Who is Eligible?
To sponsor a relative, you must first check that you are eligible. You can sponsor a relative to come to live in Canada if you are:
• A permanent resident of Canada
• A Canadian citizen
• A person registered in Canada as Indian under the Canadian Indian Act
If you are a Canadian citizen living outside of Canada, you must demonstrate that you plan to live in Canada when the person you want to sponsor becomes a permanent resident. You cannot sponsor someone if you’re a permanent resident living outside of Canada.
Moreover, you must prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability (for example, if you are unemployed and receiving financial assistance, you are not eligible to sponsor a relative).
You must be able to provide for the basic needs of any person you want to sponsor for a period of time. This means that you can support your relative financially and make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government.
This is called an undertaking. This undertaking commits you to providing financial support for your sponsored family members, starting when they become permanent residents, and repaying any social assistance your family members receive during that time.
There is also a sponsorship agreement. This means that you will provide the basic needs of your sponsored family members, and that you the sponsor will make every effort to support yourself and family members.
In most cases, there is no income requirement to sponsor a family member. You must only show you have enough money to sponsor a family member if you are sponsoring a family member with 1 or more dependent children of their own.
If you live in Quebec, there is a separate undertaking with the province of Quebec and separate immigration sponsorship requirements. The Quebec ministry will assess your income, and decide if you meet their requirements.
You are not eligible to sponsor a family member if:
• You’re younger than 18 years old
• You do not intend to live in Canada when your sponsored family member will become a permanent resident
• You’re a temporary resident (visiting, studying or working in Canada under a work permit or visa)
• Your own permanent residence application is still in process
• You were sponsored by a spouse or partner, and became a permanent resident less than 5 years ago
• You are financially responsible for a previous sponsored family member; you are bound by a 3 year undertaking to look after your previously sponsored family member
• Did not abide by a previous sponsorship agreement and undertaking
• You have not paid back an immigration loan, court-ordered family or child support, or a performance bond
• Were convicted of a violent criminal offence, or are in jail
Who You Can Sponsor
You can sponsor a spouse, partner, dependent children, parents and grandparents to come to Canada. You can also sponsor relatives, such as sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, in specific situations.
Your spouse must be:
• legally married to you
• at least 18 years old.Your common-law partner/ conjugal partner should be:
• not legally married to you
• at least 18 years old
• living with you for at least 12 consecutive months (you have been in a conjugal relationship, without long periods apart)
• You must provide proof of your common-law/conjugal relationships
Children qualify as dependents if they are:
• Under 22 years old
• They don’t have a spouse or common law partner
• Over 22 years old, but unable to financially support themselves because of a physical or mental condition
• They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22
You may sponsor your child as the principal applicant in the application, without sponsoring your spouse or partner. You will then have to show that the other parent or legal guardian approves of your dependent child’s immigration to Canada.
You can sponsor parents together as a couple: this means you name either your mother or father as the principal applicant and the other as the dependent. You can then sponsor your grandparents with a separate application, in the same manner. You may also sponsor a parent and a step-parent, and their child – a step-brother or step-sister.
You cannot sponsor in-laws (your spouse’s parents).
You may sponsor one other relative, related by blood or adoption of any age, if you meet all of the following conditions:
vYou don’t have a living relative you could sponsor instead, such as a spouse, dependent child or parent
• Have no other relatives such as an aunt who is a citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian of CanadaYou cannot sponsor non-blood relatives.
You may sponsor adopted or orphaned children if:
• They are under 18 years of age
• They are related to you by blood or adoption
• Both parents have died
• They are not married
There are two stages in family sponsorship for an individual to become a permanent resident of Canada. First you apply to sponsor your relatives, and then they apply for permanent residence. You must send these applications at the same time.
• Make sure you are eligible (see above)
• Carefully read the instructions, fill out the forms
• Get your documents ready to sendBe aware that you will need to provide proof of income and declare in writing you will support your relative for a set period of time.
Your relatives must state they will try to support themselves, and will have to pass a security, criminal background check, and a medical exam.
You will then pay application fees, which include a processing fee, right of permanent residence fee and biometrics fees. The latter covers the cost of fingerprints and a digital photo.
You can then mail your application to the address included in the instruction package.