Canada recognizes same sex marriages as genuine, legally-binding unions, and also grants spousal and partner visas for same sex partners. Depending on your situation, you can apply for an interdependency visa under either the spouse or partner immigration category. If you wish to apply for a marriage visa on behalf of your foreign partner, the following conditions must be met in addition to the basic eligibility requirements:
- If the marriage took place in Canada, same sex marriages must be legal in the province or territory where the ceremony was performed. As of July 20, 2005, same sex marriages are legally recognized in all Canadian provinces and territories.
- If the marriage ceremony was performed outside of Canada, it must be recognized by both the Canadian government AND the country in which the marriage took place. For instance, if the marriage took place in certain States in the US, UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, this requirement will be met.
You may also apply for a common law or conjugal partner visa. Common law applicants must have lived together in an exclusive, committed relationship for at least one year. This requirement can be satisfied inCanada or in another country. Proof of on ongoing, interdependent relationship will be requested by the Canadian immigration authorities. This could include providing documentation that you are sharing household finances and expenses.
Conjugal applicants must be able to prove that they have been in a committed, interdependent relationship for at least one year, but were prevented from marrying or living together due to immigration difficulties, marital status, or the refusal of local governments to recognize same sex marriages as legally-binding unions. For example, there are many countries that do not issue same sex partner visas, so this may have prevented you from staying in your same sex partner’s country for an extended period of time.
In addition, many countries do not recognize same sex marriages. Because of this, you and your foreign partner would not be eligible for a marriage visa. If you are planning to apply for a conjugal visa, you are required to prove that there were circumstances beyond your control that prevented you from living together. In addition, you must prove that you and your same sex partner have been in a committed relationship for at least one year. Evidence that you are sharing household expenses and finances may be required.