Family class Sponsorship

You may be eligible to sponsor a spouse or a common-law or conjugal partner or dependent children living outside of Canada if:

  • The person you want to sponsor is a member of the family class. If he or she is not, you will not to be able to sponsor them.
  • You are 18 years of age or olde
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident

You must reside in Canada in order to sponsor your spouse, common-law, conjugal partner or dependent children who have no dependent children.  In case you are living outside of Canada at the time of the application then you must have intention and plan to return to Canada when your relative immigrate.

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Become a sponsor

You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident,
  • living in Canada:
    • if you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside of Canada.
  • able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;

You must also be able to show that you can provide basic needs for:

  • yourself,
  • your spouse or partner,
  • your spouse or partner’s dependent child(ren) (if applicable)
  • your dependent child(ren) (if you’re sponsoring only your dependent child).

Note: In most cases, there is no low-income-cut-off (LICO) for 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, which is determined by the Canadian government each year.

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

When you agree to be a sponsor, you must sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of your spouse or partner and their dependent children.

Basic needs are:

  • food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living,
  • dental care, eye care and other health needs that aren’t covered by public health services.

Before signing the undertaking agreement, you must make sure the people you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll have to pay back what they received during the time you are legally responsible for them. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you’ve repaid the amount. For more information, see the Defaults section below.

The undertaking is a binding promise of support, meaning that it is your responsibility to support the applicant(s) for the length of the undertaking period even if your situation changes. The undertaking will stay in effect for the length of the undertaking period, even if your situation changes. The undertaking won’t be cancelled, even if:

  • the person you sponsor becomes a Canadian citizen
  • you become divorced, separated or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down
  • you or the person you sponsor move to another province or country
  • you have financial problems

May I cancel my undertaking after it’s been approved?

If you change your mind after you submit the sponsorship application and undertaking, you must write us a letter before a final decision is made on the file and submit the letter as an attachment through the IRCC Webform. You can only withdraw an undertaking if we approve the withdrawal.

Length of undertaking

You’re sponsoring a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner

Length of undertaking is 3 years from the day your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident.

You’re sponsoring a dependent child over 22 years of age

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.

You’re sponsoring a dependent child under 22 years of age

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. The length of undertaking for residents of Quebec is slightly different.

Note: You’ll be in default if your relative gets social assistance from the government while the undertaking is in effect.

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

    For more information. See Defaults below.

  • 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

      For more information. See Sponsorship Bar for Violent Crime

  • 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,

    For more information. See Five-year Sponsorship Bar

  • 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.
  • When you sponsor a spouse or common-law partner, you must specify the “Class of Application” on the checklist you’ll submit as the covering page for your application package.

Apply under the Family Class if:

  • the person you want to sponsor lives outside Canada
  • the person you want to sponsor currently lives with you in Canada but doesn’t plan to stay in Canada while the application is being processed
  • you plan to appeal if the application is refused
  • you’re sponsoring your conjugal partner or dependent child

Apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class if your spouse or common-law partner:

  • lives with you in Canada
  • has valid immigration status in Canada
  • would like to apply for, and qualifies for, an Open Work Permit so that they can work while the application is being processed

Sponsoring your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner

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:
    1. was legally performed in Canada, or
    2. if performed outside of Canada, the marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it took place and in Canada.

Note: IRCC no longer recognizes marriages performed outside of Canada by proxy, telephone, fax, Internet and other forms of marriage where one or both persons were not physically present at the ceremony. For more information, see Operational Bulletin 613.

If you’re in a common-law relationship

You can sponsor the person as your common-law partner (same or opposite gender) as long as you’ve 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.

Sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner who lives with you in Canada

You can apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class if your spouse or common-law partner cohabits (lives) with you in Canada and has temporary resident status.

Your spouse or common-law partner can’t become a permanent resident in Canada if they’re inadmissible for any reason other than not having legal immigration status in Canada. A public policy also covers spouses and common-law partners who will be assessed for permanent residence even if they have no legal immigration status in Canada. Before applying, your spouse or common-law partner in Canada must resolve any other situation that made them inadmissible.

To qualify under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, the sponsored person must:

  • be the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Canada and
  • have legal immigration status

Your spouse or partner may be eligible for an open work permit. For more information, see the section about Working and studying for spouses and partners below.

Important information: if your spouse or partner is already working or studying in Canada and would like to continue, they must apply for an extension before their work or study permit expires.

Leaving Canada can automatically cancel temporary resident status as a visitor, student or worker.

If your spouse or common-law partner leaves Canada before becoming a permanent resident, they may not be allowed to come back. This is especially true if they need a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA to enter Canada.

If your spouse or partner can’t return to Canada, you must submit a new overseas sponsorship application.

Working and studying – spouses and common-law partners in Canada

If your spouse or common-law partner already has a work or study permit, they may continue to work or study as long as the permit is valid. It is illegal to work or study without authorization from IRCC.

Can my spouse or partner work in Canada?

If your spouse or common-law partner already has a work permit, they may continue to work as long as the permit is valid.

If your spouse or common-law partner is living in Canada with you and is applying as a member of the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, they can also apply for an open work permit when they apply for permanent residence. They must include a completed Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker form [IMM 5710] (PDF, 484.21KB) and the correct fee, explaining that they are applying for an open work permit.

If your spouse or common-law partner has already submitted an application for permanent residence but hasn’t applied for an open work permit, they can submit a completed IMM 5710 and the correct fee

Sponsoring your dependent children

You can sponsor your dependent children outside Canada who meet the following definition:

Definitions of dependent children

Not sure if your child is a dependant? Check if your child qualifies by answering a few questions.

Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner can be considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the day we receive your complete application:

  • They’re under 22 years old, and
  • They don’t have a spouse or common-law partner

Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:

  • They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
  • They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition

With the exception of age, dependants must continue to meet these requirements until we finish processing your application.

If your child’s age was locked in on or before October 23, 2017, a previous definition of dependent children may apply.

Important: If the person you are sponsoring (or their child) has one or more children in the sole custody of their other parent, you must still declare the child in the application. Even if there’s a written agreement or court order to show that the sponsored person doesn’t have custody or responsibility, you must list the child on the application and this child must do a medical exam. Doing this gives the sponsored person the possibility to sponsor their child as a member of the family class in the future, when there may be changes to the custody or living arrangements. If a permanent resident doesn’t declare all their family members on their application, they could risk losing their permanent resident status.

The person you’re sponsoring has a child in the sole custody of a previous spouse. Do they need to include this child in their application?

Yes. Children in the custody of a previous spouse or partner are considered dependent children.

Even if there’s a written agreement or court order to show that the sponsored person doesn’t have custody or responsibility, you must list the child on the application and this child must do a medical exam.

Doing this gives the sponsored person the possibility to sponsor their child as a member of the family class in the future, when there may be changes to the custody or living arrangements. Also, if a permanent resident doesn’t declare all their family members on their application, they could risk losing their permanent resident status.

How to apply

To apply to sponsor your spouse, partner or child, there are 2 applications:

  1. You must apply to become a sponsor.
  2. Your spouse, partner or child must apply for permanent residence.

Send both the sponsorship and the permanent residence applications together at the same time.

Who is eligible to sponsor a parent or grandparent

You can sponsor your own parents and grandparents if:

To become a sponsor, you must promise to financially take care of the persons you are sponsoring for a period of time. We call this promise an undertaking.

The undertaking commits you to:

  • providing financial support for your sponsored family members for 20 years, starting when they become permanent residents
  • repaying any provincial social assistance (money from the government) your sponsored family members get during that time

Also, you and your sponsored family members need to agree to certain responsibilities during the undertaking period. We call this the sponsorship agreement.

The sponsorship agreement means that:

  • you’ll provide for the basic needs of your sponsored family members
  • the person you sponsor will make every effort to support themselves and their family members

When you apply, you’ll have to complete and sign a form that includes the undertaking and the sponsorship agreement.

Who can’t sponsor a parent or grandparent

You can’t sponsor your parents and grandparents if:

  • you’re less than 18 years old
  • you won’t live in Canada when you apply to sponsor your parents and grandparents and/or when your parents and grandparents become permanent residents
    • Your primary residential address must be in Canada when you submit your application and until we make a decision on your application.
  • you’re not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
  • you’re a temporary resident, that is you’re visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit
  • your permanent residence application is still in process
    • You must have permanent resident status at the time you submit your sponsorship application.
  • your proof of income shows you don’t have enough money to support the persons you want to sponsor

You may not be eligible to sponsor your parents and grandparents if you:

  • are in jail, prison, or penitentiary
  • didn’t pay back:
    • an immigration loan
    • a performance bond
    • court-ordered family support payments such as alimony or child support Footnote*
  • didn’t give the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor someone else in the pastFootnote*
  • declared bankruptcy and are not discharged Footnote*
  • receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence inside or outside Canada
  • can’t legally stay in Canada and must leave the country because you received a Removal Order

There may be other reasons that make you ineligible to sponsor your parents and grandparents. If we determine you’re not eligible to sponsor, we’ll tell you why.

Who you can sponsor

You can sponsor your own parents and grandparents, related by blood or adoption.

In case of divorce or separation, you can sponsor your parents’ and your grandparents’ spouses, or conjugal or common-law partners.

In the application, you can only include your brothers and sisters, or half brothers and sisters, if they qualify as dependent children.

You may sponsor more than 1 person or couple if you meet the income requirements for all the people you want sponsor and their dependants (spouse, partner and children).

The people you sponsor must also be eligible

To show they meet the eligibility requirements, your parents and grandparents and their dependants must provide:

About the process

If you submit the interest to sponsor form and you’re invited to submit a complete application, you can sponsor your parents and grandparents to become permanent residents of Canada.

If you do, you must:

  • support them and their dependants financially
  • make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government

The interest to sponsor form 2019 is closed right now

The first step to sponsor your parents or grandparents is filling out the interest to sponsor form.

We’ve already received enough interest to sponsor forms. The form is closed for now.

The Interest to sponsor form was available from this page for a limited time on January 28, 2019.

If you successfully submitted the interest to sponsor form

After you successfully submitted the interest to sponsor form, you saw a page with your confirmation number. Keep this number for your records. You can use it later to check if you have been invited to apply.

We’ve also sent you an email to confirm that we’ve received your form.

You can’t modify the interest to sponsor form after you’ve submitted it. If you made a mistake on your interest to sponsor form, find out how to correct a mistake or update your information.

Invitations to submit a complete application

We’ll invite potential sponsors to submit a complete application in the same order we received the interest to sponsor forms.

We’ll start sending invitations after we review the submissions and remove duplicates.

Use your confirmation number to find out if you’re invited to apply.

We invite potential sponsors by email. To make sure you don’t miss our email:

  • Check the same email account you used on the interest to sponsor form.
  • Check the junk mail folder to see if the email from us is there.
  • Let us know if your email address has changed.

If you successfully submitted the interest to sponsor form and you’re not invited in 2019, we’ll keep your submission and contact information. Make sure you keep your email address up to date.

If you didn’t submit the interest to sponsor form

We may open the interest to sponsor form again in 2019 if we need more potential sponsors.

If we open the form again, we’ll announce it on this Web page and on our:

If you’d like your parents and grandparents to come to Canada, the super visa is another option. Your parents and grandparents may be eligible to apply for a super visa to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time.

We have finished inviting potential sponsors for 2019

In 2019, the interest to sponsor form was open for a limited time, and we accepted 27,000 submissions on a first-in basis.

On April 24, 2019, we started inviting potential sponsors to submit a complete application. On April 27, 2019, we finished sending invitations to all potential sponsors.

You can find the status of your invitation on this page. You’ll need your confirmation number to find your invitation status.

Invitations to apply

If you received an invitation, we must receive your complete application on or before June 28, 2019.

If we receive your application after the deadline, we’ll return it to you. You can’t delay your invitation and apply later. You won’t get another invitation.

How to apply

If you’re invited to apply to sponsor your parents and grandparents, there are 2 applications:

  1. You must apply to become a sponsor.
  2. Your parents or grandparents must apply for permanent residence.

Send both the sponsorship and the permanent residence applications together at the same time.

We must receive your application package 60 days from the date of your invitation. The deadline is clearly indicated in your invitation to apply.

There are 6 steps to apply to sponsor your parents and grandparents.

1. Submit the interest to sponsor form

The first step to sponsor your parents or grandparents is filling out the interest to sponsor form. It’s available at the beginning of the year for a limited time.

After the form closes, we review submissions and remove duplicates.

2. Get an invitation to submit a complete application

We’ll invite potential sponsors to submit a complete application in the same order we receive the interest to sponsor forms online.

How much income do I need to sponsor my parents and grandparents?

You, the sponsor (and your co-signer, if applicable) must prove that you have enough income to support all the persons you’ll be financially responsible for, including yourself, once you become a sponsor.

If you’re invited to apply, you’ll have to provide proof that you meet the income requirements for each of the 3 taxation years right before the date of your application.

The following table applies to residents of all provinces except Quebec. If you live in Quebec, the Quebec ministry in charge of immigration will assess your income.

Total number of persons you would be responsible for Minimum income required for the 3 taxation years right before the date of your application
2018Footnote1 2017Footnote1 2016Footnote1 2015Footnote1
2 persons $40,379 $39,813 $39,372 $38,618
3 persons $49,641 $48,945 $48,404 $47,476
4 persons $60,271 $59,426 $58,768 $57,642
5 persons $68,358 $67,400 $66,654 $65,377
6 persons $77,095 $76,015 $75,174 $73,733
7 persons $85,835 $84,631 $83,695 $82,091
If more than 7 persons, for each additional person, add:

To prove you meet the income requirement, you must provide your Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the last 3 taxation years before you apply.

  • If you don’t have your 2018 Notice of Assessment when you apply, you must submit your Notices of Assessment from 2017, 2016 and 2015.
  • If you have your 2018 Notice of Assessment when you apply, you must submit your Notices of Assessment from 2018, 2017 and 2016.

The easiest way to provide your proof of income is to give us permission to get your Notices of Assessment directly from the CRA on your behalf.

Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild

You can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild only if they meet all of these conditions:

  • they’re related to you by blood or adoption
  • both their mother and father passed away
  • they’re under 18 years of age
  • they’re single (not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship)

You can’t sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild if:

  • one of their parents is still alive
  • no one knows where their parents are
  • their parents abandoned them
  • someone else other than their parents is taking care of them while one or both their parents are alive
  • their parent is in jail or otherwise detained

Other relative

You may sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, of any age, if you meet all of these conditions:

  • you (the person who wants to sponsor your relative) don’t have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a:
    • spouse
    • common-law partner
    • conjugal partner
    • son or daughter
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • orphaned brother or sister
    • orphaned nephew or niece
    • orphaned grandchild
  • you (the potential sponsor) don’t have any relatives (aunt or uncle or any of the relatives listed above), who is a:
    • Canadian citizen
    • permanent resident
    • registered Indian under the Indian Act

If the relative you want to sponsor has a spouse, partner, or dependent children who will come with them to Canada, you must include them on the same sponsorship application.

There are two stages in the process for your eligible relatives to become permanent residents.

  1. You apply to sponsor your relatives.
  2. Your family members must apply for permanent residence.

You must send both your sponsorship application and the permanent residence application for your relatives at the same time.

To apply as a sponsor, you must be at least 18 years of age and a:

  • Canadian citizen or
  • person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or
  • permanent resident of Canada

Sponsoring an eligible relative

You can sponsor certain relatives if you’re 18 years of age or older and a:

  • Canadian citizen or
  • person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or
  • permanent resident of Canada

You must live in Canada to sponsor eligible relatives unless you:

  • are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and
  • plan to return to Canada when your relatives immigrate and
  • are sponsoring your:
  • spouse or
  • common-law or conjugal partner or
  • dependent children who have no dependent children

If you live in Quebec, you must also meet Quebec’s conditions to be a sponsor after we approve you as a sponsor. This includes signing an “undertaking” with the province. This is a contract that binds your sponsorship.

Your responsibilities

When you sponsor a relative to become a permanent resident of Canada, you must:

  • meet set income guidelines
  • agree in writing to give financial support to your relative and any other eligible relatives coming with them:
    • beginning on the date they become a permanent resident
    • for up to 20 years (depending on their age and how you’re related)

The person you sponsor must sign an agreement saying they will make the effort to support themselves. This includes sponsored dependent children 18 or older. Dependent children under 19 don’t have to sign this agreement.

Who isn’t eligible to sponsor a relative

You may not be able to sponsor a relative if you:

  • are in prison
  • have not paid your alimony or child support payments
  • have declared bankruptcy and haven’t been released from it yet
  • got social assistance for reasons other than being disabled
  • didn’t pay back an immigration loan, made late payments or missed payments
  • sponsored another relative in the past and didn’t meet the terms of the sponsorship agreementwere convicted of a violent crime, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence, depending on details of the case, such as:
    • the type of offence
    • how long ago it was
    • whether a record suspension was issued (formerly called “pardons” in Canada)