Family Sponsorship – Canada
If you are a Canadian permanent resident or citizen with a family member who wants to immigrate to Canada, you may be able to help them become a permanent resident. Family reunification remains one of the pillars of the Canadian immigration system.
The Family Class Sponsorship Program reunites families by enabling adult permanent residents or citizens to sponsor a relative for immigration to Canada. To be eligible, the person seeking sponsorship must be a:
- Spouse, common-law or conjugal partner
- Dependent child
- Sibling, nephew, niece, or grandchild under 18 years who is unmarried and whose parents are deceased
The person sponsored must live outside Canada, unless they are residing legally in Canada temporarily, for example with a work or study permit.
What is a Spouse/Partner?
Individuals under these categories are eligible for sponsorship:
- Spouse: legally valid marriage in country of origin and under Canadian law
- Common-law partner: At least 1 year of uninterrupted cohabitation in a conjugal relationship
- Conjugal partner: Conjugal relationship for at least 12 months (permanence and commitment similar to marriage or common-law) where couple is prevented from living together due to immigration barriers, religious reasons, sexual orientation or marital status (e.g. married to someone else, where divorce is not possible in country of origin)
- Same-sex relationships: considered valid for immigration purposes under these categories
Who can Sponsor?
A sponsor must be an adult Canadian permanent resident or citizen over the age of 18. A sponsor must reside in Canada, unless they are a citizen currently living abroad and planning to reside in Canada once the sponsored individual arrives.
Why Legal Help for Family Sponsorship is Important
Although the government prioritizes the processing of sponsorship applications, being successful is by no means a given. All of the requirements must be met, and even the slightest error on an application can lead to a refusal. In order to take advantage of this great opportunity, individuals should enlist the help of a legal professional who knows how to send a package that will provide an applicant with the best chance to be sponsored.
Spouse or Common-Law Partner Sponsorships
Take advantage of an accelerated 12-month processing period by sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner for Canadian permanent residence, whether they are living in Canada with a valid, temporary visa, or residing abroad. Applicants who are living in Canada may also qualify for an open work permit, giving couples the chance to relieve some of their financial burdens.
A spousal open work permit gives sponsored individuals the ability to work in Canada while their sponsorship application is being processed. Since Canada recognizes common-law partnerships, you may be eligible to apply for spousal sponsorship if you and your partner are not married but have been living together for a period of at least one year.
Child or Other Dependent Sponsorship
If you are immigrating to Canada, you can choose to include your children as accompanying dependents on your application for permanent residence. However, if you choose not to include them, or are otherwise unable to do so, they may still be able to join you in Canada later. Canada’s child sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their biological or adopted children under the age of 22 for permanent residence, as long as they are unmarried and have no children of their own.
Parent or Grandparent Sponsorship
Canada’s commitment to family reunification extends to parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents through the parent and grandparent sponsorship program. In order to sponsor a parent or grandparent, citizens and permanent residents will be required to demonstrate that they can financially support their family by meeting the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for the size of their family unit. They must also agree to financially support their sponsored family members, if needed. Sponsors who are unable to permanently support their parent or grandparent may be eligible for a Super Visa, a long-term, multiple-entry visa for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Notably, the sponsor must agree to financially support their family member in the case that their relative cannot provide for their own needs. This is to ensure that the new permanent resident will not require government assistance. The length of this financial obligation depends on the individual being sponsored:
- Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner: 3 years
- Dependent child: 10 years OR when the child reaches age 22 (whichever comes first); 3 years for a dependent child over age 22.
- Parent or grandparent: 20 years
Note that this financial obligation does not disappear if the sponsored person becomes a citizen, divorces or separates from the sponsor, or moves away from Canada.
Contact our experts to know more about the hassle-free process. We are just a call away to assist you with your immigration plan.
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