Canada is a welcoming nation where family is essential. The Canadian government understands that many immigrants don't want to leave their loved ones behind to come to Canada or, if they do, don't want to stay in Canada without their family and, as a result, make a plan to return home as soon as possible. Canada loves its immigrants as they're vital for the growth of Canada's culture and economy.
To foster this growth, the Canadian government has created several family sponsorship immigration streams that enable Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their family members and bring them to Canada as permanent residents.
These family sponsorship programs are divided into categories based on the relationship between the Canadian sponsor and sponsored family member. The Family Sponsorship program works as follows:
In this guide, we will explore these different family sponsorship immigration streams in detail and provide the information you need to understand the process of sponsoring your family to Canada.
Who Can Be Sponsored in Canada?
Before we get into each program's different ins and outs, we must establish whether or not you can be eligible for a Family Sponsorship in Canada.
To be eligible to be sponsored to Canada under any family sponsorship immigration stream, you must meet specific criteria.
While each family program has different eligibility requirements, numerous requirements stand across all programs. They are as follows.
To be eligible for family sponsorship, you must be related to them in one of the following ways:
- A spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner
- A dependent child
- A parent
- A grandparent
- An adopted child
- An orphaned family member
- An extended family member
In addition, you must not:
- Have any criminal convictions,
- Be medically inadmissible, or
- Be a security risk.
The Canadian sponsor must also meet specific requirements to be eligible to sponsor a family member to Canada. The sponsor must:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
- Be 18 or older,
- Live in Canada.
- Have an income equal to or higher than the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) for three consecutive taxation years before the application date.
- Provide a valid undertaking with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The minimum income required for sponsors differs based on how many people they sponsor. The current MNI for Family sponsorship is as follows.
|Family and Spousal Sponsorship Annual Income Requirement
|Number of persons
|Minimum annual income requirement
|One person (the sponsor)
|If more than seven people, for each additional person, add
Your sponsor will not be allowed to sponsor you if they:
- Receive social assistance (this does not include social disability);
- Have sponsored someone else within three years of becoming a permanent resident in Canada;
- Have defaulted on an immigration loan or performance bond;
- Have not paid alimony or child support (if applicable);
- Have been convicted of a crime;
- Were sponsored yourself and became a permanent resident of Canada less than five years ago;
- Are in jail, reformatory, prison; or
- Are under a removal order.
If you and your sponsor pass all these requirements, the next step is to focus on your specific program. The different ways you can sponsor someone under the Family Sponsorship program are as follows.
The Spouse/Partner Sponsorship Program enables Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouses and common-law or conjugal partners to come to Canada. You must be 18 or older to be sponsored by your spouse or partner.
A spouse is someone you are legally married to and can prove via a marriage license or certificate.
A common-law or conjugal partner is someone you have lived with in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months.
To be eligible for the Spouse/Partner Sponsorship Program, you must demonstrate your relationship with the Canadian sponsor is genuine and that you're not entering into the relationship solely to obtain permanent residence in Canada.
The Canadian sponsor must meet specific income requirements to be eligible to sponsor a spouse or partner.
Dependent Child Sponsorship
The Dependent Child Sponsorship Program enables Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their dependent children to come to Canada.
The sponsored family member must also meet specific criteria to qualify for the Dependent Child Sponsorship Program. The sponsored dependent child must be under the age of 22 and must not have a spouse or common-law partner.
Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship
The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program enables Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and grandparents to come to Canada.
If your child or grandchild is over 18 and is a Canadian permanent resident, they can sponsor you to move to Canada.
A Canadian sponsor can sponsor parents, grandparents and step-parents, provided the blood relative is the principal applicant when applying for sponsorship.
Sponsorship applicants submit an interest to sponsor form to the IRCC website. The IRCC will then issue Invitations To Apply (ITAs) to eligible applicants once they open their annual intake.
As of October 2022, the program is closed as the application intake window has passed. However, the program is set to reopen later in 2023.
Adopted Child Sponsorship
The Adopted Child Sponsorship Program enables Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their adopted children to come to Canada.
For an adopted child to move to Canada via family sponsorship, the adoption must:
- Be legal in their home country
- Meet the requirements of the sponsor's province or territory
- End the legal bond between the adopted child and their biological parents
- Result in a parent-child relationship between the sponsor and the child
- Be in the child's best interest
The sponsor must fill out additional forms such as:
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking [IMM 1344]
- Financial Evaluation [IMM 1283]
- Medical Condition Statement [IMM 0133]
- Separation Declaration for Minors Travelling to Canada [IMM 5604]
- Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union [IMM 5409] (if applicable)
The application process also varies depending on the adopted child's country of origin.
This program allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild if they're related by blood and under 18.
They can also sponsor one relative, like a brother, sister, nephew, niece, aunt or uncle of any age, or a closer living relative, like their spouse, dependent children, parents, and grandparents.
Find out more about how your sibling or close relative can sponsor you here.
The Canada Super Visa
The Canada Super Visa is a temporary visa for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. It enables them to stay in Canada for up to two years multiple times over ten years.
The Canadian sponsor must meet specific income requirements to be eligible to sponsor their parents or grandparents for the Canada Super Visa.
If you plan to join your children or grandchildren in Canada, this is the primary way you can until the Parent, and Grandparent sponsorship program opens again.
We've given you the options and methods to go about your Canada sponsorship application so that you can build new experiences with your loved ones. Family is an essential aspect of life, so we've compiled a guide on how to go about sibling sponsorships in Canada and much more resourceful information.
If you're still uncertain, contact a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to advise and guide you through the process.
The Sponsorship Application Process
Once you and your sponsor meet the requirements for family sponsorship, the next step is to apply for family sponsorship. You can do this in five steps.
Step 1: Apply to Sponsor
Your sponsor must download, fill in and sign the application package forms from the Canadian government website. The application package includes
- Your document checklist
- Your application forms
- An instruction guide on how to fill out your forms
Step 2: Apply to Be Sponsored
Once your sponsor has filled out the application, you must upload them to your online application and electronically sign for them. You must then download, fill out and reupload the following forms:
- Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008)
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
- Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
- Supplementary Information - Your travels (IMM 5562)
Step 3: Pay Your Application Fees
Once you've filled out and uploaded your forms, it's time to pay your fees. For family sponsorship, the costs are as follows:
|Family Sponsorship Fees
|Sponsorship fee (per person)
|Right of permanent residence fee
|Principal applicant processing fee
|Principal applicant processing fee (if the applicant is under 22)
|Inclusion of sponsored spouse or partner processing fee
|Inclusion of a dependent child (per child)
Step 4: Submit Additional Information
Once you pay your fees, IRCC will start processing your application. While they process your application, they will ask for the following documents:
- Medical exams
- Police certificates
Each family member must submit these documents.
Step 5: Submit Your Application Online
Before submitting your application, please ensure you've filled in and signed all your documents. If your documents are incomplete or your application needs supporting documents, IRCC won't accept them.
Tips for a Successful Sponsorship Application
You should remember a few tips to ensure a successful sponsorship application.
Include all the necessary documents with your application. This provides
- Proof of identity,
- Proof of income,
- Proof of relationship, and
- Evidence of medical insurance for the sponsored family member.
Ensure all your documents are valid, up-to-date and relevant to your application. It will certainly help to have an RCIC review them before you upload them.
Ensure your information corroborates your submitted documentation. Any discrepancies may delay your application or even result in a rejection and a five-year ban.
Finally, provide any additional information that IRCC may request promptly. This may include other documents, such as proof of employment or proof of financial resources. These documents must also be valid and up-to-date. If your documents are not up to standard, IRCC will reject your application.
Find out what you can do if your application is rejected here.
How Long are You Responsible for The Spouse You Sponsor in Canada?
You are responsible for approximately three years. You can find out more here.
Can Spousal Sponsorship be Denied?
IRCC thoroughly investigates the legitimacy of every relationship to ensure that the applicant is not committing marriage fraud to immigrate to Canada.
If you cannot convince the immigration officer that the marriage is genuine, they will refuse the application. They can also ban the spouse you wish to sponsor from entering Canada for five years for misrepresentation. We, therefore, urge applicants to remain truthful in the information they provide on their application.
Can You Sponsor Someone in Canada if You Do Not Live in Canada?
It is only possible to sponsor someone in Canada if you live in the country at the time. Therefore, even if you are a permanent resident of Canada, you must be in the country when you sponsor someone.
Reunite with Your Family in Canada
Canada's family sponsorship immigration streams are an excellent way for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their family members to Canada as permanent residents. We understand that you would love to have the chance to reunite with your loved ones. However, navigating the different family sponsorship programs and providing the necessary information can take time and effort.
This is why, if you are interested in sponsoring your family members to come to Canada, our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can help. Our RCICs can represent you with the IRCC, fill out your application forms, help source and verify your documents and provide you with the support and guidance you need to reunite in Canada.