What is family class sponsorship?
Canada offers sponsorship programs for permanent residents or citizens of Canada that wish to bring their loved ones to Canada. These programs allow certain family members to become permanent residents of Canada.
One of the most popular streams of Canadian immigration, family sponsorship programs makes it easy for citizens and permanent residents to bring their spouse and immediate family members to Canada with reduced processing times because Canada knows that family should never be put on hold.
Read also: American Visa Sponsorship Program
Who can I sponsor to come to Canada?
Spouse, Common-law, or Conjugal Partner
You may be eligible to sponsor your spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner for Canadian permanent residence, whether they are living in Canada with a valid temporary visa or residing abroad. Applicants who are living in Canada may also qualify for an open work permit, giving couples the chance to relieve some of their financial burdens.
A spousal open work permit gives sponsored individuals the ability to work in Canada while their sponsorship application is being processed. Since Canada recognizes common-law partnerships, you may be eligible to apply for spousal sponsorship if you and your partner are not married but have been living together for a period of at least one year.
Parent or Grandparent Sponsorship
Canada’s commitment to family reunification extends to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents through the parent and grandparent sponsorship program. In order to sponsor a parent or grandparent, citizens and permanent residents will be required to demonstrate that they can financially support their family by meeting the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for the size of their family unit. They must also agree to financially support their sponsored family members if needed. Sponsors who are unable to permanently support their parent or grandparent may be eligible for a Super Visa, a long term, multiple-entry visa for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Child or Other Dependant Sponsorship
If you are immigrating to Canada, you can choose to include your children as accompanying dependents on your application for permanent residence. However, if you choose not to include them, or are otherwise unable to do so, they may still be able to join you in Canada later. Canada’s child sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their biological or adopted children under the age of 22 for permanent residence, as long as they are unmarried and have no children of their own. A child over the age of 22 may be considered a dependent if they suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves.
Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild
In some specific instances, Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents may be eligible to sponsor their orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild to come to Canada. To sponsor your orphaned relative, they must be unmarried, under 18 years old, and related to you by blood or adoption.
Other relatives (under exceptional circumstances as a “Lonely Canadian”)
In some rare circumstances, Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents may be eligible to sponsor one extended relative to come to Canada. To sponsor a relative that falls outside of Canada’s current Family Class definition, sponsors must be considered a “Lonely Canadian”. This means the sponsor has no spouse, common-law partner, child, parent, or grandparent.
How can I be eligible to sponsor a family member?
To sponsor a family member, you must meet minimum eligibility requirements. Eligible sponsors must:
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- be at least 18 years old
- live in Canada, or plan to return to Canada once your spouse or partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada
- be able and willing to provide for the basic financial needs of your family member for three years
Who isn’t eligible to sponsor a relative?
There are some cases in which a permanent resident or citizen is not eligible to sponsor. If one of the below scenarios apply, a sponsor may be ineligible if they:
- are currently in prison
- have not paid alimony or child support payments
- have declared bankruptcy and are not yet released
- received social assistance for reasons other than a disability
- failed to pay back an immigration loan, made late payments or missed payments
- have previously sponsored another relative and failed to meet the terms of the sponsorship agreement
- have been convicted of a violent crime, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence, depending on details of the case
How much does it cost to sponsor a family member in Canada?
If you are sponsoring your spouse and they have dependent children, or if you are sponsoring your adopted child, a $150 payment will be required for each child included in the application. If you are including the spouse or partner of your relative, an additional $1,050 is required. The government processing fees to sponsor a relative in Canada are listed below.
Sponsorship fee $75
Principal applicant processing fee $475
Right of permanent residence fee $500
If the sponsor resides in or intends to reside in Quebec upon the issuance of permanent residence, a fee of $289 CAD will need to be paid in addition to the fees mentioned above.
What is the income requirement for Canadian family sponsorship?
Minimum income requirements apply to some sponsorship applications, including parents, grandparents, eligible orphaned relatives, or those eligible under the “lonely Canadian” policy.
These sponsors must meet the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) required for the size of their family unit, and must also provide Canada Revenue Agency-issued Notices of Assessment (NOA) as proof that they have met the required MNI for at least three consecutive years.
Unlike most other forms of Canadian sponsorship, you do not need to demonstrate a minimum amount of income to sponsor a spouse. However, whenever you sponsor a family member to Canada, you must sign an undertaking in which you promise to provide financial support for the basic needs of your sponsored family member. This undertaking is required for all sponsorship applications and acknowledges a sponsor’s promise to repay social assistance benefits paid to the sponsor and their family member(s) for a period of 20 years. A supplementary undertaking will need to be signed if the sponsor lives in Quebec.
The length of the undertaking depends on the category of sponsorship. For spousal sponsorship (including spouses and common-law or conjugal partners), the length of the undertaking is 3 years from the day the sponsored individual becomes a Canadian permanent resident.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are sponsoring their dependent children are not required to meet the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI), provided that their dependent child does not have any children of their own. If the dependent child being sponsored has dependent children of their own, the sponsor must meet the MNI required for their family unit size.
Do I need a job to sponsor a family member?
To sponsor a family member other than a spouse or partner, applicants must meet MNI requirements. While a job is not necessarily required, sponsors must provide proof of sufficient income from the past three years to support their sponsored family members.
How long does sponsorship take?
Sponsorship applications take approximately 12 months to process from start to finish. They are typically processed within 12 months but they can take longer depending on the nature of your case.
If you have a complicated case, or the visa officer requires additional proof of your relationship, your application may experience delays.
The best way to ensure your sponsorship application is processed as quickly as possible is to make sure it is done right the first time. The lawyers and legal professionals at Canadim have helped thousands of spousal sponsorship candidates.
What other options do I have to bring my family member to Canada?
If sponsorship is not an option, your relative may be eligible under another Canadian immigration program. Take our free online assessment today to find out what immigration options are available to you or your family members.
How many relatives can I sponsor to Canada?
There is no limit to the number of eligible family members a Canadian permanent resident or citizen can sponsor. However, applicants must submit separate applications for each eligible family member sponsored.
Sponsoring a family member in Quebec
The federal government gives Quebec more autonomy in determining who will settle in their province. For this reason, permanent residents or citizens that reside in Quebec must first apply to the Quebec Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) for approval to sponsor their eligible family member. MIFI is responsible for approving a sponsorship undertaking for sponsors living in Quebec.
Canadian sponsorship background check
All individuals over the age of 18 applying for Canadian permanent residence must provide a Police Clearance Certificate to confirm they are not criminally inadmissible.
Applicants must obtain police clearances from all countries they have resided in for 6 months or longer since the age of 18.
Canadian sponsorship biometrics
Canada requires most immigration applicants to provide biometrics. Use Canada’s online tool to find out if you need to give your biometrics.
After paying your biometric fee when submitting your application, you will receive a letter from IRCC with instructions on how to provide your biometrics.
Canadian sponsorship medical exam
Individuals applying for Canadian permanent residence must undergo a medical exam to ensure they are not medically inadmissible.
You do not need to submit your medical exam with your application. After submitting your sponsorship application, IRCC will provide instructions on how to complete your medical exam.
The medical exam must be with a doctor on IRCC’s list of panel physicians.
How do I check the status of my sponsorship application?
If you applied for spousal, common-law, or dependent child sponsorship, you may track your application status using Canada’s Permanent Residence Application Tracker portal.
If you are sponsoring another family member, how you check your application status will depend on whether your application was submitted online or through the mail. Use IRCC’s online tool to learn more about how to check the status of your sponsorship application.
Is there a deadline for Canadian sponsorship applications?
Eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents may apply to sponsor their spouse or child at any time.
Candidates applying to sponsor their parents or grandparents must be invited to do so and apply within the deadline provided.
Can I sponsor my brother or sister to come to come to Canada?
It is very difficult to sponsor your sibling to come to Canada as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This may only be done if you meet the criteria for a “Lonely Canadian,” or if your siblings can be included as dependents on your parental sponsorship application.
Can I sponsor my fiancé to come to Canada?
Canada does not provide an option for Canadian permanent residents or citizens to sponsor their fiancé to come to Canada. Canadian citizens and permanent residents must get married to apply under the spousal sponsorship category.
Alternatively, it may be possible to sponsor your fiancé to come to Canada if they qualify as a common-law partner.
Can I sponsor my boyfriend or girlfriend to come to Canada?
Canada does not offer a program to sponsor your boyfriend or girlfriend to come to Canada. You must be common-law partners or married to sponsor your boyfriend or girlfriend to come to Canada.
In very specific circumstances, Canadian permanent residents and citizens may be eligible to sponsor their conjugal partner.
Can I sponsor my friend to come to Canada?
Canada does not offer any program for a permanent resident or citizen to sponsor a friend.
If your friend is interested in immigrating to Canada, they may be eligible under another immigration program.
Is there an age limit for sponsorship in Canada?
To sponsor a family member, Canadian citizens or permanent residents must be at least 18 years old. There is no maximum age limit to sponsor a family member to come to Canada.
Can my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada while their inland spousal sponsorship application is being processed?
If your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with a valid work permit, they may continue to work, without interruption, until their visa expires. If they are living in Canada with a valid study or visitor visa, they may be eligible to apply for an open work permit that allows them to work while their application is being processed.
I am adopting a child. Do I need to wait until the adoption is final before I begin the sponsorship process?
No. You can begin sponsorship if the adoption is in the final stages.