How to Sponsor your Child for Immigration to Canada

Last updated: 12 March 2021

Dependent Child Sponsorship

This comprehensive CanadaVisa page provides you with all the information you need to understand the process of sponsoring your child for immigration to Canada.

Through Family Class Sponsorship, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have dependent or adopted children living abroad can sponsor them to immigrate to Canada.

Find out if you are eligible to sponsor your dependent child


Table of Contents


What is Dependent Child Sponsorship?

The main purpose of the sponsorship of dependent children, which is offered through the Family Class sponsorship, is to enable family members who reside in different countries to be reunited and live together in Canada. More specifically, the program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their children from abroad to Canada as permanent residents.

Dependent children, whether biological or adopted, can be sponsored to live with their parent(s) as permanent residents in Canada.


Am I Eligible to Sponsor my Child?

To sponsor your child to come to Canada, you must:

  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident living in Canada, intending to return to Canada, or a person registered under the Indian Act of Canada;
  • be able to provide for your basic needs and those of your dependent children as well as your spouse, if applicable;
  • be able to prove your relationship to your child
  • not have a criminal record;
  • not be in prison, charged with a serious offence, or bankrupt;
  • not be in default of a previous sponsorship undertaking;
  • not be under immigration investigation;
  • not be receiving income assistance, except for reasons of disability.

Does my Child Qualify for Sponsorship? 

To be eligible for sponsorship, children must fall under the definition of a dependant, meaning they are:

  • the biological or adopted child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • are not married or in a common-law relationship;
  • are under the age of 22.

A child over the age of 22 may also qualify as a dependant providing, they meet the following two requirements:

  • they suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents them from being able to support themselves;
  • they have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22.

What are the Requirements for Sponsoring a Child?

As a sponsor, you will be required to sign an “undertaking” that contractually commits you to providing for your child’s basic needs, such as:

  • housing;
  • clothing;
  • food;
  • medical expenses not provided by the public health system.

The length of the undertaking for biological dependent children or those to be adopted in Canada who are under 22 years of age is 10 years or until they reach 25 years of age, whichever comes first. For dependent children over the age of 22, the duration of the undertaking is 3 years.


How does Sponsoring a Child for Immigration Work?

You will be required to go through four main steps when applying to sponsor a child:

Step 1. Obtain an application package found on the government website; it contains a guide with instructions and forms that will help you complete the process correctly.

Step 2. Pay the online application fee, which includes the processing fee for all persons included in the application, the Right of Permanent Residence Fee, the biometric fee and any other third-party fees, if applicable.

Step 3. Submit your application by following the submission instructions provided in the guide you downloaded.

Step 4. Submit the required supporting documents when prompted to do so by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).


Is the Process of Sponsoring a Child Different in Quebec?

    The province of Quebec has its own immigration procedures and additional steps will have to be taken if you reside in that province.

    You will need to file an application at the federal level with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and at the provincial level with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI).

    Applicants who reside in Quebec will need to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (QSC) and sign an “undertaking” with the province. This undertaking commits you, as a “contractual” sponsor, to provide for the basic needs of the sponsored person and, if applicable, to reimburse the government for any assistance (social assistance) provided to the sponsored person during the sponsorship period.

    The duration of this undertaking is different in Quebec than in the rest of Canada and varies, in the case of children, according to their age.


    What happens after sponsorship? 

    Children sponsored through the Family Class of immigration receive Canadian permanent residence. This includes the right to study and work in Canada.

    Find out if you are eligible to sponsor your dependent child


    Frequently Asked Questions

    To qualify as a dependant child when applying permanent residence in Canada, your child must be under 22 years and not have a spouse or partner.

    If your child is over 22 years of age, they may qualify as a dependant if have depended on you for financial support since before they were 22 and can’t financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.

    Depending on your circumstances, your child may be a principal applicant or a dependent on a sponsorship application:

    • If you are sponsoring only your child, without sponsoring your spouse or partner, you will name your child as the principal applicant on the application. In such a case, you will need to show that the other parent or legal guardian agrees to your child immigrating to Canada;
    • If the child you want to sponsor has a child of his or her own, your grandchild, you will need to include your grandchild as a dependant on the application.
    • If you are sponsoring your spouse or partner and a child (either his or her own child or a child you had together), you will name your spouse or partner as the principal applicant and the child as a dependent on the application.
    • If you want to sponsor your adopted child or an orphaned family member, you will need to refer to specific instructions for sponsoring your adopted child or an orphaned family member.

    Yes. To prove that the eligibility requirements are met, your dependent child and if your dependent child has dependent children of their own, will need to provide:

    • all required forms and documents with their application
    • any additional documents or information that may be requested by IRCC during the processing of the application, such as medical exams and biometric data.

    Yes, but only if your child has:

    • depended on you for financial support since before the age of 22, and
    • is unable to support himself or herself due to a mental or physical illness.

    No. IRCC “locks” the information in an application so that it does not change over time, no matter how long it takes to process. Your child’s age “lock date” for Family Class applications will be the date that IRCC receives your complete application for permanent residence.

    Processing times may vary depending on the child’s country of origin or residence.

    Processing times are generally approximately 12 months but may take longer.

    Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Canada continues to process Family Class applications, but processing delays may be occurring due to border restrictions and administrative delays.

    The best way to avoid delays in processing your application is to ensure that your contact information and application details are current, accurate and complete. Any changes in your living situation or contact information should be reported to IRCC immediately.

    Yes, as a sponsor if you wish to check the status of your child’s application. Once you have submitted your application, you can check its status on the IRCC website.

    If at least one parent (legal parent at birth or biological parent) was born in Canada or became a Canadian citizen before the child was born, your child may already be a Canadian citizen.

    However, if your adopted child was born outside Canada, he or she is not automatically a Canadian citizen.

    To find out for sure, you can apply for a citizenship certificate for your child.

    If you have already become a permanent resident of Canada, you will not be able to add a dependent child to your application.

    If you wish to sponsor your dependant for immigration to Canada, you and your child will have to meet the sponsorship eligibility criteria for Family Class immigration.

    Individuals whose adoption proceedings are in the final phases of processing may begin sponsoring their child before the adoption has been finalized.

    It is important to note that Canada has a separate procedure for sponsoring adopted children.

    All dependent children who are included in a sponsorship application must pass any applicable police and security checks and medical examinations.

    Contact us for Assistance

    Campbell Cohen Senior Partner Canada Immigration Attorney David Cohen

    Campbell Cohen is one of Canada's leading immigration law firms. Led by Attorney David Cohen, Campbell Cohen has over 45 years of experience and features a team of over 60 Canadian immigration attorneys, paralegals, and other dedicated professionals.

    Campbell Cohen uses its dedication and expertise to bring families together in Canada. We provide professional legal services in areas such as sponsoring children, spouses, partners, parents and grandparents, as well as the Super Visa.

    Attorney David Cohen is among Canada's most experienced and respected immigration lawyers and is often invited by the media and other key stakeholders to share his expertise. He founded CanadaVisa.com in 1994 as the online presence of Campbell Cohen. Since then, CanadaVisa has grown into one of the world's most trusted resources on immigration to Canada. Please connect with us so we can support your family sponsorship needs:

    Find out if you are eligible to sponsor your dependent child