Family Sponsorship Immigration Overview
As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor family members to migrate to Canada and obtain permanent residency. This allows them to study, work, and live in Canada. Additionally, Canada immigration offers work permits for international students and opportunities for family immigration.
To be a sponsor:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or an individual registered under the Canadian Indian Act.
- Both you and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement, stating that you will financially support the relative if required. The agreement also outlines the commitment of the sponsored person to make efforts to support themselves.
- Additional obligations may be applicable depending on the person being sponsored.
Who you can sponsor:
- Spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner
- Dependent children
- Parents and grandparents
- Orphaned siblings, nieces, nephews, granddaughters, or grandsons under 18 and unmarried or not in a common-law relationship
- Other relatives under specific conditions
- Certain accompanying relatives of the above categories
Spouse– You can sponsor your spouse if you are legally married to your sponsor and your marriage is recognized as
Common-law partner– To be eligible as a common-law partner, you must have been living together in a conjugal relationship with your partner, regardless of gender, for at least one continuous year (a 12-month period without interruptions). You will need to provide evidence that you and your common-law partner have merged your affairs and established a shared household.
Conjugal partner– This category is specifically for partners, regardless of gender, who are unable to qualify as common-law partners or spouses due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevented them from living together.
- They are under 22 years old and do not have a spouse or common-law partner.
- They are over 22 years old and have relied significantly on their parent's financial support due to a physical or mental condition since before the age of 22.
Spousal Work Permit
Under the Spousal Work Permit Pilot Program, spouses and common-law partners in Canada can obtain a work permit while their immigration applications are processed. To qualify, they must apply under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class and maintain a valid temporary status. Although a pilot program, Canada intends to make it permanent after regulatory changes. This program facilitates spousal sponsorship in Canada and provides opportunities for spousal visa holders to work during the application process.
When sponsoring a family member through spousal sponsorship in Canada or family immigration to Canada, sponsors must sign an undertaking, a contractual agreement with the government. This undertaking includes providing the sponsored person with their basic needs and repaying any social assistance provided by the government. Sponsors are legally bound to fulfill this commitment, even in cases of marital breakdown or financial changes. The duration of the undertaking varies based on the relationship. Spouses, common-law partners, and conjugal partners have a three-year obligation, while dependent children under 22 have a 10-year commitment or until they turn 22. Dependent children over 22 have a three-year obligation. For parents, grandparents, and other family members, the duration ranges from 10 to 20 years. It's important to note that sponsors cannot completely eliminate their responsibility to reimburse the state for any benefits received by their sponsored relatives. To initiate the process, sponsors can complete the Canada immigration online application to commence the spousal sponsorship or family immigration journey.
Sponsors living outside Canada
Canadian citizens residing outside of Canada can sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or
dependent children by completing an online Canada visa application. To be eligible, the sponsored individuals must
not have committed a crime causing bodily harm and the sponsor must demonstrate their intention to reside in
Canada once the sponsored individuals obtain permanent residency. However, permanent residents living abroad
cannot sponsor their family members from outside Canada and must be present in Canada during the sponsorship
If a spouse or common-law partner is already in Canada, an in-Canada application can be filed if they are living together. Otherwise, the application needs to be submitted through a visa office, which can introduce additional complexities and challenges. To apply for Canada PR (Permanent Residence), individuals can utilize the Canada visa online application system to initiate the sponsorship process and bring their family members to Canada.