Family Sponsorship FAQ
Close relatives of a Canadian citizen or a Canadian permanent resident.
More particularly, to qualify under the Family Sponsorship category, the sponsored person(s) must be related to the Canadian sponsor in one of the following ways:
- Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner; or
- Parent or grandparent; or
- Dependent child; or
- Orphaned, unmarried, and under 18 years of age brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild; or
- Intended adopted child under 18 years of age; or
- One other relative, if the sponsor has no relative listed above and no relatives who are Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents.
Under the Family Sponsorhsip category, the following individuals can be included in the sponsored person's application for a Canada Immigration Visa:
- The spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of the sponsored person
- The dependent children of the sponsored person
- The dependent children of the sponsored person's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner
- The dependent children of the sponsored person's dependent children
- The dependent children of the sponsored person's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner's children
For Family Sponsorship purposes, a dependent child means a child who is:
- Under 19 and unmarried on the date the application for sponsorship is submitted (and still unmarried on the date the child lands in Canada); or
- Of any age or marital status and is a continuously enrolled full-time student, who is financially dependent on his or her parents since before the age of 19 (or since becoming a spouse or common-law partner, if this happened before 19); or
- Is financially dependent on a parent since before the age of 19 because of a disability.
Note: The government of Canada has outlined a plan to increase the maximum age of dependent children that may be sponsored to less than 22 years of age. It is expected that this change will enter into force on October 24, 2017.
No, but whether they are accompanying the sponsored person or not, all of the sponsored person's dependents are required to pass applicable police and security clearances, and medical examinations.
To qualify, the sponsor must be able to demonstrate the financial ability to provide for the essential needs of the sponsored person(s) and any accompanying dependents. This requirement is waived if:
- The person requiring sponsorship is the spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner of the Canadian sponsor; or
- The person requiring sponsorship is the dependent child of the Canadian sponsor.
The sponsor must undertake to provide the sponsored family members with:
- Food, clothing, shelter and other basic requirements of everyday living; and
- Dental and eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The obligation to provide for the essential needs of the sponsored person(s) will only arise if the sponsored person(s) are unable to provide for these needs on their own.
Yes, the undertaking to provide "Essential Needs" can be shared by a co-signer, but only by the sponsor's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner.
If the sponsor does not have the required financial ability, the spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner of the sponsor may act as a co-signer to the undertaking. In such case, their combined financial abilities will be assessed, and the co-signer will be equally liable in case of default.
If the combined financial abilities of the sponsor and the co-signer still do not meet the minimum requirements, then the Family Sponsorship Application will be refused.
The financial ability requirements do not apply if the sponsored person is a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner or a dependent child of the sponsor.
In addition to the required financial ability, the Canadian sponsor must:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at least 18 years of age;
- Be physically residing in Canada, except for Canadian citizens sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child, as long as the sponsor can demonstrate the intention to return to Canada by the time the sponsored family members lands in Canada;
- Not be in prison;
- Not be an undischarged bankrupt;
- Not be receiving government welfare assistance, except for disability;
- Not be under a removal order, if a permanent resident;
- Not be convicted of a sexual offence, or any offence against the person being sponsored in the five years before the date of application;
- Not be in default of court-ordered support payments to an ex-spouse or child;
- Not be behind in payments on any immigration loans; and
- Not be the sponsor, where the sponsored family members recieved social assistance while the undertaking was in effect.
The sponsor and the sponsor's co-signer, if applicable, are obliged to sign an undertaking with the Government of Canada promising to provide for the essential needs of the Sponsored person(s) for a period of time following the arrival of the sponsored person(s) in Canada.
The purpose of this agreement is to ensure that the sponsored family members do not become dependent on Canadian public welfare assistance. A similar provincial undertaking is required for sponsors who reside in Quebec.
The undertaking, once made, cannot be cancelled or modified by the sponsor at any time after the Sponsored family members have arrived in Canada.
Failure to meet any of the commitments provided for in the undertaking may result in legal action being taken against the sponsor and the co-signer.
The sponsor is obliged to enter into a sponsorship Agreement with the sponsored person(s). By signing this agreement, the sponsor agrees to provide for the "Essential needs" of the sponsored person(s), and the sponsored person(s) promise to make every effort to become self-supporting.
The sponsor and the sponsor's co-signer, if applicable, must complete and submit:
- An "Application to sponsor and Undertaking"
- A "Sponsorship Agreement"
- A "Sponsorship Evaluation"
- A "Spouse/Common-law Partner Questionnaire"
- Government processing fees, and
- If applicable, a "Use of Representative" form
The following additional documents are required:
- The "Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union" form (only required where the sponsor's co-signer is a common-law partner);
- Documents supporting the sponsor's Sponsorship Evaluation, which may include:
- Tax returns
- Notice of Assessment from Revenue Canada
- Pay stubs or letters from employers indicating salary and length of time employed
- Proof of other income such as rental and pension income, and
- Proof of financial obligations such as mortgages, property/school taxes, personal loans/lines of credit, alimony payments and insurance payments.
- Documents demonstrating the Canadian status of the sponsor, which may include a:
- Permanent Resident Card; or
- Record of Landing; or
- Canadian Birth Certificate; or
- Citizenship Card; or
- Certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad together with Certificate of Retention of Canadian Citizenship; and
- Documents demonstrating relationship to the sponsored person(s), which may include:
- Marriage certificates
- Adoption orders
- Passports indicating identity of parents/children
- If applicable, documents proving that all previous marriages or common-law partnerships have been severed prior to entering the relationship with the spouse or common-law partner to be sponsored
- Documents showing that the sponsor who currently resides outside Canada intends to return to Canada by the time the sponsored person(s) land(s) in Canada.
If the sponsor resides in the Province of Quebec, corresponding forms provided by the Quebec Government will be required in addition to the Federal forms.
The sponsored person(s) must submit an Application for Permanent Residence in Canada and an Additional Family Information Form, as well as a Use of Representative Form, if applicable. The sponsored person's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and each dependent child aged 18 or over (whether accompanying the sponsored person or not) will each be required to complete and submit a Schedule 1 form. If the sponsored Person is a spouse or common-law partner, he/she will need to complete a sponsored Spouse/Partner Questionnaire. Applicants destined to the Province of Quebec will be required to complete an Application for a Quebec Certificate of Selection form. All sponsored persons must submit proof of having completed a medical examination with a Citizenship and Immigration Canada designated medical practitioner.
The following additional documents are required:
- Statutory documents, such as:
- Police Clearance Certificates
- Birth certificates
- Household register forms
- Valid passport and ID cards, etc. and
- Documents proving the relationship to the sponsor, such as:
- Marriage certificates
- Birth certificates
- Household register forms
If the Application is to be processed outside of Canada, the sponsor must submit the sponsorship Application to the Canadian Immigration Case Processing Centre located in Mississauga, Ontario.
If the application is to be processed inside Canada, the sponsor must submit the Sponsorship Application to the Canadian Immigration Case Processing Centre located in Vegreville, Alberta.
If the Application is to be processed outside of Canada, the sponsored person's Application:
- Is submitted along with the sponsorship Application to the Canadian Immigration Case Processing Centre located in Mississauga, Ontario. Once the sponsor has been approved, the sponsored person's Application will be forwarded to the appropriate Canadian Immigration Visa Office located outside of Canada.
If the Application is to be processed inside Canada, the sponsored person's Application:
- Is submitted along with the Sponsorship Application to the Canadian Immigration Case Processing Centre located in Vegreville, Alberta, where it will be processed once the sponsor has been approved.
A sponsored person, inside Canada, who is the spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner or dependent child of the sponsor can apply from within Canada.
Moreover, for humanitarian and compassionate reasons, other sponsored persons may apply from within Canada. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada must be convinced that the sponsored person(s) would suffer excessive hardship while waiting for their application to be processed from outside of Canada.
19. Can a sponsored person work or study in Canada if their application is being processed in Canada?
While waiting for their Canada Immigration Visas, sponsored persons are allowed to work or study in Canada only after the Sponsorship Application has been approved in principle by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They will then be granted an Open Work Permit or a Study Permit.
Of course, if the sponsored person was already in Canada on a valid Work Permit or Study Permit, they may continue to work or study as the case may be.
In certain cases, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada may want to meet with the sponsored person(s) and their sponsor when they have concerns as to the genuineness of the family relationship claimed.
Spousal, Common-law or Conjugal Sponsorship Applications and the sponsorship of dependent children are a priority at all Canadian Immigration Visa Offices and such applications are processed ahead of all other applications for permanent residence in Canada.
For those married in Canada, same-sex marriages are valid for sponsorship of a spouse.
For those married outside Canada, same-sex marriages are valid if the marriage was recognized in the country in which it took place. Same-sex common-law and conjugal relationships are valid within and outside Canada for sponsorship of a partner.