Family Sponsorship

The family sponsorship pathway is a crucial component of the Canadian immigration system. The Canadian government has provided a mechanism for families to reunite in Canada, building on the core value of family, which is integral to the Canadian way of life. Many Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada have used this pathway to bring their spouse, children, parents, and grandparents to experience life with them in Canada. It is important for potential sponsors thinking about bringing their family to Canada to truly understand the different family sponsorship programs that the Canadian government has to offer.

Who Can be Sponsored?

There are various relationships that qualify for sponsorship. These include spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, dependent children, parents, and grandparents. A person can use the family sponsorship programs to sponsor individuals to become permanent residents of Canada.

A spousal sponsorship (married, common-law or conjugal) can either be an inland sponsorship, where the spouses are currently living together in Canada, or an outland sponsorship, where the sponsored spouse is living abroad.

The sponsor’s child or the child of a spouse or common-law partner is considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the day IRCC receives the complete application:

  • The child is under 22 years old, and
  • The child does not have a spouse or common-law partner.

Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependents if they meet both requirements:

  • The child has depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
  • The child is unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.

Although less common, there are provisions for sponsoring other family members such as siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren in exceptional circumstances.

There are many different factors that go into who can be a sponsor. To start, the sponsor must be:

  • A least 18 years old;
  • A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
    • If the sponsor is a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, the sponsor must show that they plan to live in Canada when the persons they want to sponsor become permanent residents;
    • The sponsor cannot sponsor someone if they are a permanent resident living outside Canada;
  • Able to prove that they are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability;
  • Able to provide for the basic needs of any persons they want to sponsor.

Not surprisingly, sponsoring a parent or a grandparent is a high-demand sponsorship category.  At the present time, IRCC has been drawing names from an already existing pool of potential sponsors. Once this pool is somewhat depleted, it is expected that the program will re-open for more people to sponsor parents or grandparents.

Who Can Be a Sponsor?

For most applications, the sponsor needs to demonstrate the financial ability to support the family members that they are sponsoring for a period. This is called an undertaking. The undertaking commits you to providing financial support for your sponsored family members, starting when they become permanent residents and repaying any provincial social assistance your sponsored family members get during that time. There is no income requirement to sponsor a spouse or dependent child. The sponsor only needs to meet an income requirement while sponsoring a spouse or child if the sponsor is sponsoring a dependent child that has one or more dependent children of their own, or a spouse that has a dependent child, and their dependent child has one or more children of their own.

Application Process and Helpful Tips

The first step in any sponsorship application is to determine the eligibility of both the sponsor and the family member being sponsored. Next, it is important to have all supporting documentation and evidence to prove that both the sponsor and the sponsored family members meet the criteria. This documentation includes passports, birth certificates, requisite forms, financial criteria, and additional documentation with respect to possible inadmissibility issues,

It is important to start the application process well in advance to allow time to gather documentation and respond to any concerns that IRCC may have. Having a thorough understanding of the eligibility requirements will ensure a smooth application process. Ensuring you have all the necessary supporting evidence and documentation is crucial to a well-organized application package. It is common for IRCC to respond back to the applicant to request clarification and documentation which causes unnecessary processing delays. It is best to submit a comprehensive and well-organized application package from the beginning. It is critical to be truthful and transparent throughout the entire application. Lastly, it is important to keep records and copies of each stage of the process and follow instructions precisely as failure to do so can lead to delays or rejection.

Family is a core value to Canadian culture. Through family sponsorship, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are permitted to sponsor beloved family members to enhance the well-being and support system for both them and the sponsored family member. The Canadian sponsorship program stands as a testament to the country’s commitment to family unity and diversity. This program continues to enrich Canadian society and further enhances the nation’s unique community.

If you need help with your family sponsorship case, please contact us.


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