Family reunification has long been a key objective of Canada’s immigration policy. The Canadian government allows citizens and permanent residents of Canada to sponsor members of the family class, but it requires that arriving immigrants receive care and support from their sponsors. Members of the family class include a sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner; a dependent child of the sponsor; the sponsor’s mother or father; a person the sponsor intends to adopt; and other relatives of the sponsor as defined by regulation.
Sponsoring your family
A Canadian citizen or permanent resident may sponsor her or his spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner, or dependent children to come to Canada as permanent residents.
Sponsoring a spouse, partner or dependent child
You can sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. To be a sponsor, you must be 18 years of age or older.
You can apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or accompanying dependent children live with you in Canada, even if they do not have legal status in Canada. However, all the other requirements must be met.
You can also apply as a sponsor if your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children live outside Canada, and if they meet all the requirements.
When you sponsor a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or dependent children to become permanent residents of Canada, you must promise to support them financially. Therefore, you have to meet certain income requirements. If you have previously sponsored relatives to come to Canada and they have later turned to the government for financial assistance, you may not be allowed to sponsor another person. Sponsorship is a big commitment, so you must take this obligation seriously.
To be a sponsor:
- You and the sponsored relative must sign a sponsorship agreement that commits you to provide financial support for your relative, if necessary. This agreement also says the person becoming a permanent resident will make every effort to support her or himself.
- You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.
- You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.
You may not be eligible to be a sponsor if you:
- failed to provide financial support you agreed to when you signed a sponsorship agreement to sponsor another relative in the past
- defaulted on a court-ordered support order, such as alimony or child support
- receive government financial assistance for reasons other than a disability
- were convicted of a violent criminal offence, any offence against a relative or any sexual offence—depending on circumstances such as the nature of the offence, how long ago it occurred and whether a pardon was issued
- defaulted on an immigration loan—late or missed payments
- are in prison or
- have declared bankruptcy and have not been released from it yet.
Other factors not included in this list might also make you ineligible to sponsor a relative.
Sponsoring other eligible relatives
You can sponsor:
- brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship
- another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions (see Note below)
- accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).
Note: you can sponsor one relative regardless of age or relationship only if you do not have a living spouse or common-law partner, conjugal partner, a son or daughter, parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece who could be sponsored as a member of the family class, and you do not have any relative who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident or registered as an Indian under the Indian Act.
Other relatives, such as brothers and sisters over 18, or adult independent children cannot be sponsored. However, if they apply to immigrate under the Skilled Worker Class, they may get extra points for adaptability for having a relative in Canada.
If you are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and plans to return to Canada when your relatives immigrate, you may sponsor your spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or your dependent children who have no dependent children. However, to sponsor any other eligible relatives (for example, parents and grandparents), you must be living in Canada.