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How Family Sponsorship Immigration Works

If you are over the age of 18 and you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada you will be allowed to sponsor certain members of your family to become permanent residents of Canada. When you become a Canadian permanent resident, you will be able to work, study, and live in Canada. When you sponsor a family member or relative to come to Canada, you will be solely responsible for supporting them financially when they arrive.

Family sponsorship: basic requirements

Here is what you will need to become a sponsor:

  • You have to be 18 years old or older.
  • You and your sponsored family member will need to sign a sponsorship agreement that binds you to support your family member financially if necessary. The agreement will also state that your family member will make every effort they can to support themselves when they enter the country.
  • You are required to provide financial aid for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner for three years starting from the day they become a permanent resident.
  • If you are sponsoring a dependent child, you must support them financially for 10 years, or until they turn 25.

If you qualify, here is a list of people you can sponsor:

  • Spouse: Your spouse is defined as the person you are married to and the marriage is legally valid.
  • Common-law partner: A common-law partner is defined as living together in a conjugal relationship for at least a year. It will need to be a continuous relationship that has lasted 12-months without any interruptions. You will need to prove that you and your common-law partner by combining your affairs and to set up a household.
  • Conjugal partner: A conjugal partner is defined as a relationship who are in a circumstance that prevents them from living together, meaning they can’t qualify as a common-law partner or a spouse.
  • Dependent children: A dependent child is defined as your son or daughter who is younger than 22 years old and does not have a spouse or common-law partner OR if they are over 22 years old and are dependent on your for financial support because of a mental or physical condition.
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Brothers or brothers, nieces or nephews, grandsons or granddaughters who have been orphaned and are younger than 18 years old. They also can’t be married or in a common-law relationship.
  • A relative of any age or relationship but only if they meet specific conditions.
  • Accompanying relatives of the above (like a dependent child, partner or spouse).

Sponsorship obligations

Every sponsor has to sign an undertaking to provide your sponsored person with essential requirements starting on the day they come into Canada. This will be a contract between the sponsor and CIC stating that the sponsor has to repay the government for any social assistance payments. If you are sponsoring a child under 19 years old, the obligation starts on the day that the child becomes a Canadian permanent resident and will go for 10 years or until they have turned 25 years old.