To be eligible to sponsor, one must be:
- Minimum 18 years old of age at the time of application.
- Permanent resident or a Canadian citizen.
- living in Canada. If you’re a Canadian citizen and are living outside Canada, you prove that you will move back to Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident. A permanent resident living abroad is not eligible to sponsor.
- be able to provide basic needs for yourself, your spouse, your dependent children and your spouse’s children if any.
Note: There is no requirement to show minimum income (low-income-cut-off (LICO)) in order to sponsor spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorships. However, if either a spouse or partner you’re sponsoring has as dependent child who has dependent children of their own, or a dependent child you are sponsoring has a dependent child of their own, you must meet a minimum LICO score.
Who you can sponsor
You can sponsor the following:
- your spouse or common-law partner who lives with you in Canada, and their dependent children
- your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner who lives overseas, and their dependent children
- your dependent children
Your obligations as a sponsor
As a sponsor you will have to sign an undertaking, which is a promise that you will provide financial support for the basic needs of your spouse or partner and their dependent children.
As a sponsor it is your responsibility to make sure that sure the people you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive any social assistance, as a sponsor you are liable to pay back what they received during the time you are legally responsible for them. You will be barred from sponsoring anyone else until the full amount has been repaid.
Can you cancel the undertaking after it’s been approved?
In case you change your mind after you submit the sponsorship application and undertaking, you must inform IRCC it in writing before any final decision is made on the application. You can only withdraw an undertaking if the withdrawal request is approved by the IRCC.
Duration of undertaking
If you are sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner the duration of undertaking is 3 years from the day your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident.
If you’re sponsoring a dependent child over 22 years of age the length of undertaking is 3 years from the day your dependent child (or the dependent child of your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner) over 22 years of age becomes a permanent resident.
If you’re sponsoring a dependent child under 22 years of age the length of undertaking is 10 years from the day your dependent child (or the dependent child of your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner) under 22 years of age becomes a permanent resident, or until the child becomes 22 years old, whichever comes first.
You may not be able to sponsor if you…
- are sponsoring a spouse or partner but you signed an undertaking for a previous spouse or partner and it hasn’t been three years since they became a permanent resident,
- previously sponsored someone and did not pay back any social assistance that they received while the undertaking was in place.
- are in default on an immigration loan or a performance bond
- did not pay court-ordered alimony or child support
- have declared bankruptcy which has not been discharged
- were convicted of
- an offence of a sexual nature,
- a violent crime,
- an offence against a relative that caused bodily harm or
- threatened or attempted to commit any of the above offences—depending on the nature of the offence, how long ago it happened and if you received a pardon
- are sponsoring a spouse or partner and you were previously sponsored as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner and became a permanent resident of Canada less than five years ago,
- are under a removal order,
- are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison,
- have already applied to sponsor your current spouse or partner and haven’t received a decision.
Choose the class of application
- If you’re sponsoring your conjugal partner or dependent child, you must submit an application under the Family Class. These applications are processed outside Canada.
- If you’re sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner, you may sponsor them under the Family Class or under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class.
If you’re married
You can sponsor the person as your spouse if your marriage is a legally valid civil marriage. Opposite and same-gender marriages will be recognized for immigration purposes, where the marriage was legally performed in Canada, or if performed outside of Canada, the marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place and in Canada.
If you’re in a common-law relationship
In order to sponsor the person as your common-law partner (same or opposite gender)you must have been living or have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship.
If you’re in conjugal relationship
A conjugal partner is:
- a person who is living outside Canada,
- in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year, and
- could not live with the sponsor as a couple because of reasons beyond their control (e.g. immigration barrier, religious reasons or sexual orientation).
This term applies to both opposite and same-gender couples.
You can sponsor a conjugal partner if:
- there is a significant degree of attachment between the two of you, implying not just a physical relationship but a mutually interdependent relationship, and
- you’ve been in a genuine (real) relationship for at least 12 months where marriage or cohabitation (living together) hasn’t been possible because of barriers such as sexual orientation, religious faith, etc.
IMPORTANT: If you’re applying in the conjugal partner class, the person being sponsored cannot be living in Canada.