What is Canadian family sponsorship?
The family class is the second largest category of newcomers welcomed by Canada. The goal of family class Immigration is “to see that families are reunited in Canada”. It is aimed at reuniting Canadian citizens and permanent residents with their loved ones. These applications are often decided on the financial ability of the sponsor to support the members they seek to sponsor as well as the establishment of a genuine family relationship between the applicant and sponsor.
Who can I sponsor?
A Canadian citizen or permanent resident over 18 years of age can sponsor a family member as listed below:
- A spouse, common law partner or conjugal partner
- Dependent children (biological and adopted)
- Children intended for adoption
- Parents and grand parents
- Brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces and grandchildren if they are orphaned, under 18 and not in a spousal or common law relationship
- Any relative if the sponsor is in Canada without a family and has none of the above family members to sponsor
Note : Dependent family members of above may also be included in the application
There are two main aspects to sponsorship :
- It allows your family member to immigrate to Canada and get permanent residence (PR).
- It requires you, as an individual, to make a commitment to provide for basic needs and to support that person financially.
Who is Spouse, Common-Law and Conjugal Partner?
Spouse - For sponsorship purposes, a spouse is:
- Married to you in a legally valid civil marriage.
Opposite and same-sex marriages will be recognized :
- If you were married in Canada (you must have a marriage certificate from the province or territory where you got married).
- If you were married outside of Canada, the marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place and in Canada.
Common-Law Partner - You can sponsor a person as your common-law partner if :
- That person is of the opposite or same sex; and
- You and your partner have lived together in a conjugal relationship for a period of at least one year.
Conjugal Partner - The conjugal category is intended for partners of Canadian sponsors who would ordinarily apply as:
Common-law partners but cannot meet the definition, that is were not able to live together continuously for one year with their sponsor; or
- Spouses, but marriage to their sponsor is usually not an available option to them, usually because of marital status or sexual orientation, combined with an immigration barrier (for example, rules preventing partner and sponsor of long stays in one another's countries).
Dependent Child - A dependent child may be your own child or those of the person you are sponsoring. They must :
- Be under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common-law partner; or
- Have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.
There are two types of spousal or common-law sponsorship applications :
- Inland : The application can be made from within Canada because the person you wish to sponsor is currently in Canada. This type of sponsorship gives an opportunity to applicants to continue to live in Canada while their application for permanent residence is being processed. If the application is made from within Canada, the person you are sponsoring may apply for an open work permit that would allow them to work for any employer in Canada while the sponsorship application is being processed. There is no right to appeal to IAD if it is established that the applicant is not a member of the family.
- Outland : The application is made from outside Canada through an Embassy or Consulate. The person you are sponsoring and who resides outside Canada will normally wait for permanent residence outside of the country but may visit you in Canada. You have right to appeal to IAD if your application refused.
Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild
You can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild if all of these conditions are met :
- they are your relative either by blood or through adoption
- both of their parents passed away
- they are below the age of 18
- they are not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship
On the other hand, you can not sponsor this family member if any of the following applies :
- they have a parent that is still alive
- the location of their parents is unknown
- they were abandoned by their parents
- they are being cared for by someone else while one or both of their parents are still alive
- their parent is in jail or otherwise detained
You can sponsor one relative that is related by blood or adoption of any age as long as all these conditions are met:
- the sponsor (i.e., Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person registered under Canada’s Indian Act) does not have a living relative that you could sponsor instead such as a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, child, parent, grandparent, or an orphaned brother/sister/nephew/niece/grandchild
- the sponsor does not have any relatives that is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or is registered under the Indian Act
NOTE : If the relative you are sponsoring has a spouse, partner or dependent children that also want to come to Canada, you will need to include them on the same sponsorship application.
A child whom you adopted outside Canada and you were a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada at the time the adoption took place, or a child whom you intend to adopt in Canada
Sponsoring Parents and Grandparents
The Parent and Grandparent sponsorship program is very competitive and only a limited number of applications are allowed to be submitted per year. In order to qualify under this program, the Sponsor must meet income requirements in order to demonstrate that they are capable of supporting their parents or grandparents (and their dependents, if applicable) once they arrive in Canada. The income requirements vary depending on the size of the family unit already in Canada, plus the number of people whom are being sponsored.
You can sponsor your own parents and grandparents if:
- You’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or a registered Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
- You’re at least 18 years old;
- You are residing in Canada;
- Meet the minimum necessary income level for each of the 3 tax years before the date you apply for the PGP (married and common-law partners can combine income if they want to co-sign the application) and provide proof of income to IRCC by submitting Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Notices of Assessments;
- Sign a legal undertaking that they commit to financially supporting the sponsored individuals for 20 years and to repay any social assistance claimed by the individuals within this period.
Sponsored parents and grandparents become permanent residents of Canada, with all the benefits that come with it. This includes the right to live and work in Canada without restriction on location, time, or sector, as well as access to publicly-funded health care and other services. Ultimately, sponsored parents and grandparents may become Canadian citizens.
What is a sponsorship undertaking ?
You will be required to sign an "undertaking" making you legally responsible for the family member you are sponsoring. If that family member should need government social assistance, you will have to repay this money.
The undertaking will stay in effect for a period of time based on the family member you are sponsoring and will not be cancelled even if circumstances change (i.e. if the person you are sponsoring becomes a Canadian citizen, if you divorce or separate, if you have financial problems).
Sponsored person Length of undertaking (excluding Quebec) Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner 3 years Dependent child 10 years, or until age 25, whichever comes first Dependent child 22 years of age or older 3 years Parent or grandparent 20 years Other relative 10 years The length of the undertaking you will be required to sign will depend on the family member you are sponsoring.
||Length of undertaking (excluding Quebec)
|Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
||10 years, or until age 25, whichever comes first
|Dependent child 22 years of age or older
|Parent or grandparent