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Family Sponsorship

Family Sponsorship and Immigration to Canada

Family Sponsorship in Canada is a program that allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their family members to immigrate to Canada. This program is designed to reunite families and strengthen the social fabric of the country. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Family Sponsorship in Canada, from eligibility criteria to the application process.

Understanding Family Sponsorship Canada


Family Sponsorship is a part of Canadian immigration policy that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their relatives to become permanent residents of Canada. This program is based on the principle of family reunification, which is one of the three pillars of the Canadian immigration system, along with economic immigration and refugee protection.

Who Can You Sponsor under the Family Sponsorship Program?


Under the Family Sponsorship program, you can sponsor the following family members:

  1. A spouse, a common-law partner, or a conjugal partner.

  2. Your dependent children.

  3. Your parents and grandparents.

  4. Another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions.

  5. Certain accompanying relatives of the above.


Definitions of Key Terms


Understanding the definitions of key terms used in the Family Sponsorship program is crucial to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Spouse: You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid.

  • Dependent children: A son or daughter is dependent when the child is under the age of 22 and does not have a spouse or common-law partner.

Categories of Family Sponsorship?


  1. Spouse (Under Spousal Sponsorship Category)

  2. Common-law partner (Under Spousal Sponsorship Category)

  3. Conjugal partner (Under Spousal Sponsorship Category)

  4. Dependent children (read definition here)

  5. Parents – (Additional conditions apply)

  6. Grandparents – (Additional conditions apply)

  7. 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

  8. Another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions

  9. Accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

Requirements to be a sponsor for Family Sponsorship application to Canada?


To be considered an eligible sponsor:

  1. You must be 18 years of age or older.

  2. 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.

  3. You must provide financial support for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years from the date they become a permanent resident.

  4. You must provide financial support for a dependent child for 10 years, or until the child turns 25, whichever comes first.

  5. Prove that you will be able to financially support their family member and any dependent, if necessary

  6. Enter into an agreement with the Government of Canada or Quebec, as well as the sponsored relative, where the sponsor will agree to support the family member for a certain amount of time. The sponsored relative must make an effort to support themselves, as well.

  7. Either reside in Canada or prove your intention to live in Canada when your sponsored relative arrives in Canada

  8. Not be incarcerated or charged with a serious offence

  9. Not be bankrupt

  10. Not be under a removal order for Canada

Sponsors Living Outside Canada


Permanent residents living outside Canada cannot sponsor their family members from outside Canada. They must reside in Canada during the sponsorship process. However, Canadian citizens living abroad can sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child while living outside Canada, as long as they can prove that they plan to live in Canada when their sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.

Process for Family Sponsorship for Canada?

Step 1: Ensure you meet eligibility criteria to be a sponsor.

Step 2: Ensure that the relatives you intend to sponsor meet the sponsorship eligibility criteria.

Step 3: You will need to apply at the federal level to the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and, if you are a Quebec resident, at the provincial level to the Ministry of Immigration, Francization, and Integration (MIFI). You must submit your sponsorship application and the permanent residence (PR) status applications of your family members or relatives together. Once you have been deemed eligible to sponsor, your PR application will be reviewed.

Step 4: You will be required to pay the family sponsorship application fee.

Step 5: Send your application to the right address. You will find this information in the sponsorship guide that is available for download on the government website.

​How long does it take to process Family Sponsorship applications?

  1. Spousal sponsorship applications take approximately 12-17 months to process. 

  2. The processing time of applications for dependent children varies by country.

  3. The processing time of PGP (Parent Grand-Parent) applications may take between 20 and 24 months.

What are the financial requirements for Family Sponsorship to Canada?​

As part of your Sponsorship Agreement with your sponsored family member, you need to provide financial support for the basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, and health needs not covered by public health services) of the person you are sponsoring.


Depending on the type of sponsorship, you also need to match or exceed (30% + required threshold) the Low Income Cut-off (LICO), for example:

  • you are sponsoring a spouse or partner who has a dependent child and that dependent child has one or more children of their own, or

  • you are sponsoring a dependent child who has one or more dependent children of their own, or

  • you are sponsoring a parent or grandparent.

If you reside in Quebec, you will have to meet Quebec's sponsorship requirements and your income will be assessed by the Quebec immigration ministry.

Previously sponsored persons cannot be excluded from calculation of the family size unless any of the following apply:

  • the sponsor chose to withdraw the application if found to be ineligible to sponsor (as they indicated on the IMM 1344 form)

  • the sponsor withdraws the application during processing (that is, prior to the applicant)

  • the processing of the application is suspended [R136] (see Suspension of processing) pending a decision whether or not to continue processing

    • if a decision is made to continue processing, the sponsor’s financial circumstances must be reassessed for any active applications including these sponsored persons in the calculation of family size

  • the office processing the application for permanent residence determines that the sponsor is ineligible based on one of the following:

    • agreement with the CPC’s negative sponsorship eligibility decision

    • information received that was not available to the CPC when they assessed sponsorship eligibility

    • a determination that the sponsored person is inadmissible

What is the duration of a sponsorship undertaking and Sponsorship Obligations?

When you sponsor a family member to become a permanent resident of Canada, you must agree to support them financially. This means that you must provide for their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and accommodation. The length of time you are legally responsible for the person you sponsor varies depending on the type of family member you sponsor and their age.

Duration of the undertaking for Family Sponsorship - Immergity Immigration Consultant (1).

What are the income requirements to sponsor my parents and grandparents?

As the sponsor (alongside your co-signer, if there is one) you must prove you have enough income to support all the people you’ll be financially responsible for once you become a sponsor. This includes yourself.

If you’re invited to apply, you have to provide proof that you meet the income requirements for each of the 3 tax years before the date you apply.

What is the Super Visa Program for immigrating to Canada? 

The PGP Super Visa for Canada is yet another program that showcases Canada's commitment for family reunification. The Super Visa for Canada. It is a multiple entry visa which allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to visit Canada for extended periods.

Super visas are typically granted for up to two years, with the ability to apply for extensions of one year at a time.

To be eligible for the Super Visa program, parents and grandparents must meet standard visitor visa requirements. In addition, they must:

  • Provide proof of financial capability along with a written undertaking of support from their child or grandchild in Canada;

  • Provide proof that the sponsor in Canada meets minimum income requirements (check LICO table);

  • Provide proof of a valid Canadian health insurance (before landing in Canada) for the duration of at least one year; and

  • Complete an immigration medical examination.


Based on the nationality of the Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, parents/grandparents may need to acquire a Temporary Resident Visa in addition to a Super Visa.

What is the eligibility criteria for a Super Visa?

Source -


To be eligible for a super visa, you must:

  • be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada

  • have a signed letter from your child or grandchild who invites you to Canada that includes:

    • a promise of financial support for the length of your visit

    • the list and number of people in the household of this person

    • a copy of this person’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident document

  • have medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that is:

    • valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry

    • at least $100,000 coverage

    • have proof that the medical insurance has been paid (quotes aren’t accepted)

You must also:

What are the steps to apply for a Super Visa?

Before you apply for a super visa, you need:


1.letter of invitation from your child or grandchild who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada that includes:

    a) A written commitment of Financial support for your duration of stay in Canada.

    b) Their proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residence.

    c) The list and number of people in the household of this person

2. Proof of your child's minimum necessary income


3. Proof of medical insurance from a Canadian insurance provider. The medical insurance must be at least 1 year in term from the date of entry to Canada and have a minimum coverage of C$100,000.

4. Proof of medical examination (from a panel physician) before coming to Canada.

Who can I include in the family sponsorship application other than the primary applicant?


The following individuals can be included in the sponsored person's application for a Canada immigration visa:

  • The spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of the sponsored person

  • The dependent children of the sponsored person

  • The dependent children of the sponsored person's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner

  • The dependent children of the sponsored person's dependent children

  • The dependent children of the sponsored person's spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner's children.

Family Sponsorship Canada Refusal Reasons


Family Sponsorship in Canada is a pathway for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to bring their family members to Canada. However, not all applications are successful. Understanding the common reasons for refusal can help you avoid the same pitfalls. In this article, we will discuss the various grounds on which a Family Sponsorship application to Canada can be refused.


Ineligible to Sponsor


One of the primary reasons for the refusal of a Family Sponsorship application is the ineligibility of the sponsor. To be eligible to sponsor a family member to Canada, you must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, be at least 18 years old, and meet certain income requirements. If you fail to meet these criteria, your application may be refused.


Ineligible to be Sponsored


Just as the sponsor must meet certain criteria, so too must the person being sponsored. For instance, the sponsored person must not be inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality or medical reasons. If the person being sponsored is found to be inadmissible, the family sponsorship application will be refused.


Permanent Resident Living Outside Canada


Permanent residents living outside Canada cannot sponsor their family members from outside Canada under the family sponsorship program. They must reside in Canada during the family sponsorship process. However, Canadian citizens living abroad can sponsor their spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or dependent child while living outside Canada, as long as they can prove that they plan to live in Canada when their sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident.

Undeclared Family Members


All family members must be declared in the application, including those not intended to be sponsored. Failure to declare all family members can result in the refusal of the application.


Misrepresentation in the Application Form


Providing false information or documents to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is a severe offence and can lead to the refusal of the application. It's crucial to ensure that all information provided in the application is accurate and truthful.


Marriage of Convenience


If the immigration officer has reason to believe that the marriage is not genuine and was entered into primarily for the purpose of gaining immigration status in Canada, the application can be refused. It's important to provide sufficient evidence to prove the genuineness of the relationship.

How Can I Avoid a Canadian Immigration Refusal?

Refusal or denial can be painful and stressful. Most people think that they know what they're doing and will do it right. Not all of them can actually claim that they will not make a mistake. Immigration applications to Canada are a 1-time opportunity. A mistake can lead to irreparable damage to your profile. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a professional immigration consultant who has the knowledge and expertise in matters of Canadian immigration laws. 

Contact us now to connect with our Regulated Canadian  Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

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