Through the Family Class category of Canadian immigration, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor close family members for Canadian immigration.

In order for a Family Class application to be successful, both the sponsor in Canada and their sponsored family member must meet immigration requirements. These requirements differ depending under which program the application is submitted.

Family Sponsorship assessment

Find out if you and/or your family members are eligible for sponsorship with our free assessment.

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Spouse or Common Law Partner Sponsorship

Requirements for the Sponsor:

  • The sponsor must be at least 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen;
  • The sponsor cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence; and
  • The sponsor cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the last 5 years.

Requirements for the Sponsored Person:

  • The sponsored person must be at least 16 years of age and
  • The sponsored person must not be too closely related by blood to the sponsor.

Requirements for the nature of the relationship:

The applicant must prove that the relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored person qualifies under one of three categories:

  • Spouse: This means that the Sponsor and the Sponsored Person are legally married. For those married within Canada, a Certificate of Marriage from the province or territory where the marriage took place will show that the marriage is valid. Note that same-sex marriages performed within Canada are valid for spousal sponsorship. If the marriage took place outside of Canada, it must be valid under the law of the country where it took place as well as under Canadian federal law. Same-sex marriages that took place outside of Canada are not valid for spousal sponsorship, but an application can be made under either the common-law partner or conjugal partner categories if such a relationship can be proven.
  • Common-law partner: In order to establish a common-law relationship, the Sponsor and the Sponsored Person must cohabit continuously for at least one year, excluding brief absences for business or family reasons.
  • Conjugal partner: Conjugal partners can be of either opposite-sex or same-sex. A sponsored person is defined as a conjugal partner if:
    • Exceptional circumstances beyond their control have prevented the applicants from qualifying as common-law partners or spouses, such as immigration barriers or legal restrictions limiting divorce or same-sex relationships; and
    • The applicants have had a mutually dependent relationship for at least one year with the same level of commitment as a marriage or a common-law union. This can require a demonstration of emotional ties and intimacy, financial closeness, such as joint ownership of assets or mutual financial support, and efforts to spend time together and reunite.

An individual cannot apply to become a sponsor if he or she:

  • did not pay an immigration loan, a performance bond and/or family support payments;
  • failed to support a previously-sponsored relative, which resulted in the sponsored individual seeking social assistance to meet his or her basic needs;
  • is under a removal order;
  • is in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison;
  • receives social assistance for reasons other than a disability;
  • have filed for bankruptcy and have not received an 'order of discharge' by the court (he or she is still going through the process of bankruptcy);
  • were sponsored and held permanent resident status for less than five years;
  • sponsored another spouse/partner previously and three years have not passed since the sponsored spouse/partner became a Canadian permanent resident;
  • have already submitted an application to sponsor his or her current spouse/partner/child and a decision was not yet made on his or her submitted application;
  • were convicted of a violent or sexual offence or an offence that caused,attempted to cause or threatened to cause bodily harm to a relative. 

Parent and Grandparent Family Class Sponsorship

Requirements for the Sponsor:

  • The sponsor and their relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits the sponsor to provide financial support to their relative, if necessary. If sponsoring a person coming to the Province of Quebec, an "undertaking" with the Province must be signed.
  • The sponsor must promise to provide financial support for the relative and any other eligible relatives accompanying them for a period of 20 years. The time period begins the day the parent or grandparent becomes a permanent resident.
  • The sponsor must meet the minimum income threshold for this program.

Requirements for the Sponsored Person:

  • The sponsored person must be the parent(s) or grandparent(s) of the sponsor.

Parent and Grandparent Super Visa Sponsorship

Requirements for the Sponsor:

  • The sponsor must be the child or grandchild of the sponsored person;
  • The sponsor must provide a written commitment of financial support; and
  • The sponsor must meet the minimum income threshold for this program.

Requirements for the Sponsored Person:

  • The sponsored person must be the parent or grandparent of the sponsor;
  • The sponsored person must be admissible to Canada as a visitor;
  • The sponsored person must prove that he or she has bought Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year; and
  • The sponsored person must undergo an Immigration Medical Examination.

Dependent Child Sponsorship

Requirements for the Sponsor:

  • The sponsor must be 18 years of age;
  • The sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident living in Canada or a Canadian citizen; and
  • The sponsor cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under a removal order (if a permanent resident) or charged with a serious offence.

Requirements for the Sponsored Person:

  • The sponsored person must be in one of the following situations of dependency:
    • Less than 22 years of age and not a spouse or common-law partner; or
    • Is 22 years of age or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

Requirements for nature of the relationship:

  • The Sponsored Person must be either:
    • The biological child of the parent if the child has not been adopted by a person other than the spouse or common-law partner; or
    • The adopted child of the parent.

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