Family class Sponsorship

Family reunification is one of the three pillars of CIC’s immigration program and the main objective is to reunite close family members in Canada. The Family Class Application  allows  permanent resident or citizen of Canada to sponsor family members  to immigrate to Canada.

Persons who can be sponsored in the family class include the spouse, common-law partner (including same-sex partner), conjugal partner, dependent children, parents, grand-parents, children adopted from abroad, and other relatives in special circumstances.

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Become a sponsor

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.

Parents and Grandparents Program: PGP Invitations to Apply

The first step to sponsor your parents or grandparents is filling out the interest to sponsor form.. The details of 2020 PGP program will be available sometime in January 2020. If you get an invitation to sponsor then you will have to submit 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.

 Who can sponsor a parent or grandparent

You can sponsor your own parents and grandparents if:

  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, residing in Canada  and are at least 18 years old.
  • you have enough income to support the your parents or grand parents.

If you wish to sponsor you will have to sign an undertaking which is a promise to financially take care of the persons you are sponsoring for a period of time. By signing this undertaking you will be liable to provide financial support for your sponsored family members for 20 years, starting when they become permanent residents

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
  • you’re a temporary resident in Canada
  • you don’t have enough income to support the persons you want to sponsor.
  • are in jail, prison, or penitentiary
  • didn’t give the financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor someone else in the past.
  • declared bankruptcy and are not discharged.
  • 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

Who can be sponsored

You can sponsor your own parents and grandparents, related by blood or adoption. You can include your brothers and sisters, or half brothers and sisters, if they qualify as dependent children.

Income requirements for sponsorship.

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.

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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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 agreement were 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)

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