has known both of you for a substantial period, has seen your relationship progress, and is a neutral party. This could be friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.

  2. Content: The affidavit should detail how the person knows you, how long they've known you, and observations about your relationship that affirm its genuineness. Specific anecdotes, dates, and shared experiences can add credibility.

  3. Cultural Context: Affidavits can be particularly helpful if there are cultural or societal norms specific to your relationship. A third party can provide context to practices that may otherwise be unfamiliar to the immigration officer.

  4. Number of Affidavits: There's no set number of affidavits required, but having two or three from different people can provide a well-rounded view of your relationship.

  5. Avoid Bias: Although close family members can write affidavits, the immigration officer might view them as potentially biased. So it's good to include a mix of relationships.

  6. Legal Compliance: Ensure the affidavit is legally compliant. It should include a statement that it is sworn to be true, the location and date of swearing, and the signature of the person who swore the affidavit and the official who witnessed it.

  7. Coherent Picture: The details provided in the affidavits should align with the rest of your application. Any contradictions might raise questions about the authenticity of your relationship.

  8. Clear and Concise: Affidavits should be clear, concise, and focus on facts. An excessively lengthy or unclear affidavit can be less convincing.

  9. Language: Affidavits should be in English or French. If not, they should be accompanied by a certified translation.


Affidavits, while not a mandatory component, can significantly strengthen a spouse sponsorship application by providing external validation of your relationship. This form of qualitative evidence can offer a personal touch and context to your relationship that other documents may not capture.

Using Social Media Posts as Evidence of Relationship for Spousal Sponsorship

Social media has become an integral part of daily life, capturing significant moments, interactions, and daily routines. Hence, it can provide compelling evidence of a genuine relationship in a spousal sponsorship application. Here's how:


  1. Consistent Posts: Regular posts featuring you and your partner can demonstrate the progression and consistency of your relationship.

  2. Date and Time Stamps: Social media posts often come with date and time stamps, which can serve as a chronological record, highlighting the length of your relationship.

  3. Interactions: The exchange of comments, likes, and shares between you and your partner can demonstrate ongoing interaction and communication, indicative of a genuine relationship.

  4. Status Updates: Changes in relationship status, shared addresses, or other life updates can offer proof of important milestones in your relationship.

  5. Photos: Shared photos, especially during significant events like anniversaries, vacations, or family gatherings, can substantiate your shared experiences and relationship evolution.

  6. Friends and Family: Interactions with or posts by friends and family can support the authenticity of your relationship within your social circles.

  7. Private Messages: Screenshots of personal conversations, while should be used sparingly and respecting privacy, can demonstrate the depth and intimacy of your relationship.

  8. Variety of Platforms: Evidence from various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others can provide a comprehensive view of your public relationship.

  9. Cultural Context: Social media can also help explain cultural nuances, like certain ceremonies, traditions, or practices, which might be unfamiliar to the reviewing officer.

  10. Privacy Concerns: Ensure you respect your and your partner's privacy. Don't share overly personal or sensitive information.


Social media evidence should be presented thoughtfully. A balance should be struck between providing ample evidence of a genuine relationship and maintaining privacy. Be selective about what you share, ensuring it adds value to your application and reinforces your relationship's authenticity. Also, keep in mind that like photos, social media posts should complement other forms of evidence, not replace them.

The Role of Personal Statements and Letters in a Spouse Sponsorship Application

Personal statements and letters play a crucial role in a spousal sponsorship application, providing an opportunity to narrate your relationship story.


Here's how to make them impactful:

  1. Personal Statement: Each partner should write a personal statement recounting the development of their relationship, significant milestones, challenges overcome, and plans for the future.

  2. Relationship Timeline: Your statement should present a chronological narrative, demonstrating how your relationship has evolved over time. Include key dates such as when you met, moved in together, got engaged, or married.

  3. Demonstrating Commitment: Explain how you both support each other emotionally, financially, physically, or otherwise, showcasing a genuine and committed relationship.

  4. Overcoming Adversity: Discuss any difficulties your relationship has faced, such as long-distance periods or cultural differences, and how you've overcome them. This could demonstrate the strength and authenticity of your relationship.

  5. Future Plans: Discuss your future plans as a couple, such as buying a home, having children, or other shared goals, which can demonstrate a shared vision for the future.

  6. Sponsor's Commitment Letter: The sponsoring partner should also write a letter expressing their commitment to support the sponsored partner. This should emphasize their understanding of the responsibilities and obligations as a sponsor.

  7. Authenticity: The letters should be heartfelt and sincere. They should reflect your individual voices and be free from exaggeration or falsehoods.

  8. Detailed but Concise: While it's important to be detailed, ensure your statements are concise and to the point. Aim for clarity and coherence, avoiding unnecessary repetition.

  9. Proofread: Make sure to proofread your statements for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, as these could distract from the content.

  10. Format: The statements should be typed, dated, and signed by the individual author.


Personal statements and letters can offer a rich, first-person perspective on your relationship, filling in gaps that other evidences might leave. By providing a compelling narrative of your journey as a couple, you can create a powerful testament to the authenticity of your relationship, greatly strengthening your application.

Handling a Lack of Traditional Evidence in a Common-Law Partnership


In some cases, common-law partners may lack traditional evidence typically required for a spousal sponsorship application, like shared finances or a joint lease. However, there are ways to prove the authenticity of your relationship in these circumstances:


  • Affidavits: Affidavits from friends, family members, or colleagues can help support your claim of a common-law relationship. These third-party statements can confirm the existence and longevity of your relationship.

  • Evidence of Cohabitation: If a joint lease or mortgage isn't available, other proofs of cohabitation could include mail or bills addressed to both partners at the same address, or a letter from your landlord confirming your living arrangement.

  • Shared Responsibilities: Evidence of shared responsibilities, such as child care, can demonstrate a committed relationship. School documents or medical records listing both partners as parents or caregivers could serve this purpose.

  • Travel Records: If you've travelled together, itineraries, tickets, and hotel bookings could help substantiate your relationship.

  • Communication Records: Records of regular communication, such as phone logs, emails, or text messages, can provide evidence of an ongoing and involved relationship.

  • Personal Statements: Detailed personal statements explaining why traditional evidence is unavailable, and recounting the story of your relationship can be persuasive.

  • Social Evidence: Photos from different stages of your relationship, social media posts, and shared social activities can demonstrate the progression and authenticity of your relationship.

  • Shared Assets: Proof of shared assets, even if they're not major ones like a house or a car, can help. For instance, shared ownership of a pet, furniture, or electronics could provide supporting evidence.

  • Financial Support: If one partner has been financially supporting the other, bank statements or money transfers showing this regular support can be used.

  • Cultural or Legal Limitations: If cultural or legal limitations have prevented you from accumulating traditional evidence, explain this in detail. For instance, laws preventing cohabitation in some countries can prevent common-law partners from having joint leases.


While a lack of traditional evidence can be challenging in a spousal sponsorship application, it's not insurmountable. A range of alternative evidence types and a comprehensive, honest explanation can help prove the validity of your common-law relationship.

Dealing with Complexities: Proving a Relationship in Cases of Cultural Differences or Long-Distance Relationships


Demonstrating the authenticity of a relationship can be complex when cultural differences or long-distance elements are involved. Here's how you can address these challenges:


  • Cultural Differences: Explain any cultural practices or traditions relevant to your relationship. Include photos or documents from traditional ceremonies, rites, or celebrations. Ensure to provide context and explanation for these customs to help immigration officers understand their significance.

  • Bicultural Relationships: Provide evidence of your engagement with each other's culture. This could include language classes, participation in cultural events, or travels to each other's home country.

  • Long-Distance Relationship: Regular communication is key in proving a long-distance relationship. Records of phone calls, emails, messages, video chats can substantiate your ongoing connection.

  • Visits: Provide documentation of any visits made during the period of your long-distance relationship. This can include boarding passes, hotel reservations, stamped passports, or photographs.

  • Plans to Live Together: Outline your plans for living together in Canada. This could be a lease agreement, a letter of employment, or other evidence showing that you are planning a shared future.

  • Joint Activities: Evidence of activities undertaken together, such as joint travel, shared hobbies, or attending events together can demonstrate a genuine relationship, despite the distance.

  • Personal Statements: Personal statements can provide context and narrative to your relationship. Discuss how you've maintained your relationship across cultures or distances, any challenges you've faced, and how you plan to build your life together in Canada.

  • Support from Family and Friends: Letters or affidavits from friends and family acknowledging your relationship can lend credence to your claim.

  • Understanding and Respect: Show evidence of your understanding and respect for each other's cultural backgrounds. This could be through language learning, involvement in cultural events, or adaptability to cultural norms.

  • Resolving Misunderstandings: If any misunderstandings arise due to cultural differences, explain these clearly in your application, including how they were resolved. This shows maturity and a willingness to work on your relationship.


Establishing the validity of a relationship that involves cultural differences or long distances can be challenging, but with thorough evidence and clear explanations, you can demonstrate the authenticity and commitment that characterizes your partnership.

Relationship - Spouse

Type of documents accepted as evidence towards proof of relationship

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a list of documentation that can be used to prove your relationship with your spouse including:

  • a completed Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire (IMM 5532) (included in the application package)

  • a marriage certificate

  • proof of registration of marriage with a government (local, provincial, state or country) authority

  • proof of divorce if either the applicant or spouse was previously married

  • if the principal applicant and sponsor have children in common, long-form birth certificates or adoption records listing the names of both parents

  • wedding invitations and photos

  • a sponsor and principal applicant are expected to provide items from at least two of the following sets of documents. If they are unable to provide documents from a minimum of two of the following sets of documents, a detailed written explanation must be provided:

    • proof of joint ownership of residential property.

    • rental agreement showing both the sponsor and principal applicant as occupants of a rental property

    • proof of joint utility accounts (e.g. electricity, gas, telephone, internet), joint credit card accounts, or joint bank accounts

    • vehicle insurance showing that both the principal applicant and sponsor have been declared to the insurance company as residents of the insured’s address

    • copies of government issued documents for the principal applicant and sponsor showing the same address (e.g.: driver’s licenses)

    • other documents issued to the principal applicant and sponsor showing the same address, whether the accounts are held jointly or not (e.g. cell phone bills, pay stubs, tax forms, bank or credit card statements, insurance policies)

Relationship - Common-law Partner

Type of documents accepted as evidence towards proof of relationship

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a list of documentation that can be used to prove your relationship with your spouse including:

  • a completed Relationship Information and Sponsorship Evaluation questionnaire (IMM 5532) (included in the application package)

  • proof of separation from a former spouse if either the sponsor or the applicant were previously married

  • a completed Statutory Declaration of Severance of Common-law Union form (IMM 5519) if either the sponsor or the applicant were previously in a common-law relationship with someone else

  • if the principal applicant and sponsor have children in common, long-form birth certificates or adoption records listing the names of both parents

  • photos of the sponsor and principal applicant showing they are in a conjugal relationship

  • at least two of the following sets of documents. If the sponsor and principal applicant are unable to provide documents from a minimum of two of the following sets of documents, a detailed written explanation must be provided:

  • important documents for the principal applicant and sponsor showing they are recognized as each other’s common-law partner (such as employment or insurance benefits)

  • documentary evidence of financial support between the principal applicant and sponsor, and/or shared expenses

  • other proof that the relationship is recognized by friends and/or family (e.g. letters from friends/family, social medical information showing a public relationship)


If the sponsor and principal applicant are currently cohabitating, evidence from at least two of the following sets of documents showing that the principal applicant and sponsor have been living together for at least one year (e.g. documents showing the same address for both). If you are unable to provide documents from a minimum of two of the following sets of documents, a detailed written explanation must be provided:

  • proof of joint ownership of residential property

  • rental agreement showing both the sponsor and principal applicant as occupants of a rental property

  • proof of joint utility accounts (e.g. electricity, gas, telephone, Internet), joint credit card accounts, or joint bank accounts

  • vehicle insurance showing that both the principal applicant and sponsor have been declared to the insurance company as residents of the insured’s address.

  • copies of government-issued documents for the principal applicant and sponsor showing the same address (e.g. driver’s licenses)

  • other documents issued to the principal applicant and sponsor showing the same address, whether the accounts are held jointly or not (e.g. cellphone bills, pay stubs, tax forms, bank or credit card statements, insurance policies)

  • If the sponsor and principal applicant are not currently cohabitating, evidence must be provided that shows the sponsor and principal applicant cohabitated for a minimum of one year in the past, and the following must also be provided:

  • proof of contact, including letters, printed text messages, emails or social media conversations, or other documented proof of contact between the principal applicant and sponsor. A maximum of 10 pages should be provided

  • proof of the sponsor's visits, such as airline ticket coupons or used boarding passes, photocopies of pages of passport for your sponsor showing entry-exit stamps supporting visits, etc. If the sponsor did not visit the principal applicant, an explanation must be included in the principal applicant’s IMM 5532 form (Part C, question 4)


Type of documents accepted as evidence towards proof of relationship

One of the eligibility criteria in R124 is cohabitation with the sponsor in Canada. Documents provided as proof of the relationship should also establish that the spouse or common-law partner and the sponsor are living together. If this is not clear from the evidence available, you could be asked to appear for an interview.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a list of documentation that can be used as evidence of cohabitation including:

  • joint bank accounts or credit cards

  • joint ownership of residential property

  • joint residential leases

  • joint rental receipts

  • joint utilities accounts (electricity, gas, telephone)

  • joint management of household expenditures

  • evidence of joint purchases, especially for household items

  • correspondence addressed to either or both parties at the same address

  • important documents of both parties showing the same address, for example, identification documents, driver’s licenses, insurance policies

  • shared responsibility for household management, household chores

  • children of one or both partners are residing with the couple

  • record of telephone calls


Persons who are not cohabiting with their sponsor at the time IRCC seeks to grant permanent residence (persons who have been removed or who have left Canada voluntarily) are not eligible under the Spouse or common-law partner class. They may, however, seek to apply in the family class (overseas), which would require them to submit a new application.

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