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Family Sponsorship Immigration Streams

Updated: November 10th, 2022

Canada places immense value on the reunification of families. 

How do we know this? 

Well, the introduction of the Canada Family Sponsorship speaks for itself.

Have you been living and working up in the north, wishing you had a relative close by? This is possible with the Family Class sponsorship program. In this article, we break down how the program works and go through the steps involved in the Canada sponsorship application process.

What is the Family Class Sponsorship Program?

The Canada Family Sponsorship aims to bring families together, enabling relatives to study and work in the country -provided they become permanent residents of Canada. In turn, you and your relatives get to make valuable memories while immersing yourselves in the rich Canadian culture.

Who Can I Sponsor?

You can sponsor your sibling, spouse, partner or dependent child. However, as the sponsor and the relative being sponsored, you will be subject to certain criteria. Let's take a closer look at the eligibility of both parties applying for the Canada Family Sponsorship.

Steps to the Canada Sponsorship Application Process

Below, we break down a step-step process on how to go about applying for the Family Class Sponsorship Program, as well as the program requirements:

  • Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
  • Step 2: Know Who You Can Sponsor
  • Step 3: Know How to Apply
  • Step 4: What to Expect After You Apply
  • Step 5: Prepare for the Day You Arrive
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before applying, you must know if you qualify for the program. If you live and work in Canada as a permanent resident but would like to sponsor your relative, you stand a great chance. However, you need to be 18 years or older, be registered as a Canadian citizen or be a permanent resident. If you're living outside of Canada, you:

  • Have to be a Canadian citizen and must plan to return so you can be present once your relative arrives in Canada;
  • Understand that you can't sponsor a relative if you're a permanent resident outside Canada. You need to be inside the country when applying to sponsor and when the person arrives; and you
  • must be able to prove that you won't require any social assistance or government benefits, unless you're disabled.
Note: There are no income requirements to sponsor your relatives. However, income requirements will apply when you're sponsoring a dependent child with one more dependent child/children of their own.

Alternatively, if you're sponsoring your spouse or partner with a dependent child, then income requirements will apply. You can find the instructions for a Financial Evaluation form here.

You Can’t Sponsor a Relative if:

  • you've been convicted of a violent or sexual crime, and you're in prison;
  • you haven't paid child support or are in arrears with child support;
  • you have been declared bankrupt;
  • you've received social assistance when you're not disabled;
  • you’re in arrears with immigration payments or loans and
  • if you fail to meet the sponsorship conditions or any other offence that was not listed.

When compiling your Canada sponsorship application, remember that different provinces will be subject to different conditions. For example, Quebec may require you to sign a contract in the form of an undertaking, which binds your sponsorship.

Step 2: Know Who You Can Sponsor

You can sponsor the following persons:

Your spouse

needs to be legally married to you and at least 18 years of age or older when applying for your Canada spousal sponsorship.

Your common-law partner:

Shouldn't be legally married to you, should be 18 years of age or older and should've been living with you for 12 months in a conjugal relationship without any separations. Any potential separation periods should've been temporary and short. Additionally, you will need to provide proof of a conjugal relationship - this can be anything such as ownership of the residential property being shared or joint leases or agreements.

Your conjugal partner:

Shouldn't be legally married to you or shouldn't be in a common-law relationship with you. They should be 18 years or older, live outside of Canada, and both parties should be in the relationship for at least one year. Additionally, they should be unable to live with you in their country of residence, nor should they be able to marry you due to legal and immigration circumstances or reasons. All of these factors that make up a conjugal relationship must be proven when applying for sponsorship.

Dependent children:

Should be under 22 years of age to classify as a "dependent child," and they shouldn't have a spouse or common-law partner. They will also be classified as dependents if they're not financially independent and have a physical or mental condition.

Parents' and Grandparents' Sponsorship:

This program allows you to sponsor your parents and grandparents for permanent residency in Canada. You must be able to financially support them and their dependents and ensure they don't need social assistance from the government. Potential sponsors must submit documents online to qualify as one of the 10,000 sponsors invited to apply for this sponsorship program.

Orphaned Family Members and Other Siblings:

This program allows you to sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece, or grandchild if they're related to you by blood and are under 18 years of age. You can also sponsor one relative (brother, sister, nephew, niece, aunt or uncle) of any age; if you don't have a closer living relative, you could sponsor instead (spouse, dependent children, parents, and grandparents).

For more information on the Canada Family Sponsorship program, explore our resource on sibling sponsorship here.

Eligibility of Relatives Being Sponsored

The person must be admissible to Canada, whether it's Canada spousal sponsorship or sponsorship of independent children or other relatives. In other words, they shouldn't be banned from entering Canada and should be eligible to enter Canada, to begin with.

The person being sponsored must provide:

The necessary forms, supporting documents when submitting their Canada sponsorship application, and any additional information, such as medical exams and biometrics.

Step 3: Know How to Apply for the Canada Family Sponsorship Program

Below are the steps to apply for the Canada Family Sponsorship:

  • Make sure you have the application package
  • Pay the application fees
  • Submit your application
  • Send the necessary additional information while your application is being processed

Remember: There are two applications: the application for the Family Class Sponsorship program and the application for the permanent residence. Because of this, the criteria for both aspects of the application will function independently from each other. Applicants must therefore ensure that they meet both sets of criteria.

If you are a student wanting to gain permanent residence in Canada, find out more about the new possibilities available to foreign students seeking permanent residence.


1. Make sure you have the Application Package

The package will contain a document checklist for both you, as the sponsor, and the person being sponsored. It will also contain the necessary forms to fill out and an instruction guide.

You must ensure that you're eligible to sponsor your relatives and take care of them once they join you, accurately list all relatives and ensure that your application is thoroughly completed. Lastly, we urge applicants to remain truthful in their information, as failure will result in the application being rejected.

2. Pay the Application Fees

The fee for your Canada Family Sponsorship can't be refunded. However, you will need to pay the fee for biometrics, the Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) and processing fee, police clearance and other relevant fees, depending on the type of application or circumstance.

The fees may vary, depending on the nature or circumstances of the individual. Find out more about the breakdown of fees here.

3. Submit your Application

You must mail your application to the mailing address in the instruction guide. Alternatively, you could consider a courier service, which will enable you to track your application, or you can use regular mail. Note that incomplete applications will delay processing times, resulting in your application being returned to you.

Did you know that by using a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), you won't have to file applications yourself? Our RCICs are registered and authorized to not only represent you but guide you throughout the process.

4. Send the Necessary Additional Information while your application is being Processed

While your application is being processed, the sponsored person will be asked to provide their medical exams, police clearance certificates and biometrics. These documents should be provided by you and are required for the person you're sponsoring. Additionally, these documents will be required for each family member who is 18 years or older, provided they're not a permanent resident of Canada.

Furthermore, you can expect to receive instructions on the way forward and keep your family members posted on the relevant information during the process.

Step 4: What to Expect After You Apply

Applications will be evaluated to double-check whether all forms have been completed accurately and if all fees are paid. Once the government starts to process your application, you will receive a letter of acknowledgement to keep you informed about the next step.

Don't despair if your application is refused - there are other immigration pathways to explore. If your application is rejected, the immigration officer will let you know why your application was rejected and how you can appeal the decision.

While you wait on the evaluation of your application, you may want to find out more about the IRCC processing times and what to expect after you submit your application.

Step 5: Prepare for the Day You Arrive

Foreign nationals will have to show their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). Additionally, you should have your permanent resident visa at hand, which needs to be shown to an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer at the Port of Entry (POE).

The officer will evaluate all information to ensure everything is in order. You may have to answer some relevant questions you've already answered on your application to ensure that you're the same person who applied for the sponsorship.

If everything is well and everything runs smoothly, you'll be on your way to entering Canada as a permanent resident. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to the Canadian address you've provided on your COPR: This serves as proof of your status in Canada as a permanent resident in the country.

Sponsor your Relative or Spouse to join you in Canada Today

We've given you the options and methods to go about your Canada sponsorship application, so you can build new experiences with your loved ones. Family is an important aspect of life, and so we've compiled a guide on how to go about sibling sponsorships in Canada and much more resourceful information much needed.

If you're still feeling uncertain, feel free to get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to advise and guide you through the process.

1. Can I bring my siblings to Canada permanently?

With over 100 immigration pathways and visas to choose from, you can easily bring your siblings to Canada. The Express Entry system allows them to apply for an open work permit with versatile immigration options that cater to various needs and circumstances. Alternatively, you can apply to the Family Class Sponsorship Program, which enables you to sponsor your siblings or relatives.

2. How can I sponsor my brother to Canada?

You have to be a permanent resident of Canada, a Canadian citizen, or be registered under the Canadian Indian Act - then you can apply for sibling sponsorship under the Family Class program. Note that the sponsor and the relative being sponsored must meet the criteria. Once you're eligible to apply for the Family Class Sponsorship, your application and supporting documents will be reviewed, and a decision on eligibility will be made.

3. Can I sponsor my niece to immigrate to Canada?

You can sponsor your brother, sister, nephew, niece, or orphaned grandchild, provided they're unmarried or under 18 years of age. Note that you may qualify to sponsor a relative outside the mentioned age group, depending on your needs and circumstances.

4. What Is the Difference Between a Spouse and a Common-Law Partner?

Common-Law Partner: If you are not legally married, but it is a serious relationship, you are considered a common-law partner. You must have lived with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months. This means that there should not be prolonged periods of living apart, even if one member has gone away on a business trip, is travelling, or has a family obligation trip.

5. Can You Sponsor Someone in Canada if you Do Not Live in Canada?

It is impossible to sponsor someone to live in Canada if you are not living 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.

You must also prove that you qualify as a sponsor by showing you can provide for the following:

  • yourself
    • your spouse/partner; and
      • your dependents and/or
        • your spouse's dependents

          6. When Can You Not Sponsor Someone in Canada?

          You cannot apply to be a sponsor in Canada if you:

          • 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;
                      • You in a jail, reformatory, prison; or
                        • Under a removal order

                        7. Who Can You Sponsor to Live in Canada?

                        You can sponsor your:

                          Depending on who you sponsor, the documents you need to apply with may change:

                          • Spouse;
                            • Common-law partner;
                              • Conjugal partner
                                • Dependent child
                                • If you sponsor your conjugal partner or dependent child, you can apply for Family Class; and
                                  • if you sponsor your spouse or common-law partner, you can apply for either Family Class or the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Class.

                                  8. 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.

                                  9. Can spousal sponsorship be denied?

                                  The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) thoroughly investigates the legitimacy of every relationship to ensure that the applicant is not committing marriage fraud to immigrate to Canada. Suppose the immigration officer is not convinced that the marriage is true, in that case, they will refuse the application and 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.

                                  10. What is the minimum income required to sponsor a spouse in Canada?

                                  3 people
                                  Family and Spousal Sponsorship Annual Income Requirement
                                  Number of persons Minimum annual income requirement
                                  1 person (the sponsor) $26,426
                                  2 people $32,898
                                  4 people $49,106
                                  5 people $55,694
                                  6 people $62,814
                                  7 people $69,934
                                  If more than 7 people, for each additional person, add $7,120

                                  11. Will I be forced to leave Canada if I leave my spouse?

                                  Being forced to leave Canada means being deported. However, your spouse or partner does not have the right to have you deported. Only federal immigration authorities (such as the IRCC) can decide to deport someone.

                                  However, if your spouse or partner intends to sponsor you for permanent resident status in Canada, and the sponsorship application is still in progress, they can withdraw the application before your permanent residence in Canada is final.

                                  12. Can I stay in Canada while waiting for spousal sponsorship?

                                  Yes. While you wait for your spousal sponsorship application to be approved, you can apply for a Canada visitor visa in the meantime.

                                  Although it does not give you permanent residency in Canada, as a visitor, you may stay in the country for up to six months after the day you arrive. This will allow you to live in Canada with your spouse while you wait for your spousal sponsorship application to be approved.

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