Permanent Residence: Family Sponsorship

Family reunification is one of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s highest priorities.

This category is appropriate for Canadians and Permanent Residents who wish to sponsor a close relative for Permanent Residence. Individuals who are being sponsored by a family member, usually a spouse or a parent do not have to meet the point system or discretionary selection criteria used in the other application categories. Instead, they are sponsored by a relative in Canada who will provide assistance in the individual’s ability to establish themselves in Canada. Individuals being sponsored must undergo medical examinations and provide police clearance certificates during the application process.

Who Can Be Sponsored?

Only the following members of the family class may be sponsored:

  • Spouses, common- law or conjugal partners 18 years of age or older;
  • Parents and grandparents;
  • Dependent children, including adopted children;
  • Children under 18 years of age whom you intend to adopt;
  • Children or guardianship; or
  • Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are orphans; under the age of 18 and not married or in a common-law relationship.

Responsibilities of Sponsors and Co-Sponsors

Sponsors assume a legal obligation to help the person being sponsored and therefore, may have to meet certain income requirements set out by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Sponsors and Co-Sponsors must be Canadian Permanent Residents or Canadian Citizens over the age of eighteen (18). Sponsors and Co-Sponsors must be residing in Canada, or if a Canadian Citizen, show that they plan on returning to Canada with the sponsored relative. Sponsors and Co-Sponsor cannot be bankrupt, in default of a previous undertaking to sponsor, in prison, under a removal order or charged with a serious criminal offense.

The Sponsors and any Co-Sponsor are responsible for providing the essential needs for the person being sponsored and their dependents for a period of three to twenty years after their relative’s arrival in Canada. Should the Canadian Sponsor fail to support the Foreign National, and the Foreign National receives social assistance, the authorities may take legal recourse to be reimbursed for any money given to the sponsor.

Co-sponsors become necessary when a single individual cannot meet the minimum financial requirements for Parent and Grandparent sponsorship. Married and common-law partners who are Canadian Permanent Residents or Canadian citizens may be Co-sponsors. Co-Sponsors assume the same obligations and responsibilities as the sponsor must also sign the application forms for sponsorship, and undertake to support the sponsoree when he/she arrives in Canada.

Adopting a Child from Another Country

To adopt a child from another country you must first go through the appropriate government agency authorized to assist in adoption. Once the adoption has been granted, you must then begin the sponsorship and immigration process. For further information regarding international adoptions, please contact us.


Should an immigration officer refuse an application for sponsorship, the sponsor and the individual being sponsored will be advised in writing of the reasons for the refusal. The sponsor may be eligible for an appeal.

For further information regarding the procedures for applying for Canadian Permanent Residence under the Family Class category, please contact us.

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