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Family Reunification

One of the foundations of the Canadian immigration system remains family reunification.

What is Family Sponsorship Program?

You can sponsor certain relatives to come to Canada if you’re at least 18 years old and a:

  • Canadian citizen or
  • A person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or
  • A permanent resident of Canada

Who can be sponsored?

You can sponsor your spouse, partner or dependent child if:

  • You’re at least 18 years old
  • You’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
    • If you’re a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when the persons you want to sponsor become permanent residents.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside Canada.
  • You’re able to prove that you’re not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability
  • You can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor
  • You must promise to financially take care of the person you are sponsoring for a specified period of time by signing undertaking agreement.

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

Who Can you sponsor?

You can sponsor your:

  • Spouse (Inside Canada or Outside Canada)
  • Common-in-law partner
  • Conjugal Partner
  • Dependent children
  • Parents/Grandparents
  • Orphaned brother, sister, nephew, niece or grandchild
  • Other relative

Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship

Many Canadian Permanent Residents or Citizens want to bring their parents to Canada. If the parent wants to live in Canada the Canadian Permanent Resident or Citizen has the chance to sponsor them. There are several requirements for the one who wants to sponsor and the parent(s) being sponsored.

Who You Can Sponsor?

You can sponsor your own parents, related by blood or adoption. In case of divorce or separation, you can sponsor your parents’ spouses, or conjugal or common-law partners. You may sponsor more than 1 person or couple if you meet the income requirements for all the people you want sponsor and their dependants (spouse, partner and children).

Frequently Asked Questions

Your spouse can be either sex and must be:

  • legally married to you
  • at least 18 years old

Your common-law partner:

  • isn’t legally married to you
  • can be either sex
  • is at least 18 years old
  • has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months, meaning you’ve been living together continuously for 1 year in a conjugal relationship, without any long periods apart
  • Any time spent away from each other should have been short and temporary
  • You’ll need to give proof of your common-law relationship.

Your conjugal partner:

  • isn’t legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you
  • can be either sex
  • is at least 18 years old
  • has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year
  • lives outside Canada
  • can't live with you in their country of residence or marry you because of significant legal and immigration reasons
  • You’ll need to give proof that you could not live together or get married in your conjugal partner’s country (for example, proof of refused long-term stays in each other’s country).

Children qualify as dependents if they meet both of these requirements:

  • They’re under 22 years old
  • They don’t have a spouse or common law partner

Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependents if they meet both of these requirements:

  • They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
  • They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22 With the exception of age, your dependent child must continue to meet these requirements until immigration department finish processing the application.

Sponsor must agree to financially support their family member in the case that their relative cannot provide for their own needs. This is to ensure that the new permanent resident will not require government assistance. The length of this financial obligation depends on the individual being sponsored:

  • Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner: 3 years
  • Dependent child: 10 years OR when the child reaches age 22 (whichever comes first); 3 years for a dependent child over age 22.
  • Parent or grandparent: 20 years

To qualify for inland sponsorship, the spouse/ partner must already have temporary resident status (working, studying or visiting) in Canada. Your spouse/conjugal or common-law partner must be at least 18 years old and must have medical, criminal and background checks. You will also have to prove that a genuine relationship exists between the two of you, providing solid evidence of your involvement and commitment.

Applicants may also be eligible to apply for an open work permit which would allow them to work while waiting on their immigration decision.

While you are allowed to travel outside of Canada when your application is being processed if you are denied entry to Canada your application will be canceled. If this happens you will need to apply for Outland Spousal Sponsorship.

Outside Canada Spousal sponsorship is aimed at citizens or permanent residents of Canada who wish to bring their spouse/conjugal or common-law partner to live with them in Canada permanently.