Canada: Government proposes repeal of 2-year cohabitation requirement for sponsored spouses, partners

What is the change? Under a proposed legal change, Canada would repeal a conditional permanent residence rule that requires a foreign spouse or partner who is sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to cohabit for two years in order to prove the legitimacy of the relationship.


What does the change mean? Spouses or partners who are sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident would no longer be subject to a two-year period of conditional permanent residency.

  • Implementation time frame: Spring 2017.
  • Visas/permits affected: Family sponsorship (spouse, partner).
  • Who is affected: Foreign spouses or common law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Background: The current rule applies where the relationship has lasted less than two years and the couple has no children in common. The repeal of the two-year conditional permanent residency is intended to make sure sponsored foreign spouses and partners are not at increased risk of domestic abuse.

BAL Analysis: The proposed change would facilitate spousal family reunification, especially where the relationship is less than two years old.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact

Go to the profile of Berry Appleman & Leiden

Berry Appleman & Leiden

We are a global firm singularly focused on meeting the immigration challenges of corporate clients around the world in ways that make immigration more strategic and clients more successful.

No comments yet.