Canadian Family Sponsorship: everything you need to know

What makes an eligible sponsor?

  • Be at least 18 years of age holding Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status, or be a registered Indian under Canadian Indian Act,
  • Be financially sustainable and not be in receipt of social assistance other than disability,
  • Permanently reside in Canada or have the intent to return to Canada once the sponsored person gets their application for permanent residence approved,
  • Must not be convicted of attempting / threatening to commit / commit a crime that constitutes a criminal offence in Canada.

What are some of the factors that can prevent a sponsor from sponsoring a family member?

  • Sponsoring a spouse or a partner under 18 years of age,
  • Sponsoring a second spouse or partner if it hadn’t been 3 years since they obtained permanent residence status,
  • Sponsoring a spouse or a partner if you (sponsor) were sponsored by your previous spouse and it hadn’t been 5 years since you obtained permanent resident status,
  • Inability to pay back any social assistance that the sponsored person received while the sponsorship undertaking was in place,
  • Indebted:
  • In default on an immigration loan or a performance bond,
  • Alimony or child support,
  • Declared bankruptcy which had not been discharged,
  • Previous or current convictions of:
  • Offenses of sexual nature,
  • Violent crimes,
  • Offense against a relative causing bodily harm,
  • Any attempt to commit any of the above.
  • A removal order is in place,
  • The sponsor is in a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison,
  • There is an active sponsorship application that is being reviewed by IRCC — in simple words, no duplicate applications are allowed.

Who can be sponsored under this program?

  1. Spouses,
  2. Common law partners — couples that are not married but act like a married couple. Eligibility criteria is to continuously live in the same residence for at least 12 months.
  3. Conjugal partners — couples that are not able to marry or live together due to circumstances outside of their control. This can apply to LGBTQ couples living in restrictive countries or for couples living in countries where divorce is not legally recognized.
  4. Parents and grandparents — applies to natural and adoptive / step parents alike,
  5. Children under the age of 22 — applies to natural and adoptive children alike,
  6. Other relatives for lonely Canadians: the sponsor must prove that they are indeed lonely, meaning that they don’t have any other living family member that they can sponsor.

How long does the process take and what does it entail?

  • Proof of identity: passports, birth certificates, photographs, etc.
  • Proof of relationship,
  • Financial documents from the sponsor, and
  • Police clearance certificates from the sponsored person.

What factors can refuse a sponsorship application?

Learn More About Family Sponsorship to Canada and Other Immigration Pathways to Canada

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