How to prove your link to family members in Canada

Learn more about how to prove your relationship to family members already living in Canada.

If you claim asylum at a Canadian border post, you must qualify for an exception to the Canada–U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA).  

The Canada–U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is an agreement between Canada and the United States. Under the Agreement, you are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country you arrive in (either the United States or Canada), unless you qualify for an exception to the Agreement. 

One of these exceptions is having a close family member in Canada, but you must prove your relationship to family members already living in Canada. The STCA recognizes a family member as one of the following: spouse, legal guardian, child, father or mother, sister or brother, grandfather or grandmother, grandchild, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, common-law partner, or same-sex spouse with a legal status in Canada. 


Before entering Canada

  • Let your family members in Canada know that you are coming. 
  • Your relatives do not have to be present at the border, but it can be useful if they are able to prove that they are your family members 
  • If not present, they will be called and interviewed. 


When you enter Canada: 

  • Show originals or copies of your identity documents, such as your passport, driver’s license, national identity card, birth certificate, or marriage certificate.


If you are in a common law relationship and your partner is in Canada 

  • You must bring proof that you have been living together with your partner for at least one year. 
  • Proof can include shared ownership of residential property, joint leases, rental agreements, or bills for shared utility accounts (gas, electricity, telephone).   


The information contained here is to be used as a guide and is not legal advice. If you have any questions, please seek legal assistance. 

Download a PDF version of this document in EnglishFrançaisEspañolعربي or Kreyòl. 

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