A Canadian Permanent Resident or a Citizen with a family member who wants to immigrate to Canada, may be able to be sponsored. Family reunification is one of the strongest pillars of the Canadian immigration system. The Family Class Sponsorship Program helps to reunite families by enabling the adult Canadian Permanent Residents or Citizens to sponsor a relative for immigration to Canada. To be eligible for this program, the person who seeks sponsorship must be either of the following:
- 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 seeking sponsorship must live outside of Canada, unless they are residing legally in Canada temporarily.
Who is a Spouse/Partner?
The following individuals under these categories are eligible towards spousal sponsorship:
-Spouse: legally valid marriage in the country of origin and under the Canadian law.
-Common-law partner: At least a bare minimum of 1 year of uninterrupted co-habitation in a conjugal relationship.
-Conjugal partner: A conjugal partner is, in relation to a sponsor, a foreign national residing outside Canada who has been in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year. A foreign national residing inside Canada cannot be sponsored as a conjugal partner.
-Same-sex relationships: considered valid for immigration purposes under these categories.
Who is a Dependent Child?
A child of the sponsor, or a child of the sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner, may be considered as a dependent child if they are under 22 years of age and don’t have a spouse or common-law partner of their own. Children over 22 years of age can be dependents if they relied on their parents for financial support prior to attaining 22 years of age, and are unable to financially support themselves due to a mental or a physical condition. The children in the sole custody of previous spouse are still considered dependent children, and must be declared on the sponsorship application. If a dependent child being sponsored has one or more dependent children of their own, then the sponsor must prove their financial capacity by meeting the low income cut-off stipulated by IRCC.
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.
An individual may not sponsor if they:
- Are in prison
- Are subject to a removal order
- Are in the process of bankruptcy
- Receive social assistance from the government (except for disability)
- Have been convicted of (or attempted/threatened to commit) an offence of a violent or sexual nature, or resulting in bodily harm of a family member
- Have failed to pay child support payments
- Have failed to pay back immigration loans, or have made late or missed payments
- Have sponsored a family member in the past and failed to meet the terms
- Have sponsored a previous spouse or partner who has not been a permanent resident for more than 3 years
- Were themselves sponsored and became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago