Family Sponsorship

Sponsor Spouses, Parents, Children and Other Relatives For Permanent Residence

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Family Sponsorship

What it means to sponsor someone

When you agree to sponsor, you sign an undertaking, promising to give financial support for the basic needs of the people you’re sponsoring, and any of their dependent children.

Basic needs include:

  • food, clothing, shelter and other needs for everyday living
  • dental care, eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services

Before signing the undertaking agreement, you should make sure that those you sponsor won’t need to ask the government for financial help. If they receive social assistance, you’ll need to pay back what they received. You won’t be able to sponsor anyone else until you have repaid the amount.

The undertaking is a binding promise of support, meaning that it is your responsibility to support the applicant(s) for the length of the undertaking period even if your situation changes. For example, the undertaking won’t be cancelled even if:

  • the person you are sponsoring becomes a Canadian citizen
  • you become divorced, separated or your relationship with the sponsored person breaks down
  • you or the person you sponsor moves to another province or country
  • you have financial problems

The length of time you are legally responsible for the person you sponsor varies based on the type of family member you are sponsoring, and is either 3 or 10 years for non-residents of Quebec. Quebec has different undertaking length.

Who can become a sponsor

You can become a sponsor if you are:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a Canadian citizen, a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act or a permanent resident living in Canada:
    • If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must show that you plan to live in Canada when your sponsored relative(s) become(s) a permanent resident.
    • You can’t sponsor someone if you are a permanent resident living outside Canada.
  • able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and;
  • can provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring (and in some limited situations, that you meet the low-income cut-off).

Note: There is no low income cut-off (LICO) for spouse, partner or dependent child sponsorships, unless a dependent child also has one or more dependent children of their own. If a dependent child you are sponsoring has one or more dependent children of their own, you must include a Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283) form with your application (see your checklist for more details).

Who can’t become a sponsor

You can’t be a sponsor if you:

  • have failed to pay:
    • an immigration loan
    • a performance bond
    • family support payments
  • have failed to provide for the basic needs of a previously-sponsored relative who received social assistance
  • are under a removal order
  • are in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison
  • receive social assistance for a reason other than a disability
  • are still going through the process of bankruptcy (undischarged bankruptcy)
  • were sponsored by a spouse or partner and you became a permanent resident less than five years ago
  • sponsored a previous spouse or partner and three years have not passed since this person became a permanent resident
  • have already applied to sponsor your current spouse, partner or child and a decision on your application hasn’t been made yet
  • were convicted of a violent or sexual offence, or an offence that caused bodily harm to a relative—or you attempted or threatened to commit any of these offences

Who you can sponsor

To be eligible for permanent residence, the principal applicant and any dependents must not be inadmissible to Canada.

You can sponsor a:

Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner

You can sponsor your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner if:

  • they are at least 18 years old
  • your relationship is genuine (real) and wasn’t entered into just to get permanent resident status in Canada

If your spouse or common-law partner is applying in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada class, they must already co-habit (live) with you in Canada.

Important: A conjugal partner is, in relation to a sponsor, a foreign national residing outside Canada who has been in a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year. A foreign national residing inside Canada cannot be sponsored as a conjugal partner.

Dependent child

If you’re sponsoring a spouse or partner, any dependent children should be listed on their application forms. If you are sponsoring one or more dependent child(ren) as the principal applicant(s), you must submit a complete set of application forms and documents for each child.

Note: Canadian citizens can’t be sponsored. If you have a child who was born after you became a Canadian citizen, or your child was born in Canada, they might be a Canadian citizen. For more information on dependants who may be Canadian citizens, see Step 5 below.

Who needs to give biometrics?

Permanent Resident applicants may have to appear in person to have their fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) taken at a biometric collection service point.

Find out if you need to give biometrics.

If applicants have to give biometrics, they will give them after:

  • submitting the application;
  • paying the application fees; and
  • getting a letter from us that says biometrics is needed

Applicants must bring the Biometric Instruction Letter (BIL) with them to the biometric collection service point to give their biometrics.

Applicants are encouraged to give their biometrics as soon as possible after getting the letter from us asking for them. We will start processing your application after we get the biometrics.

Note: Canadian citizens and existing permanent residents of Canada are exempt from giving biometrics

How often do I need to give biometrics?

Applicants will need to give their biometrics and pay the fee, even if they gave biometrics in the past to support a visitor visa, study or work permit application, or a different permanent resident application.

Where to give biometrics?

  • Outside Canada and the U.S.: At one of Canada’s Visa Application Centers (VAC) locations around the world
  • In the United States: At one of many Application Support Centers across the U.S.
  • In Canada: When the in-Canada service is established in 2019
  • At the port of entry: Asylum claimants, and applicants for work and study permits who are eligible to apply at the port of entry.

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