Quick Guide to the Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain family members (including common-law partners) to come to Canada as part of their immigration applications, such as:

  • family immigration applications;
  • temporary residence visas;
  • visa extensions;
  • student permit applications; and
  • worker permit applications.

The Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM5409E) form is required by CIC for an applicant to complete if they intend to add their common-law partner into their immigration applications.

In the immigration context, a common-law partner:

  • cannot be legally married to you;
  • must be 18 years or older;
  • can be either sex.

In the immigration context, a common-law partnership means:

  • a couple have lived together for at least 1 year in a conjugal relationship; and
  • the common-law relationship exists from the day on which two individuals can provide evidence to support their cohabitation, meaning:
    • you have been living together continuously for 1 year without any long periods apart
    • if either of you left home it was for family obligations, work or business travel;
    • any time spent away must have been short or temporary;

When at least one partner chooses to end the relationship, the partnership is considered over.

Requirements

As part of their application, common-law partners must provide evidence that they show they are in a committed and genuine relationship. Examples may include:

  • a joint lease, mortgage or purchase agreement relating to a residence;
  • jointly owned property other than their residence;
  • joint bank, trust, credit union or credit card accounts;
  • declared common-law union on their T1 under the Canada Income Tax Act; and
  • life insurance which names the common-law partner as a beneficiary.

The onus is on the applicant to prove that they have been living common-law for at least 1 year before an application is filed

Swearing or Affirming

The declaration must be sworn or affirmed that the information is true before a commissioner for taking affidavits or a notary public. It is a criminal offence to swear a false or misleading affidavit and it is your responsibility to make sure that the information is true. 

Up until recently, sworn statements were required to be signed and witnessed in-person. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is now permitting lawyers and notaries to virtually witness the physical signing of sworn statements. Once the declaration is complete, you can book an appointment online to notarize the form using our virtual witnessing service.

Additional Resources

See Government of Canada: Assessing a Common-Law Relationship and Government of Canada: Family Class – The Application Process. If you have questions or need advice about your situation, you should consult with a lawyer. Notary Pro Canada is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.

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