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.
Who you can sponsor
To be eligible for permanent residence, the principal applicant and any dependants must not be inadmissible to Canada.
Regarding family sponsorship in Canada you can sponsor:
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.
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.