Overview of the Family Visa for Canada from Nigeria
The Family visa is one of Canada’s Family Class sponsorships. It permits foreign nationals to come to live in Canada long-term with an eligible family member.
In this case, the partner, dependent children, parents and grandparents of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can come live in Canada if they meet the requirements. The Canadian government is big on reuniting families, which is why this route is one of the most popular when considering migrating from Nigeria to Canada.
- Overview of the Family Visa for Canada from Nigeria
- What Are the Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsor?
- What Are the Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsored?
- Income Requirements for Sponsors
- How to Apply for the Family Class Immigration Sponsorship
- Documents Required
- Preparing for Arrival in Canada
- Cost of Immigrating to Canada from Nigeria
- Is IELTS Needed During Family Visa Application?
- Impact of COVID-19 on Family Sponsorship
- Canada Family Visa Processing Time
- Advice and Assessment from Total Law
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsor?
To be eligible for the Family visa, your family member must first meet the Canada family visa requirements:
Firstly, they must reside in Canada if they are a permanent resident at the time of application. If they are a Canadian citizen, they can be outside the country at the time of application but must return to Canada after your visa is approved.
They must also be:
- 18 years of age or older at the time of the application.
- A citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
- Financially capable of taking care of you for the required duration.
To be eligible for the Family visa, you must meet the Canada family visa requirements from Nigeria. One of the following must apply to you:
- You are their spouse or partner.
- You are their dependent child.
- You are their parent or grandparent.
Family visa for a Common Law Partner or Spouse
If you are the common law partner, spouse or conjugal partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for the Canadian family visa.
But for your partner to sponsor you, they must be at least 18, show that they can provide for you and prove that there is a genuine relationship between you two.
Your partner can sponsor you for the family visa whether you are still in Nigeria (outland application) or already on a temporary permit in Canada (inland application). If you are already in Canada, you can apply for an open work permit while waiting for the sponsorship application to be approved.
Family visa for a Dependent Child
If you are the dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you are eligible to be sponsored by your parent. You can be their natural, adopted or stepchild.
For you to be seen as a dependent, you must be unmarried and under 22 years old. The IRCC also considers children above 22 but with mental or physical deformities as dependents.
Family visa for a Parent or Grandparent via the Parents and Grandparents Program
If you are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident, you can immigrate to Canada from Nigeria via the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP).
To be eligible for the PGP, your child (sponsor) must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Prove the relationship between you two. Your child can prove this by submitting their birth certificate which bears your name.
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Meet the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) that the IRCC requires for their family size. They will prove this by submitting assessment notices issued by the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Sign an undertaking to care for you for 20 years. If they cannot do so alone, their partner can help cosign this undertaking to meet the financial requirement. If their partner is cosigning, they will show proof that they have been in a relationship for at least one year.
If your child or grandchild lives in Quebec, they may need to meet additional requirements.
Super Visa Route for Parents and Grandparents
If you are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can immigrate from Nigeria to Canada via the super visa route.
To be eligible for this visa, your sponsor (child or grandchild) has to:
- Submit a motivation letter to the IRCC.
- Be medically insured.
- Prove that they are your child or grandchild.
- Meet the minimum financial requirement.
If you want to move from Nigeria to Canada via the family visa route, your sponsor (partner, child or grandchild) will have to prove to the IRCC that they meet the minimum necessary income. This shows that they can care for you when you go over to Canada.
How much income they are required to show depends on family size. For example, if your sponsor is bringing you alone to Canada, they have to show that they have $32,000, an income for a family of two. Therefore, for every family member under 18, an extra $2,404 is needed. For every extra family member above 18, an additional $8,610 is required.
If your sponsor lives in Quebec, they have to show that they have $34,086 if they intend to sponsor you alone. For every extra family member under 18, they have to show an extra $4,619. For every family member above 18, they have to show an additional $8,740.
In addition to showing proof of income, your family member in Canada will have to sign an undertaking to be financially responsible for you. This undertaking is valid for the years the IRCC requires them to sponsor you. How long they have to sponsor you is dependent on the category of family member they’re sponsoring.
- If you are a dependent child, they must take care of you until you turn 25 or for 10 years, depending on which comes first.
- If you are a partner, they’ll have to take care of you for 3 years.
- If you are a dependent child who is 22 or above, they’ll have to take care of you for 3 years.
- If you are a parent/grandparent, they’ll have to take care of you for 20 years.
If they live in Quebec, the number of years they’ll have to sign to care for you is slightly different.
- If you are a dependent child under 16, they will sign to take care of you for 10 years or until you turn 18.
- If you are a dependent child 16 and above, they will sign to take care of you for 3 years or till you turn 25.
- If you are their partner, they will sign up to take care of you for 3 years.
Note that if you take government assistance during these periods, your sponsor must pay it back. Also, note that your sponsor is still mandated to keep by this rule whether your status changes or not. So, even if you eventually become a citizen or permanent resident, they must still fulfil their obligation.
Application Steps for the Sponsor
Your sponsor is the one who will take the first step towards your application. First, they must apply to the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If they live in Quebec, their application should go to the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI).
While your sponsor is submitting an application for you, they must also apply for you to be a permanent resident at once. The IRCC or MIFI will review the application and decide if you and your family member are eligible for the family visa sponsorship.
If the application is successful, they will be required to pay the Canadian family visa fees on your behalf. After paying the fees, you can now proceed to apply for the family visa in Nigeria.
Your sponsor can track the application after receiving an acknowledgement of receipt from IRCC.
Application Steps for the Sponsored
After your sponsor has paid the visa fees on your behalf, you can now apply for a Canadian visa either offline or online in Nigeria. To apply offline, you will have to do the following:
- Download the checklist, Canadian Family Form 5645 and Visitor Form IMM 5257.
- Fill out the forms on the computer and then print them out.
- Get an appointment for your biometric capture and form submission.
- Get the VFS consent form and fill it out.
- Pay your fees to the Canadian submission centre either in Abuja or Lagos.
- Pay the service charge and get a tracking number that will be instrumental in checking the progress of your application.
If you want to submit the application online, do the following:
- Go to the Canada Immigration and Citizenship website and apply.
- Upload all the scan copies of the required documents.
- Pay the required fees.
- Print out the final application page, as you will have to show that at the Canadian Visa Center during your biometric capture.
You can track their application by getting your application number, creating an account online and linking your application to the account.
Also, note that you have to submit your biometrics within 30 days after the biometric capture fee is paid. If you cannot submit your biometrics in 30 days due to the high demand for biometric capture appointments, you will be granted another 60 days to submit.
Here are some of the documents you will have to upload online:
- A copy of the Police Character Certificate. This is obtained from the CID Headquarters in any state in Nigeria. Every family member above 18 will have to present this. In addition, if you have also lived in another country for up to 6 months, you must also submit a Police Clearance from that country. This is to prove to the IRCC that you will not constitute a nuisance on entering Canada.
- Sponsorship Letter. You will have to upload the sponsorship letter showing who is sponsoring you. The Letter must come with the contact, address and employment information of your family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Proof of Relationship. You will have to prove to the IRCC that there is a genuine relationship between you two. So, you must submit documents showing relationships, like marriage certificates for partners and birth certificates for dependent children, parents and grandparents.
- A copy of the ECOWAS passport.
- Proof of meeting the English Language requirement.
- Medical report from an IRCC-accredited physician.
Preparing for Arrival in Canada
If your visa application is successful, you can go ahead and plan your trip to Canada. When you get to the port of entry, you will have to show the border officer the following documents:
- Valid ECOWAS passport
- Permanent resident visa
- Quebec Selection Certificate (this is if your family member will be living in Quebec)
- Confirmation of permanent residence.
The border officer has the right to ensure that you are making a genuine entry into Canada and will have to ask you some questions. For example, they may want to know about your finances and also want to confirm the information you gave during their application. They will also verify if your confirmation of permanent residence or permanent residence visa has expired.
If the border officer is satisfied with their findings, you will be allowed entry into Canada. The officer will now start the process of mailing your permanent resident card to the address on the confirmation of permanent residence.
If you are already in Canada on another visa, you must apply for a Landing Interview. You will be told when, where and what to bring while coming for the interview.
Cost of Immigrating to Canada from Nigeria
It is essential to check the cost of immigrating from Nigeria to Canada under the family visa route. This is so that you are prepared before starting the application. For example, if your partner is the one sponsoring you, they may spend up to $5000. This amount increases if other dependents are coming with you.
Note that your family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident will also have to show proof of funds. This is also called Minimum Necessary Income. This convinces the IRCC that they can take care of the family size they intend to sponsor.
Below are some of the fees that must be paid to pay when moving from Nigeria to Canada via the family visa route:
- Your sponsor will need to pay $1,080 as application fees if you are their partner, parent or grandparent.
- Your sponsor will need to pay $150 for every dependent child.
- Your sponsor will also have to pay a sponsorship fee of $75.
- Your sponsor will also need to pay $490 for the principal applicant. You are the principal applicant if you are a partner with dependent children.
- You or your relative will pay $85 for biometric capture.
- Your sponsor will pay $515 for the right of permanent residence.
- Your sponsor will pay an additional $289 if they reside in Quebec.
Is IELTS Needed During Family Visa Application?
You must show proof of English language proficiency if you intend to move to Canada. This is a compulsory requirement. You can also demonstrate proficiency in French, especially if you are moving to Quebec. You can check IELTS or CELPIP test centres in Nigeria. There, you can take the test in preparation for your immigration.
Impact of COVID-19 on Family Sponsorship
Covid-19 has greatly impacted the processing time for family sponsorship visas. When Canada closed its borders to immigrants, many applications were pending. Canada is trying to clear the backlog of applications they have received. Unfortunately, this means that your sponsorship application may take longer to review since it is based on a first-come, first-served basis.
Canada Family Visa Processing Time
Due to the labour disruption caused by COVID-19, applications may take longer than usual. Usually, if you are applying for a family visa to Canada from Nigeria, it will take 16 months from the day you start the application. It will take 14 months if you are already in Canada.
For dependent children, it will take 13 months. For parents and grandparents, it will take 25 months.
The Canadian Family visa is one of the visas rolled out by the Canadian government to help bring families together.
If you’re a Nigerian considering moving to Canada via the family visa route or another immigration pathway, Total Law can help.
We have a team of immigration lawyers who are experts in the field of Canadian and international immigration. We have the tools and expertise to assist you, regardless of your personal circumstances or the complexity of your case.
We know how complex it might seem to put together an application. And we also know how devastating it can be to get a rejection after waiting a long time for your application to be approved. This can keep your family apart. So, to improve your chances, speak to an immigration professional regarding your immigration case; we can help. We can also help if you need to apply for another similar type of visa based on your circumstances or a visa based on your personal or family life.
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There is no age limit for a family visa to Canada from Nigeria. You can be sponsored by your partner, child or grandchild who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; so far they are up to 18. No matter your age, you can immigrate to Canada.
If you are going for a medical examination, you will need to go with the following requirements: a copy or original ECOWAS passport, medical bio data form obtained from the Canadian immigration website, eyeglasses and hearing aids and proof of having paid the examination fee.
You can appeal a Canadian family visa denial. You can appeal the decision to the Immigration Adjudication Division (IAD), at the Case Processing Centre (CPC) or the Federal Court of Canada.
The success rate of family visa applications to Canada from Nigeria is above 80%. This rate falls below 50% if you intend to visit your partner in Canada temporarily.