Requirements for Sponsorship under Family Class Category of Canadian immigration

Family reunification is a core immigration priority for the Government of Canada.

Through the Family Class category, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor close family members including spouse/common- law partner, parents, grandparents and dependent children to immigrate to Canada.  There are requirements for both the sponsor in Canada and the sponsored family member, which differ between programs.

Sponsorship Requirements for Spouse/Common- law Partner

Sponsor:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must be a Canadian citizen or be a permanent resident living in Canada:
    • if the sponsor is a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, a plan to live in Canada when the sponsored person becomes a permanent resident is required;
    • the sponsor who is a permanent resident living outside Canada cannot sponsor someone
  • cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under removal order if a permanent resident, or convicted of an offence
  • cannot have been previously sponsored as a spouse/ common law partner and held a permanent resident status for less than five years
  • if the sponsor sponsored a previous spouse or partner, passing 3 years since that person became a permanent resident is required for the sponsor to be eligible.

Sponsored spouse/ Common-law partner:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • The relationship is real, proof is required.
    • Spouse: the sponsor and the sponsored person are legally married.
    • Common-law partner: the sponsor and the sponsored partner must cohabit continuously for at least one year, excluding brief absences for business or family reasons.

Sponsorship Requirements for Parent and Grandparent

Sponsor:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must live in Canada
  • must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • must sign a sponsorship agreement to provide financial support and basic requirements for the sponsored person and their accompanying dependents for the period of 20 years. If sponsoring a person coming to the Province of Quebec, an “undertaking” must be signed with the province.
  • must meet the minimum income threshold for this program

Sponsored parent/grandparent:

  • must be the parent or grandparent of the sponsor
  • do not need social assistance from the government

Aside from the sponsorship for a permanent resident, the Super Visa is ideal as it is a multiple entry visa that is valid for up to 10 years and allows parent/grandparent to stay in Canada for up to two years at a time. It is available year round and requires lower minimum income requirement than the Parent/Grandparent program. To be eligible, there are also some requirements for both the sponsor and the sponsored parent/grandparent:

Sponsor:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada
  • must provide a written commitment of financial support
  • must meet the minimum income threshold for this program

Sponsored parent/grandparent:

  • must be the parent or grandparent of the sponsor
  • must be admissible to Canada as a visitor
  • must have proof that the medical insurance has been paid. The medical insurance must be valid for at least one year from the date of entry and provide at least $100,000 for minimum coverage
  • must undergo an Immigration Medical Examination

Sponsorship Requirements for Dependent Children

Sponsor:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada:
    • if the sponsor is a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, a plan to live in Canada when the sponsored child becomes a permanent resident is required;
    • the sponsor who is a permanent resident living outside Canada cannot sponsor someone
  • cannot be in prison, bankrupt, under removal order if a permanent resident, or convicted of an offence

Sponsored dependent children:

  • must be less than 22 years old and be single
  • if the child is 22 years old or older, the child should have depended substantially on the financial support of the parent since before the age of 22 and be unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

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